Surprise! Someone donates van to church
By Bob Baysinger
September 28, 2004
RICHLAND – Pastor David Brown was expecting a package in a box, not on wheels, when he recently responded to a phone call from the automobile dealership in St. Robert.
“I came in on a Friday morning and was working on my Sunday morning sermon when the call came,” Brown said. “He said he had a package for me. He wouldn’t tell me what it was.”
Brown has served as pastor at Berean Baptist Church, located just off I-44 about eight miles west of Waynesville, since January, 2004. Curiosity prompted Brown to drive to the auto dealership that afternoon to pick up the “package.”
“When I went over in the afternoon, I met Tom Julian. He instructed me to follow him so he could give me my package,” Brown explained. “He took me through a door outside and said, ‘Here it is.’ I told him I didn’t see a package. That’s when he told me it was the van.”
Brown said someone had anonymously purchased the van and given it to the church.
“And it’s not an old clunker, either,” Brown said. “I looked at the sticker in the window. It had a price of $15,500. It was a 2003 model with low mileage.”
Brown, who was a business owner in Richland before surrendering to the Gospel ministry, suspects that the van donor someway is tied to the growing youth ministry at Berean Baptist.
“I think the thrust behind this has something to do with what has happened with our youth,” Brown said. “There were just a handful of youth coming to church when I came. I felt God leading us to take the youth on a mission trip to Branson last summer.
“We worked with Ozarks Mountain Ministries, doing day camps and Backyard Bible camps in the RV parks in Branson. God really moved. We saw eight children saved and even had three of our youth make decisions for Christ.”
Since the mission trip, Brown said the youth group attendance has exploded at his church.
“This past Wednesday night, we had 23 youth at our Bible study on Wednesday night,” Brown said. “In the past we might have had three or four.”
The “package” gift is one of the continuing evidences that God is working in Brown’s life and the life of his wife, Gena, and their two children, Garret, 8, and Greyson, 4.
The call into the ministry, Brown said, was something that God did over a period of three or four years.
“I was saved when I was eight years old and kind of grew up in the church (First Baptist, Richland),” Brown said. “God showed me that I needed to minister. I served as a deacon and as a Sunday School teacher.
“It was at a performance of Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames that I felt led into ministering as a full-time vocation. I was able to lead a couple of people to the Lord during that performance. I was able to pick up a hitchhiker from Las Vegas, Nev., one day. He came to church that night and was saved.
“And I was constantly finding myself in counseling or witnessing situations as employees and customers would come to me. For me it was just feeling a sense of God’s call.”