Moody Employee Making An Impact Part 1
Ricardo Brown, first of 10 employees to serve on a mission trip in 2017 through Moody’s Innovative Ministry Benefit
Ricardo Brown, senior seminary admissions counselor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, recently returned from Ghana, West Africa, where he served churches with a team of six people from World Mission Board.
Brown is the first Moody Bible Institute employee of 2017 to travel on a short-term mission trip through the organization’s annual Ministry Benefit.
Ricardo Brown preaching at Bethel Baptist Church in Namawura Village outside of Accra.
The Ministry Benefit provides five consecutive days off each year for up to 10 employees at Moody Bible Institute to take part in a short-term mission trip. In 2016, employees who participated in the benefit served in areas such as the West Indies, South Carolina and their local church.
“This innovative benefit gives us the opportunity to further promote the global mission and values of Moody through every layer of our organization,” said Debbie Zelinski, vice president of Human Resources at Moody. “Employees are serving in a ministry capacity both locally and internationally with the desire to equip people with the truth of God’s Word. Ricardo’s story is deeply encouraging and we’re excited to see what else God is going to do through others who are taking part in this benefit.”
Brown and his team from World Mission Board went to Accra, Ghana, where they served for nine days. Brown preached in many different villages and assisted his team as they taught Sunday school lessons to children, handed out gifts, and led Bible studies. They also provided school supplies at Seeway Academy in Dauda Village.
Brown chose two key passages for his sermons, which included John 5:1–9, with the theme “When My Limitations Meet My Lord,” and Ephesians 1:7–10, “The Richness of His Grace.” After returning from his trip, Brown received word from the host pastor that many people were challenged in their walk with Christ. Some members made a deeper commitment to live out the gospel, while others confessed their faith in Jesus.
“This was the hardest out of all mission trips I'd been on,” said Brown, who has also served on 15 other missions trips prior to going to Ghana. “The humidity was really hard, health wise. It was the most rural trip I’ve ever taken. We took baths with buckets, and there was no running water.”
He also faced challenges related to cultural differences. It took twice as long to translate English into Ghana’s native language, Fante and Ewe, while he preached and spoke with the people. Despite these challenges, the Lord had exciting plans for Brown, which would go beyond the trip.
Brown and the ministry team at Seeway Academy in Dauda Village.
Brown saw first-hand some of the needs of people living in Ghana, who were missing vital resources for daily life, including hygiene products, shoes and water. He saw a family of six, each carrying a bucket of river water on their head, including the children. It made a lasting impression. Brown realized water was scarce when a truck delivered an enormous supply of filtered water to the home where he and his team were staying. Driven from threee hours away, the water was to be used for bathing and cooking.
Through research, Brown discovered to his surprise that building a well in Ghana costs only two thousand American dollars. Back in Chicago, he launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for building a hand-pumping well that can pump water to individual huts in the village of Namawaura.
“I'm beyond just preaching and going home,” Brown explained. “I want to do something that will physically last for them, and the well is something they need now.”
Church in Agona Village.
Brown has preached in places with great needs before, but the trip’s greatest impact was discovering they don’t have accessible water. “I felt it would be wrong to say, ‘go in peace, be blessed.’ Jesus was concerned and compassionate. Jesus didn’t just preach; he instructed his followers to get these people something to eat.”
Brown’s church, Missio Dei Uptown in Chicago, was one of the largest contributors to the well project. He shared the need with friends, family and coworkers, too, and soon reached his goal of $2,000.
Construction for the well is scheduled to begin by March 15, 2017, in the village of Namawaura, where it will bring clean water to roughly 200 people.
“I am grateful to be a recipient of the Employee Ministry Benefit,” Brown said. “Without it this trip would not have been possible.”
Additional Moody Employees Making an Impact stories will be shared via Moody’s news web page in the coming months.
- Moody Employee Making an Impact Part 2: Harrison Gunter helping provide a safe learning environment for Indian Bible College students.
- Moody Employee Making an Impact Part 3: Phil Brown partners with SMI Haiti to build churches and bring encouragement to believers and children in Haiti.