Todd Brown: So I looked at religion as one of those things. “Let me figure out how to make it in the world, how to acquire material things, or status, or whatever the case may be. And then one day, then I’ll go find God. But not today.”
Stories of Faith
My name is Todd Brown. I was born on the Caribbean island of Antigua. I grew up there until I was about 12, 13 years old. I migrated to the states, June 12, 1995. I have four brothers, three sisters. In Antigua, the primary religions on the island [are] Anglican religion, as well as Seventh Day Adventist.
My mom always instilled in me to pray and remember to put God first and just have a general guidance, in terms of being a good person.
My main questions regarding God growing up was, “What [is] our purpose in life? Why is life unfair? Why [are] there some instances you hear of, God is, you know, He’s going to make fire and brimstone and punish you.” But it seems contradictory when you hear, “Oh He’s so forgiving and He’s such a kind and gracious God.” So I was kind of mixed in that aspect. And then the other thing was, I felt like I was made guilty if I had too many questions. You’re supposed to just accept it and things shown in mystery and just follow. And that never really sat right with me.
An On and Off Journey
My relationship with my brother, Claus, he was the cool brother. Every time we speak, 605 of the conversation will be around church, and “You need to take your faith seriously. You need to be saved and…” He was a member of the Church Of Christ, so he got baptized in the Church probably in the early 80’s to mid-80’s and he would invite me on the weekends to come out with him.
My first impressions of the Church Of Christ initially was mixed. For him to be in a church that seemed predominantly Filipino at the time, it was a little curious to me.
I came across some documentary on some lessons on Jesus Christ. So that was the first time I kind of viewed religion in a different perspective. So to see Jesus in a sense of, like a historic text, not someone who’s biased or trying to sell me on their faith or religion, was interesting. So that made me kind of dig into it and did more research. Made me curious that I wanted to take Bible lessons again. I felt it was a good way for me now to ask more educated questions.
And then especially when the lesson is about different prophecies that happened throughout mankind. I’m like, “Oh, I researched that.” I literally witnessed the growth and some of those prophecies being fulfilled. And to witness that as an outsider, it was… awakening.
“The Church Is Consistent”
I remember we were just holding worship service[s] in one of the brethren’s basement. “Why is everyone else thriving and they’re just worshiping in someone’s basement?” And then over the years, it grew, and they got their own place of worship. The Church itself spread to different locals throughout the country, across the world. People from different cultures, religious backgrounds, different stories. And then now, people turn away from [their] church. Certain churches are accepting teachings they didn’t accept before. But then this Church is consistent. It’s consistent in its belief. It’s consistent in its teachings. And it’s consistent in its growth.
“I Had A Lot Of Questions”
When I first heard that this is the true Church, it was a turn-off. It sounded presumptuous, to be honest. I didn’t know it was based on. When you make a bold claim like that, you have to be able to back it up. And then later on, now revisiting…the worship services from a different perspective, whereas more, I guess, objective… and… almost with an intention to dispel that this is the true Church, only to be met with facts and prophecies.
-What type of questions did you ask as a Bible student?
Different questions I asked as a Bible student was, “Why did God create us? If God is so omniscient, and He knows everything, why do we still have to pray? What’s the proper way to pray? Why is prayer important?”
“Did My Own Research”
It took me about six to eight months to finally become committed after my last Bible study lessons. It was a life-changing commitment. I was living my life, I guess, comfortably. And certain things or temptations that I enjoyed, and I didn’t necessarily want to sacrifice those things to follow religion. The other reason it took me a while was… part of me couldn’t believe it was real. It was, “Okay, I have all these questions, I did my own research and now I’m going to trip you up in the Bible studies.” And none of that happened. It actually…all my questions got answered from the Bible.
“Put God To The Test”
I was in the worship service one evening. In the lesson, the minister asked, “Put God to the test.” So I’m like, “Okay.” Well I needed a car at the time. And I previously was in a dealership earlier that day trying to negotiate for a car and the price just wouldn’t come together. So I had a personal prayer like, “Well, if God, if You’re so real, I’m getting this car.” And then literally, when I came out of worship service there was a voicemail on my phone from the car dealership. It was like, “Oh, Mr. Brown, you know, we couldn’t get the car you want but we got something different, that we were able to approve, all the paperwork is done, you can pick it up tomorrow morning.” And I was like, “Alright, alright.” I promised that if I get this car, then I’ll have more mobility and I can not only do my work, but I could go to every worship service and be consistent.
As I started to accomplish certain things and got a taste [of], I guess, the lifestyle I thought I desired, I realized it wasn’t as meaningful before I had it. Sometimes you look at religion as a restrictive, conforming way to live our lives, whereas most of us want to be free and feel like we have control and power over what makes us happy.
What the Church Of Christ offered that was missing in my life was a true sense of…truth.
“Your Salvation Depends On It”
So what I would say to people who don’t need a church as long as they believe in God, I would, “Dig deeper. Ask questions. Pray to God. Ask Him for that guidance. Ask Him for that acknowledgement and confirmation to find His truth.”
The reason I would encourage people to give the Church Of Christ a chance and listen is your salvation depends on it. It doesn’t cost you anything. If you give something a chance, either you gain from it, or your life remains unchanged. So if there’s a gain to be had, why wouldn’t you pursue it?
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Todd was baptized in the Church Of Christ on October 31, 2014.
“I Have A Cheat Code”
My biggest fear is missing out on God’s promise. In this journey, there’s a lot of ups and downs, but I take comfort in knowing that my faith is strong, and that God always fulfills on His promises. I feel humbled in that sense, because I know I don’t deserve it. And looking at my life ahead, having God’s promise and having God’s guidance, it feels almost like a superpower–almost like I’m cheating, like I have a cheat code. But I’m humbled to have it and I’m grateful that I do. So that makes me very optimistic of the future–trials and triumph.