News - Calling: There for the Summer, Stayed 22 Years

Calling: There for the Summer, Stayed 22 Years

Not everyone is called to leadership. Tom Belser Brown '79 describes a lifetime of going for the assist. His tale begins with a one-way ticket after graduation via Amtrak to Mississippi, then one of nation's poorest states.

Mississippi signI felt lead by the Holy Spirit to go to Jackson, Mississippi, right after graduation. After a few days at Sky Lodge Camp in Wisconsin with my best friend and roommate and a few more days at home, I rode the Amtrak down to Mississippi to work with John Perkins' Voice of Calvary Ministries. I went for the summer and stayed 22 years!

I was joined to a Christian ministry in a low-income African-American neighborhood. Through the years and in many kinds of jobs, I have come to realize that I have been called to be a "paraclete"—one called alongside to help and sometimes to be an advocate.

I have done what I can to help others in my churches, neighborhoods, and places of work. Not wanting to be leader, I have been an assistant, team member, helper and active church worker.

It was at Greenville College in the late 70s that I was challenged and [saw it]modeled to put others first and to consider "missions" as way of following Jesus. I chose the road less traveled and it has made all the difference.

Glory to God and my neighbor's good!

Something I’ve learned about calling

It gets clarified as we go, as we act, as we follow.

GC Vision: We inspire our students to embrace God's call. Go here to share your story about calling.

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Photo: Creative Commons license NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This story was published on August 19, 2016

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