INTERSECTIONS: a memoir by Ron Brown

intersectionscover INTERSECTIONS in hardcover and paperback versions available here and Kindle version available here.

Comments about INTERSECTIONS:

Rev David Hearn, President, The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada  –  Inspiring, insightful and impactful are three words I would use to describe Intersections, the memoirs of Ron Brown. From the opening chapter you are captivated by the intensity of life in the Congo, filled with political upheaval, open warfare and life threatening evacuations. In a masterful twist, the author weaves profound theological insights into the midst of these harrowing adventures. He reveals the amazing keeping power of God coupled with the call to engage in Kingdom risk. In the heart of this interesting tapestry he weaves another thread of pragmatic, down to earth wisdom flowing out of his own experience of challenge and brokenness. This is a book that will surprise you by becoming a mirror into your own journey.  Life is filled with intersections which can become gateways into intimacy with God and access points of Kingdom advancing opportunities.  This book will encourage, inspire and assist you in your own life intersections.

Dr Bob Fetherlin, former Vice-President of International Ministries, CMA-US and currently President of One Mission Society.  –  Admiration for Dr. Ron Brown has come easily for me.  I can only admire him more after reading his stories of faith in action, of undeserved forgiveness being offered, of self-sacrifice for Jesus and others, of deep trust in God being lived out during some extremely challenging times.  His example as portrayed in Intersections serves as a challenge to all of us:  to live not for ourselves, but for Christ, giving ourselves to Him, and then to His mission!

Rev Leigh Robinson, Senior Pastor, Rosebank Union Church, Johannesburg, South Africa  –  It is with great joy that I commend to you this volume by my Prairie Bible College classmate, Ron Brown. In his introduction Ron writes: “I’m about making God famous. I’m about lifting up His name. I’m about bringing honour to the King of Kings. I’m about seeing more and more worshippers around the throne. I’m about fostering the inclusion of people from all nations into His family. This book will be bearing fruit if it moves you my reader further along the road of finding your developing engagement in reconciling the world to Christ.” Having read Intersections I can honestly say that it has borne the fruit Ron hoped for in me. Intersections has made me more aware of God’s sovereign guidance and grace in all of life. Ron’s family heritage prepared him for a life of service and suffering in Africa; his studies shaped his character and grew his competence for effective ministry; his sufferings for the sake of the gospel enabled him to explore and understand the factors that help God’s servants to triumph in trials and trauma, and have opened up vital doors of ministry to God’s suffering servants; and the joys and struggles of his own family life have given him a realism and a humility that breathe hope into others. If you are serious about serving the King this volume will inspire you to take the risks demanded by so glorious a vocation.

Judith Wiebe, Director of Member Care, Global Ministries, CMA-Canada  –  Having worked with Ron Brown for many years, I have always admired his creativity, his passion for the Great Commission and his witty sense of humour!  So I love seeing these qualities come together in his writing.  Intersections is easy to read yet packed with great insights and challenges.   Ron’s reflections on the people and places God has used to impact his life has challenged me to look back on my own life and acknowledge the ways in which God has intersected my life.  I have been particularly blessed by Ron’s research and writings on missionary resilience; they have impacted my ministry and the ministries of many in the member care field.  I highly recommend Intersections, particularly to those who send and/or care for international workers.

Dr Helen Roseveare, WEC missionary doctor to the Congo, Belfast, Ireland  –  I’ve known Ron(ald) since he was a young lad (I was 24 yrs old when he was born!).  I’ve spent many years serving the Lord in the land where he grew up, and I have been through some of the horrors to which he refers (ie. forced evacuations and rebel brutalities). I knew and appreciated his Australian Father Aubrey, and his Canadian Mother Hulda.  So now reading his life story, as he, Ron, sees it, I feel I have lived through each place with him.  Ron’s comment (on page 13) “When we see ourselves as some small cog in this divine machinery … it’s pretty humbling!” – Thank you, Ron!  I was about 10 years old when your Father responded to a challenge from Isaiah 6:8 “Lord, here I am .. send me!” – may this book help to encourage many other young folk to hand over their lives to our lovely Heavenly Father, and be willing to be sent out into service with and for Him.

Gordon T Smith, PhD, President, Ambrose University, Calgary –  Ron Brown has provided his readers with an extraordinary testimony to the goodness and providential care of God – notably through the careful acknowledgment of the ways in which the tapestry that is God’s work includes “intersections” that can only be explained through the lens of a deep confidence in the purposes of God.   Ron tells his story well – compelling, insightful and above all a witness to his love for God and the call of God on his life.

Lisa Rohrick, International Worker, Global Ministries, Niamey, Niger  –  Ron Brown welcomes his readers into his story and into his heart, sharing valuable lessons (and the experiences from which they came) over decades of life in Africa. His ordinary, and not-so-ordinary, intersections with others have made him into a mission leader with a strong faith in the “keeper side of God.”

Garry Tissingh, Youth With A Mission (Africa), Dakar, Senegal  –  Ron’s book ‘Intersections’ is his real life story that will inspire you as well as give helpful tips and ideas about how to follow in similar footsteps in our now global community. After having been personally engaged in Africa for over 30 years I found it easy to identify with Ron’s experience and felt lifted up, not by the stories alone but by the insights learned and contained in and around the events. Ron’s journey as he described it left me buoyed to keep going and to finish my own race well. A must read for anyone at a crossroads in their lives – your faith will be lifted.

Rev Arie M. Verduijn, President, Alliance World Fellowship, The Netherlands  –  If you look for realistic and well-thought through insight in missions you can greatly benefit from this book. Ron Brown is a thinker, but an experienced practitioner as well. I had the privilege of working with him in different stages of his career. We were colleagues in Africa in the 1980-ies and have collaborated in some way ever since, although we lived in different parts of the world and moved into different roles. This book reflects  who Ron is: creative and at the same time down-to-earth. We can be grateful for Ron’s kaleidoscopic overview of what missions is about. He is an example a of life dedicated to Christ, full of adventure and humor, but never shallow or superficial.

Miriam Charter, PhD, Professor of Intercultural Studies, Ambrose University, Calgary, Canada  –  This book comes as an important tool for the college or seminary setting where professors are always seeking contemporary examples of issues and trends in mission.  Intersections brings together a broad spectrum of missiological domains: theology of mission, cultural anthropology, and biblically-based discussion of a variety of missiological concerns and modern-day trends in mission.   The format of the book, stand-alone chapters that do not necessarily require the reader to have read the entire book, allows for a small-group leader or classroom teacher to excerpt a single chapter for use in the classroom or a small-group discussion of missiological topics in the 20th and 21st centuries.  From that perspective, it functions as a great “bridge” between the increasingly unfamiliar stories of missionary heroes of the 19th and early 20th centuries and today’s world where the issues in mission are rapidly changing and the stories of missionary adventure are significantly different from (and yet hauntingly reminiscent of)  the days of William Carey and Adoniram Judson.  The book contains fascinating stories of missionary sacrifice and suffering in the last half century, stories to which millennials might more easily relate, stories that needed to be written and now need to be read.

Ruth Julian, PhD, Professor, FATEAC—West African Alliance Seminary, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Regional Leader for the C&MA—USA in Central and West Africa.  –  In Intersections, Ron Brown plumbs his own experience in mission as well as his many years of walking beside and learning from others who have gone through transition and trauma in mission. These stories full of excitement, encouragement, and challenge intertwine with his theology of the keeper side of God to give a unique perspective in mission theory that is invaluable in today’s world of increasing risk in mission.

Duncan Westwood, PhD, Psychologist, Clinical Director of Expatriate Care & Development, International Health Management, Toronto  –  Anyone in the field of missions will find this a compelling memoir that intersects the reader’s life with a seasoned missionary mentor, teacher and researcher.  The pragmatic and precise structure of the book immediately gives the reader freedom to dive in whichever missiological stream interests them the most.  Intersections is an informative resource that will inspire resilience in the lives of those who want to endure and be effective in their overseas mission.”

Dr Wayne Whitbourne, Executive Director, Action International Ministries (Canada)  –  Ron Brown weaves a tapestry of Biblical Theology, History, Missiology, and Anthropology to give a deeper understanding of what it means to serve the Lord. Placed in the context of the history of the Congo and the struggles, suffering, pain and disappointments what emerges are lessons on resilience, perseverance and a strong commitment to serve the Lord no matter what life circumstances result. This is an important book for anyone who desires to make an impact for God’s Kingdom and glory. The Christian life is not always a paved highway but at times a dry and dusty road with many potholes. However it is a joyful journey when it is framed in terms of the Kingdom.

Darlene Jerome, International Coordinator, Mobile Member Care Team, Accra, Ghana  – This book moved me to thank God for the countless intersections that have enriched Ron’s life and for “keeping” him to share his often exciting, and always thought-provoking, stories! Reading between the lines, it’s clear that our Lord also uses Ron to intersect with many lives (including mine) to inspire, challenge and share the joy of serving our missional God.  May these God-ordained intersections continue!  Anyone wrestling with their theology of risk and suffering, or wanting to better understand what helps missionaries be resilient post-trauma, would do well to intersect with Ron through this unique book. He’ll stimulate your thinking and encourage your faith in our keeper God!

Rev Sadiri Joy Tira, DMin., DMiss., Senior Associate for Diasporas, The Lausanne Movement, Davao, The Philippines  –  INTERSECTIONS is more than a book; it is a manual for decision makers: denominational and missions leaders, international and NGO workers caught up in traumatic and violent crises. Dr. Ronald Brown contributed to a very rare piece of Missiological literature. This is perhaps the most authoritative book in this field.

 Rev Mabiala Justin-Robert Kenzo, PhD, President of the Evangelical Community of the Alliance in Congo  –  INTERSECTIONS is simply a fascinating book. Ron has a particular way of weaving together personal tales, historical narratives, and theological reflections. Through many intersections, the book takes the reader into a journey, through the meanders of a simple yet extra-ordinary life of a man who never failed to impact those with whom he came into contact.

INTERSECTIONS is not only about extraordinary encounters, that is, intersections, whereby Russia, Canada, Australia and Congo meet in the same unusual way that Guinness, Simpson, Stevens, and Maxwell intersect. It is also about learning a new language with its humbling side and developing resilience after surviving three traumatic evacuations.

What makes INTERSECTIONS really great is the fact that beyond the numerous intersections between countries, cultures, individuals, and events it shares, it is a captivating testimony of the intersection of one person’s life with the life of Christ. So, fittingly, it ends with a theological reflection on divine providence. Born out of real experience, this reflection illustrates what the work of a reflective practitioner—as we used say at Ambrose Seminary—should be. 

I highly recommend INTERSECTIONS as a must read book for every missionary candidate and every student in missiology or theology.

Rev Kathy Klassen, Pastor, First Alliance Church, Toronto  –  Ron Brown’s book “Intersections” in many respects is a Hebrews 11 account of two generations of families that follow the call of God into dark and difficult places. Ron shares of his upbringing as an MK in Congo and then his subsequent call back into the same field.  He includes traumas he faced and God’s enabling to grow through them and in-turn pass on to others what he has gleaned.  A wholesome read that will assist all those with a heart for missions in better understanding Jesus’ words to “count the cost.”

Rev Clyde Glass, PhD, Lead Pastor, Southview Alliance Church, Calgary  –  Spanning continents, revolutions, evacuations, and decades of leadership and ministry, Intersections provides thrilling examples and profound testament to the providence of God in our lives. The stories woven from Ron’s life not only lifted me with encouragement and joy, they also challenged me to trust the God behind every episode.  The entire book shouts of the reality declared in Proverbs 16:9:  “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Mark Maxwell, President, Prairie Bible College, Three Hills, Alberta  –  I believe in the God that Ron describes in this book, a God who is determined to reach as many people around the world with His love and will bring widely dispersed people and circumstances together to achieve that purpose.  In fact, I think He delights in connecting the far corners of the globe with relationships to weave a brilliant picture of the love He has for all of us. He showed His face through Jesus and He keeps showing His fingerprints by coordinating events so that we bow in awe knowing, “only God” could have shaped events so perfectly.  We have an amazing God who is very much alive and on the move among us.  May we, with the help of Ron’s story, begin to recognize the everyday miracles that He is bringing into our lives.

Jackie Buhler, Vice-President of People, Wycliffe Canada  –  Reading this book is like sitting with a great storyteller, who captures your attention and holds it as you wait for the next chapter.  But it’s much more than a bunch of stories, it’s also packed with extremely helpful insights into what caring for missionaries really can and should be, and how to offer that care effectively.

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