April 28, 2018

Acts 16:31

Kathy Brown

My story begins after Walt and I were engaged in December of 1955. He had become a Christian while in the U.S. Navy. Since we were to be married, he wanted me to know Christ. I was Catholic and very lost, but I did not know that. I was, after all, a very good person and worked at being a “good” person. I did not know my own righteousness was as filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). Walt gave me a New Testament to read so that I might learn what the Scripture said about salvation. I had never read a Bible. I had never heard the story about Christ and how He chose me before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). I did not understand much of what I read. When my dad saw me reading a Bible, he was enraged. “We are Catholic and we don’t read Bibles in this house.” He took it from me and hid it. Some days later, my mother found it and gave it back to me. I began to read it in secret when I was in my bedroom and whenever I had a moment. I did not understand what I was reading—but read on. One night, as I was sitting at my window, I asked God to show me something that I might understand. And a verse of Scripture read: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things pass away, all things become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). How could I become new?

I became very solemn as most of my family turned away from me. I became a stranger in our home. House keys were taken from me. When we sat at our dinner table, no one spoke to me. I felt so alone. Later, my sister said, “Katherine, why are you doing this? Look at what you are doing to our family.” I certainly meant no harm to my family in any way. My dad became so angry at one point that he told me he wished I was not his daughter. I was told not to read that Bible and to leave Walter Brown alone. At that time, I was working. Work became my respite from my “angry” household. No one spoke to me when I walked into our house. “God, what am I supposed to do?”

I called Walt (in Florida) and asked him to please come home and help me know what to do, because I could not live at home any longer. He came home and took me to see the pastor who told him about Jesus. This pastor had led Walt to Christ over the telephone. I went with Walt to see Pastor J. Paul Driscoll, who told me how to be saved. He told me that the Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” So, I was a sinner, huh? “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Okay, yes, I have been doing things my way. I accept that. And I prayed with the pastor.

Walt and I married just a few days after this. My father and brothers did not attend our wedding. It was a very small wedding with only my mother and sister and some of Walt’s family.

We moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where Walt was stationed. After Walt was discharged, we left Florida for New Orleans, our home state. We became members of Mid-City Baptist Church and became active in a few things. I was really trying to live out the “Christian life,” although I must admit, I really did not “feel” saved—it was not what I thought it was supposed to be. What was my problem? I did not express this to anyone—not even Walt. Of course, my Heavenly Father knew. So one night in an evening service at Mid-City, I went forward to become a believer. I accepted Christ. I was baptized and became a new creature in Christ. Who, but God, could change my life and make me new? Love saw me and now I have experienced this most amazing grace. My sinful past was gone. It was deleted.

Now, for the “rest of the story.” My dad, who had despised Walt at one time, has for some years now grown very close to Walt, and Dad and I have restored our relationship. One evening while we were living here in Texas, Dad called our home, crying and asking questions. I gave the telephone to Walt and let him speak to my dad. Dad became a Christian that night while in his early seventies. My mom was saved in her mid-sixties and several other family members. They all “believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and were saved” (Acts 16:31). Yes, there is an empty cross and there is an empty tomb.