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O. Carl Brown

A Gift for Languages
"We saw people delivered from the darkness"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2010

With a passion for language and a call to share the message of Jesus Christ, O. Carl Brown remained dedicated to the Lord’s service throughout his 91 years.

Carl was born in Nanchang, China, on November 26, 1918, to missionary parents, and his family moved to Greenfield, Indiana, when he was a child. Carl met his wife, Martha, while attending Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. They were involved in the Student Holiness League, and the missions-active culture of Taylor made a considerable impact on them.

After getting married in 1942, Carl and Martha were very open to a career in missions. As prepara­tion, Carl attended New York Theological Seminary and earned a diploma in missions at the Mis­sionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in Nyack, New York. Their son, David, was born in 1947, and medical complications necessitated a delay in going to the mission field. Carl taught at Fort Wayne Bible College (Indiana), and Martha remained active in the children’s ministry at church. After eight years, Carl and Martha became missionaries to Haiti under the Missionary Church. They served one term, and Carl decided to complete his doctorate in cultural anthropology, which he earned from Indiana University. The couple welcomed another son, Darryl, who was born 15 years after David.

In 1965, they returned to Haiti, and for the next 19 years, they served with a group of World Gospel Mission and Missionary Church missionaries. Carl worked with language projects, church ministries, and mentoring Haitian pastors. Martha was involved in children’s ministries, women’s ministries, prison outreach, music, and hosting new missionaries. She also wrote inspirational poetry and drew illustrations for teaching materials.

Carl had a gift for languages. He worked with a group of Haitian ministers to develop an updated translation of the Bible in Haitian Creole. He helped to found the Learning Center for Haitian Languages and Culture, a language training center for missionaries. Along with Haitian colleague Ender Jeanty, Carl wrote Let’s Learn Creole, a handbook that is still in use today.

Although they witnessed the power that voodoo religion had on many people, Carl and Martha rejoiced at seeing God working in people’s hearts. “We saw people delivered from the darkness. They became active in helping people come to the Lord. The baptism days were great times of victory!” Carl said in a 2009 interview.

Carl and Martha retired in 1984, and they were active in their church in Fort Wayne. After a few years of rest and study, Carl started working various jobs in typing, record-keeping, and even taking orders in a Sears catalog center. In 2008, their son David invited them to live with him and his wife in Birmingham, Alabama. Carl passed away on November 12, 2010, just two weeks shy of his 92nd birthday.

We thank the Lord for leading O. Carl and Martha to WGM, and we are extremely grateful for their years of service. Our thoughts and prayers are with Martha, David, and Darryl, as well as other family members and friends at this time.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV). Carl truly fixed his eyes on the eternal, and we rejoice that he is in God’s presence today.

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