Sharing the Vision: 
An interview with MCH President Tim Brown, Part Two

This story was first printed in the Winter 2011 issue of Sunshine magazine.

 MCH President Tim Brown with youth from the Waco campus

Q: During the first message you gave as president at MCH during a Sunday service on the Waco campus, you mentioned a quote by Marianne Williamson from her book, “Return to Love.” Part of the quote reads, “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.” Why did you choose that quote?
A: Many of our kids are here purely due to painful circumstances in their lives. Bad things happen – death, abuse, neglect, school issues, divorce, anger, illnesses – that lead children to MCH. In many cases, it’s not necessarily something they did or something they could have prevented, things just happen.
There’s a saying that we tend to become what the most important person in our life thinks we’ll become. As caring adults and staff members, if we help children believe they have worth and value and will do great things in life, they typically fulfill that vision and do great things. I’ve had the blessing many times to hear from former residents years later, who thanked me and other staff members for believing in them. It makes a difference in the lives of our youth when they know we support them and believe in their potential.

Q: Are there any past experiences in this profession that keep you motivated?
A: I’m convinced there is always hope when I see the resilience our children have in overcoming the difficult or traumatic circumstances that bring them to MCH. There is always potential for children to successfully turn their lives around. They can accomplish things they never dreamed they could do. I’m inspired to know that MCH contributes to the success of our youth. This keeps me motivated to maintain our good work and find even better ways to serve children.

Q: Can you share any specific experiences?
A: I’m frequently reminded of my experience with four sisters who were here several years ago. Horrendous family losses led them to the Home. Their caregivers all died – first their father, then their mother, grandmother and aunt. They struggled with relationships because everyone they ever loved had died. One of the girls even said she thought they died because she loved them.
Closeness, love and trust were challenges for them. Even though none of their family attended college, they came to MCH, stuck with our program and did well in school. They’re all doing great now – they attended college, have good jobs, and one is married with children. They’re all healthy, confident and successful people. The girls remain in touch with each other, and they have developed their own extended families and support systems.
There are those youth who learn valuable lessons from living at MCH, and there are those youth who teach us important lessons. There was another young man who came to live at the Home who was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Most people do not live past their teens with this diagnosis. This young man lived his short life fully and completely. He lived life to the fullest and as an example to others. I’m inspired by these courageous young people and others like them.

Q: How does your faith influence your work at MCH?
A: I couldn’t do what I do without my faith. I have to be able to trust God to make something good happen out of something bad; to know that when bad things happen they’re not punishment or intentionally inflicted pain in someone’s life. God is a loving god and He wants the best for us.

Q: How do you think faith plays a role in the lives of MCH youth?
A: It’s hard sometimes for our youth to trust God. Many times we refer to God as our Father, but fathers do not always love their children, or at least may not act as a father should act toward his children. In other cases, children may have a good father, but he died or divorced. Thus, children begin to think that if God is anything like their earthly father, they don’t want anything to do with Him.
I encourage youth to come to peace with their past and disappointments by forgiving those who hurt or disappointed them. I encourage them to think about a loving God, who cares so much about them that He sent His own Son to heal them, forgive them, love them and give them every opportunity to love others. I want them to have that as their image of God – one who loves them enough to stick with them, even when they are not too loveable at times.

Q: You have mentioned that you want to be more like Barnabas from the Bible. Can you tell me a little about that?
A: Barnabas was an incredible encourager. I grew up around people who placed value on remaining quiet, serving others and taking little credit for the things they did. Thus, I’ve always admired and gravitated toward people who were encouragers. My joy comes in seeing others find and experience joy.
I’m reminded of a story in 2 Kings 7:3-16. Four beggars are sitting at a gate outside a city under siege. The city has run out of food and water. The enemy is camped some distance away waiting for the city to give up. One of the beggars speaks up and says, “We have to do something. If we sit here, we’re going to die. If we go inside the gates to the city, we’ll surely die. But if we go out to the enemy, maybe they’ll have mercy on us and give us food and water and we’ll live.” They found the courage and strength to face the enemy, and they were rewarded for their effort.
Before the beggars arrived, the Lord caused the enemy to hear the sound of many horses and they fled in fear, leaving behind treasure, food, clothing and supplies. In the midst of their joy and good fortune, one of the beggars said, “This is a day of good fortune and we must not keep it for ourselves, we must share it with others.” They eventually returned to tell the king, and the city under siege was saved because of the beggars’ courage, risk and generous spirits.
When good things happen, we are called to share them with others. God provides those opportunities not just for us, but for others through us. I identify with Barnabas because he was that kind of person. He wasn’t satisfied just experiencing the good things in his life. He wanted to share them with others.

Q: What are the challenges of being a president at a children’s home and a husband and father?
A: Time management is the greatest challenge. I have to take it one day at a time and schedule my time accordingly. I focus on trying to remain flexible and available. I enjoy and seek solitude at times, but my presence, visibility and involvement in my family’s life and activities and MCH are competing priorities at times.
I try every day to tell my wife and kids that I love them. I try to encourage our staff and youth, and tell them how much I appreciate the work they do and the support they provide each other and MCH. It’s something I have to be intentional about because it’s not an easy thing to do. When I encounter people who are good at encouraging others, I try to incorporate those skills in what I do. I’ve learned that when I make a mistake, I need to quickly and humbly ask for forgiveness and move on, and then strive to work on learning from my mistakes and do better next time.

Part three in this series will appear in the next issue of Sunshine.

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