I think the first time I met her was in a church lobby. Or maybe it was in a Bible study on Philippians, where we were studying joy. Her youngest daughter and my middle daughter were similar in age, so maybe we bumped into each other walking toward the nursery after class.
I do recall one evening when both of our husbands were away for the weekend on business — she and I were talking on the phone. This was before cellphones. This also was before cordless phones became popular in 1994. I’m fairly certain I had the phone from my office/bedroom stretched out to its limit as I was sitting on the bathroom floor supervising my daughters while they had some playtime in the bathtub after I had washed them.
The friend-call was quite brief, since I quickly had to hang up as my 3-year-old began screaming because her 8-month-old sister decided to poo in the water. I remember the aforementioned younger child, smiling radiantly in her royal blue safety swivel bath seat, as the poo floated toward her screaming, horrified older sister.
But the sound any tired, young mom loves to hear and one I distinctly remember was my friend Katie Brown’s contagious laughter when I explained why I abruptly had to hang up.
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We parented our children in proximity as the three Brown siblings and the three Mangas siblings were in the same children’s choirs, Sunday School classes and later, youth groups.
The Merriam Dictionary explains that a hero is a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.
Katie is the epitome of servant-leadership. She serves, so others can shine. She puts the action into “love one another.”
I have met few people who have the gift of hospitality combined with the culinary skills that Katie has. As the women’s ministry director at Mount Pleasant Christian Church for the past 12 years, she has served the community by leading women’s Bible studies, women’s retreats, Christmas teas and has mentored innumerable young and mature women.
I recently asked her how many people she and her husband Todd have opened their home to (sometimes for months at a time) — she answered: “We’ve had six interns.” (Which means you can probably quadruple that number.)
She doesn’t overbearingly push her beliefs on others, but she will kindly invite you to join her at church if you don’t have a church home. She doesn’t share or boast about her actions, but she surely will suggest becoming a life-changer by sponsoring a Child Like This with Central India Christian Mission, as she has done for nearly 15 years.
Less than two weeks ago, Katie led a women’s conference in India with Central India Christian Mission — her fourth. She shared about forgiveness to more than 500 women.
As you read this paper Saturday morning, Katie and Todd have been hosting Drs. Ajai and Indu Lall at their home, while they are visiting from India. The Lall’s address Katie as “Miss Katie” or “Sister Katie and Brother Todd.” And one thing I know, Miss Katie will be making the Lalls a bountiful breakfast, like her traditional bacon and eggs and homemade cinnamon rolls.
And another thing is certain — the Lalls will feel like everyone else who enters the Brown’s house, which is that they are in a refuge of peace. The Lalls will feel at home.
And just in case you were curious: indiamission.org