Donna Hollopeter: Travels with June Brown

Donna Hollopeter (right) retired in 2016 after 22 years as associate director of UB Global.

In 1992, right after June Brown returned from Sierra Leone when the war broke out, I was asked to accompany her on a speaking tour in the Midwest. I had been in the UB Missions department for about a year and I thought it would be a great opportunity. It was not only a great opportunity, but one of my most memorable experiences.

We had a number of churches booked, so we were on the road for quite a while—ten days, as I remember. While we were traveling, the Oklahoma bombing of the Federal Building took place. Timothy McVeigh was captured in a small town close to where we were staying one evening. We returned to our hotel room to find TV trucks and FBI personnel everywhere. We found out that McVeigh
was being held in the town jail until he could be moved the next day, and the FBI had commandeered all of the available rooms at our motel that evening while waiting to escort him to another location. I remember June saying to me that night, as we turned out the lights to go to sleep, “Well, we should sleep really well tonight with all this protection!”

On this same trip, we were visiting another church, and both June and I were engaged in meeting and greeting the people. I noticed that one particular gentleman kept returning to talk to June. After the service, he escorted us to our car and said to June, “You know, I always thought it would be a wonderful thing to be married to a missionary. Do you think you would like to live in the Midwest?”

June didn’t skip a beat and replied, “No, I’d rather live in Africa.”

She told me later she was hoping he didn’t tell her he would like to live there too. We laughed many times about her “marriage proposal.”

I will always remember the time Global Ministries Director Gary Dilley, his wife Rhonda, my husband Jason, and I traveled to Sierra Leone with June and Ruth Benner. We had the opportunity to listen to June and Ruth talk about all of their experiences, and we laughed so hard at some of their stories. On this trip, wherever we went, people in the villages would become so excited because Miss Brown and Miss Benner were there. It was evident June and Ruth were beloved.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to know June and travel with her. What a woman of God and a dear friend!

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