Eleanore Datema: Remembering June Brown

June Brown (left) and Eleanore Datema at a US National Conference meeting.

Eleanore Datema
Former UB missionary June Brown passed away on June 4, 2020.

I didn’t meet June Brown until 1957, the year Jerry and I began our work in Sierra Leone. She lived in Mattru and we lived in Bumpe, and in those days missionaries didn’t travel much. Later, she moved to Bumpe to teach in Bumpe High School, where I got to know her better.

When I think of June, I’m reminded of Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica, where he said in verse 1:3, “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith. She had faith in God, which resulted in obedience to his call to serve in Sierra Leone. She had faith he would empower her to do that work and that he would be with her in every situation.

Love. Her labor was prompted by love—for Jesus, for her fellow missionaries, and for her African students and friends. It was a love that mentored, taught, and gave of her time and gifts to fill needs. It was a love that caused her to patiently pull stingers out of the students’ heads when the bee honey melted and made them mad.

Hope. Her endurance and faithfulness was inspired by hope in the Lord. Hope that her students would find Jesus as Savior. Hope that they would follow their dreams and reach their goals—and pass their exams! Hope that her life and words would show Christ’s love, care, and joy to others.

1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us that these three great virtues remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love…and June Brown certainly loved the Sierra Leoneans!

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