The Testimony of
Calvin G. Brown and
Stephen M. Brown
Read at the funeral of Calvin Brown, April of 2015
by Pastor Steve Brown
Master of Divinity, Asbury Seminary
*A note to the reader. Young Stephen Brown was greatly affected by this miracle and met the Lord because of it. The specifics of how he was affected and saved are noted in italics below.
As we gather here to honor Calvin G. Brown and to share our memories we have of him, I, Stephen, feel it is fitting to share my Dad's testimony how God saved and helped him as a young man when he went through the greatest crisis of his life.
He was born to Grace and George Brown on September 8, 1926. Both his parents were hospitalized. His dad for TB, his mother for hormonal imbalances. Dad had to grow up as an orphan in foster homes where he was greatly abused. For years he went to bed hungry and knew little affection. The Hoffmen's raised him as a teenager and showed him love and treated him well. He was a genius in math and engineering, graduating from high school at 16 and Cornell University at 18, with a degree in engineering. He served in the Army and then married our mom, Arlene Dawson in 1947 and together they had three boys. In 1960 while serving as Civil Engineer of Mason City Iowa, he suffered a major mental breakdown. He lost his mind, had a gun, and was threatening to shoot people. He was paranoid. He had an affair with another woman, hurting our mother. He was committed to the VA mental hospital where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a split personality with sever paranoia. His abuse as a child had injured his mind. The doctors said there was no cure and he was in danger of being hospitalized all his life.
While he was in the hospital he lapsed into a catatonic state and lost all touch with reality. During this time he shared he had a vision from God. He saw himself falling into the fires of hell and as he fell he was screaming as loud as he could for someone to help him. Of course, his body was rigid and made no sound. As he was screaming and falling suddenly he was back in his room and saw a vision of the Lord Jesus looking away from my dad to the side. He heard the Lord say to him, "You will find me when you search for me with all your heart." That ended the vision. He came out of his catatonic state and began to seek help from Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile my mom and brothers and I were also in crisis. We had to sell the house in Mason City and moved to Watertown, SD to be close to mom's parents. She got a job as a clinic receptionist, while Greg and Stephen went to school. Loren was home with a baby sitter.
We were Lutherans and knew nothing of divine healing for today. Many Christians believe all miracles ceased with the apostles. This is a lie. The Bible teaches that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." (Heb 13:8) Some lady shared with my mom at the laundromat how God healed her husband of mental illness. This gave us hope that maybe God would heal our Dad. I remember at nine years old that we would pray every night at bedtime,"God please heal our daddy," along with our nightly prayers. God hears the prayers of children.
During 1961 my parents went with another couple to a healing crusade where people believed that Jesus Christ heals today and would pray for the sick to be healed. It was held in Detroit, MI. It was in the summer and a long trip from Watertown, SD. We stayed with our grandparents on their farm in SD and waited for our parents return with good hope.
Some amazing things happened at the crusade meetings. Both my parents were delivered from cigarette smoking by throwing their cigarettes into a large barrel and had prayer over them. Dad was knocked down to the ground when prayed for, but no healing.
They headed for home. Their hope was crushed. This was their last hope to save their marriage and save the family. At this point my mom looked at dad, who was driving and said, "I guess that that is the end then, huh?" Then my dad begin to cry and sob and cried out, "I don't want to be this way," (referring to his infidelity with other women). As he was crying and repenting before God something wonderful happened. The Holy Spirit came down upon him and drove Satan out of his life and cleansed his heart of sin. He became a new man. He was born again. My dad then cried out, "They are gone!" He felt the demons leave him and new freedom from Jesus the Savior. Then his heart was filled with great peace and he began to quote scripture he had never learned as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance. My mom experienced a great joy and the couple who were sleeping in the back woke up astonished at what they heard. The Lord had cast out Satan from my dad and healed his mind and gave him the new birth. Why? Because he had repented of his sins (Mark 1:15) and had called on the Lord to save him (Rom 10:13). The Lord is good and able to save and heal to the uttermost all who come to him with repentance and faith (Heb 7:25).
I remember well when that 1955 blue Ford came into grandpa's farm. We ran to the car and saw my dad get out and lift his arms in praise to God and cried out "Praise the Lord, I am healed." God had healed my Dad's mind and saved the marriage and the family. But even more important, the Lord had forgiven his sins, saved his soul, and gave him the new birth. We all were so happy and rejoiced in the Lord. After that my dad went to many churches and meetings sharing the great miracle the Lord did for him so others, too, could take hope and faith and also experience God's healing and salvation.
It was because God heard our prayers as children and healed our dad that I was born again and became a Christian. The Lord Jesus made Himself real to me and gave me saving faith. He showed me He was the Almighty God who is very much alive and able to do anything. About the time He saved me, at nine years old, He called me to be a preacher and to serve Him. As a child, as a teen and as an adult I have tried my best to be a witness for Him so that others too, could be saved and find him and have eternal life. Knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior is so different than the religion of Churches. I hope you will seek for the Lord until you really find Him in reality.
I imagine most of you have never heard his testimony. My dad didn't share it because he was very private and he was backslidden, living in sin, and was a poor witness for Jesus. But I could not miss this opportunity to share the wonderful love and mercy Jesus Christ showed to my Dad and his family.
There may be someone here to day that is going through a crisis and has lost hope. I hope my Dad's testimony will inspire you to hope and believe that Jesus Christ can help and see you through any crisis. He can heal today. He can deliver from bondage today and He can forgive and give you the new birth today. If he did it for my Dad, He can do it for anyone who will sincerely seek Him with all their heart.
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