Ministering to the Minister: Church community rallies to fund pastor’s new car

Savannah Vasquez
Holly and Wayne Brown with their daughter Brooklyn in front of Grace Lutheran Church were Brown serves as youth pastor.

Wayne Brown has driven his Mazda Protégé into the ground. It was a great car and had a good long life at 13 years and more than 180,000 miles, but when the car finally died last week, Brown was not expecting the community rally that followed.

Brown’s long-time friend Austin Norwood took it upon himself to start a fundraising website to kick start his friend’s car fund.

“I’ve been thinking about doing something for him for the past two years because the car hasn’t had AC or heat for the past three years. I knew it was an issue, and things are tight for him. He lives on a budget and has five kids, but you would never know they were in any trouble because he’s such a good guy.”

Brown, known by friends as “WB,” is a youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church and is known widely for his service and love for the Destin community. He suffers from chronic back pain, but has never been one to complain.

“He’s just one of those guys that serves so much that he forgets to take care of himself,” said Norwood. “When we went to go get the pictures of his car, we looked in the back and we found all this food that he hands out on a daily basis to the homeless. He does that under the radar with no intent to be rewarded. He’s also been such a blessing to us, and with the problems he’s had financially we thought it would be a good thing to help him either fix his car or get a new one.”

When Brown’s wife Holly first saw the fundraising post on her Facebook page she told the Log she cried.

“I was totally shocked seeing that,” she said. “I saw the post and my timeline and thought, ‘Wait a minute that’s our car,’ and I just started crying. It was like a huge hug from the Lord because we have been praying, but we hadn’t told anybody that we were looking for a car.”

Holly said she was amazed at the timeliness and the kindness of the gesture, and felt immediately encouraged.  

“Finances-wise we are not at a place to purchase a vehicle,” she said. “When I saw that, it was like God was saying, ‘I hear you,’ it was just a good feeling. A new car wasn’t on the radar at all, but God is good and he’s always been faithful. We’re just speechless really; it’s just crazy.”

Norwood said he hopes the fundraiser will garner enough to purchase a new car for Brown, or at least something more reliable.

“We’ll probably get him something similar to what he has,” said Norwood. “A Toyota Camry or something more dependable than what he’s got now, with AC and a heater of course.”

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