Monday, October 4, 2010

NEW Blog Address!

We have moved to a new (cyber-)location...

Pass this on to anyone you know who may be interested. It's been a while since I've posted consistently here on light your world, but Nicol and I are excited to give this blogging thing a try TOGETHER!

Come check things out. It's a work in progress, which should be interesting and kinda fun, because so are we.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eugene B. "Brownie" Brown Sr.

(Family and friends, if you email me your special memories of Gramp, I'll post them here, or you can just add a comment.)

As published in the Bangor Daily News, June 9, 2010

WASHBURN - Eugene B. "Brownie" Brown Sr., 86, passed away Monday, June 7, 2010, at a Presque Isle hospital. He was born May 17, 1924, in Patten, the son of Harold and Bessie (Harvey) Brown. Brownie attended local schools in Patten and then joined the U.S. Navy. Upon his honorary medical discharge, he was employed as a station agent at Bangor and Aroostook Railroad for 11 years before joining Aroostook Potato Growers and becoming co-owner of Washburn Potato Co. He was very community minded; serving on the board of directors of Washburn Trust Co., the board of directors for SAD 45, president of Washburn Rotary Club and was named honorary alumnus of Washburn District High School. Brownie's family was very important to him. His family accompanied him for nine summers and enjoyed living on Silver Beach as he worked in Exmore, Va., for M.J. Duer Potato Co. He and his wife, Kay, also spent 35 winters in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.; freely sharing their home with each of their children and grandchildren. They also traveled to Walt Disney World with 22 family members and made some very special memories. Brownie and Kay spent many happy times with their family at their camp on Portage Lake. Brownie also enjoyed stock car racing at Spud Speedway. He owned and operated a stock car sponsored by Washburn Potato Co. In later years, he was "honorary field boss" for Aaron Turner Farms, and enjoyed picking potatoes and giving them away. He was an avid poker player, enjoyed fly-fishing and hunting, and, in later years, putting puzzles together. Surviving, in addition to his wife of almost 66 years, Kathleen (Willigar) of Washburn; are his five children, Brenda and her husband, Larry Turner, Cheryl and her husband, Winston Shankel, Vicki and her husband, Deryle Sponberg, Joanne and her husband, David Lavway, and Eugene Jr. and his wife, Londa Brown; 12 grandchildren, Wendy and her husband, David Rose, Sheila and her husband, Doug Clark, Aaron and his wife, Laura Turner, Craig Russell, Linda and her husband, Chris MacDonald, Angela and her husband, Scott Wardwell, Gregory and his wife, Nicol Sponberg, Marci and her husband, Stephen Wilcox, Amie Lavway and her fiance, Kris Milo, Laura and her husband, Pete Slay, Eugene B. Brown III, and Eric and his wife, Janet Brown; and 16 great-grandchildren, Alexander Rose, Michael and Brian Clark, Mason and McCall Turner, CJ Russell, Anna and Abigail MacDonald, Annelise and Liliana Wardwell, Summer Sponberg, Christopher, Andrew and Morgan Wilcox, Caleb and BJ Brown. He also leaves behind a sister, Charlotte Michaud of Connecticut; and in-laws, Clarence and his wife, Sandy Willigar, Nora Willigar, Reba Wiggins, Bob and Gloria Willigar, Cora Savage, Jane and Donnie McNally, Judy James, Elsie and Vernon Campbell, Ruth and Chippy Lane, Donis and Wanda Willigar, Gail Campbell, and Elaine Willigar. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Manly Brown; and a great-grandson, Luke Sponberg. Funeral services will be conducted 1 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at Duncan-Graves Funeral Home, 30 Church St., Presque Isle, with the Rev. Clayton Blackstone Jr. officiating. Friends may call noon Thursday until time of service. Interment will take place after the service at Crouseville Cemetery. Those who wish may make donations to Luke Sponberg Foundation online at Condolences may be expressed online at

Given in memory of Gramp to The Luke Sponberg Foundation

Many thanks to...
-Russell and Marilyn Allen (Presque Isle, ME)
-Dan and Jill Boyd (Presque Isle, ME)
-Howie and Laurie Bishop and Family (Bangor, ME)
-David and Connie Heald (Washburn, ME)
-Thomas and Rinette Hill (Coconut Creek, FL)
-Alan and Ginette Irving (Presque Isle, ME)
-Frank and Darrylin Keenan (Presque Isle, ME)
-Lancaster and Morgan Funeral Home (Caribou, ME)
-Nadine Peary (Bangor, ME)
-Richard and Barbara Porter (Washburn, ME)
-Linda Randolph (Presque Isle, ME)
-Cora Savage (Patten, ME)
-Winston and Cheryl Shankel (Hampden, ME)
-Barry and Mary Lou Thibeau (Fort Fairfiled, ME)
-Thompson-Hamel, LLC (Presque Isle, ME)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Home from Haiti...

What a time it's been since returning from Haiti on Wednesday. The A/C went out that evening, and it was boiling hot in this place. I made a few calls on Thursday morning to have someone come take a look at it, but everyone was booked up and couldn't get to it until Friday. My first response would normally have been to check into a hotel, but having just been in the sweltering heat and humidity of Haiti, I was actually sort of acclimated. So we toughed it out... even though sleeping in a room that is 86 degrees is miserable no matter where you are. Then, at about midnight on Thursday/Friday, Summer woke up crying and said that her ear hurt. After 30 minutes or so, Nicol suggested that we go to a hotel, so we got ready real quick and headed out the door. Summer was getting more and more uncomfortable, so we drove to the ER to have her ear looked at. Sure enough, she had the beginnings of an ear infection and the doc gave us some drops and and prescription for amoxicillin. Next stop: hotel. Nicol called a few places and they were either booked or more $$ than any dive should ask for at 2:30am. I pulled into a Hilton Garden Inn and Nicol when in to see if they had vacancy and how much they get for a room. Yes, they had vacancy and frighteningly, the woman said it would $199. Nicol is very skilled in those types of situations and she began to work her magic, asking if they could match the price ($89) at a nearby hotel. She did match that price (unbelievable) and she checked us in so that we wouldn't have to check out until Saturday morning. That was a total blessing. We vegged all day Friday. Felt great. And Summer's ear is feeling much better.

But all that is quite insignificant in comparison to yesterday's events. I got a call from my Dad at about 7:30am, and he told me that my Grandfather (Mom's father) had apparently had a heart attack and that he wasn't doing well. Then, about an hour later, the news came that Gramp had passed. He was 86 and has had a history of heart disease, but he was in pretty good shape over all and this was totally unexpected. So tomorrow morning, Nicol. Summer and I will be traveling to Maine. The funeral will be Thursday afternoon. It will be good to finally get up there and be with everyone. I feel so bad for Gram... they would have celebrated their 66th anniversary in December. Amazing.

With all the craziness, I haven't been able to get any Haiti updates posted. What I can say is this: it was an amazing trip and I want to go back... with Nicol next time! More on Haiti when things calm down.

For now, I'm going to bed... have to be up at 5.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Haiti--Day 4


Up at 5:50AM. Had b'fast at 6:30. Devos with the Global Outreach guys at 7. Beautiful morning here. Hot, but this compound is gorgeous. Right now I am looking out over a bay with mountains behind. The ocean water is blue/green and spectacular. Samaritan's Purse operation is in full work mode, building temporary shelter structures for those who have been and are being displaced out of PaP into Titanyen. There are lots and lots of people in that situation and based on having seen a tent city with 12,000 and another with 16,000 yesterday I have to think that many, many more could end up here. BTW, the 12,000 person tent city that we saw is located directly across from The Palace in what used to be a "beautiful" park, according to Nazer. It's not necessarily a safe place, and terribly sad to see. Who's going to help there?

Today Brian are going to help Chris and his crew unload a container. Chris just showed us around a bit. A primary part of their operation here is drilling wells, which he said is a 24/7 deal. Once you start drilling you can't stop to do something else and go back to it a couple of days later b/c the ground will collapse. Depending on what they are drilling thru, they may get 2-3 feet in a day or up to 50, but that about maxes his drills out. They spend 2 days a week just doing repairs, and every 3 months they do a complete maintenance overhaul of every well. And they've drilled 253 in the past 6 years.

Avg cost per well is $5000-$5500. Some a little less, some significantly more. Chris says you can't drill enough holes in this country. Clean water is that scarce.

Time to go unload a container...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Haiti--Day 3

Hello from Haiti! A few folks at the guest house got really sick last night. I asked one person what she thought it was and she said "it's the Haiti hello." My hello from Haiti is just a greeting. I'm not sick. Praise the Lord.

Below are some notes from my iPhone, but first here's a quick summary of what's been happening. First, Brian, Caryn and I traveled here with Brent Gambrell Ministries of Nashville. They brought a team of about 45 people from all over the States to do orphan care and work projects. Trip leaders were Mike and Missy Wilson. Great folks. By the way, their son Dillon is a pretty amazing singer/actor/entertainer... don't be surprised if you see his name all over the place one day. GREAT kid too. We all stayed with BGM's primary Haitian ministry partner, Dr. Jacob Bernard and his wife, at their home, the Bethel Guest House in Thomassin. Really nice place. Very kind hosts. The Bernards are the kind of people who have done SO incredibly much with their lives for the kingdom that you kind of feel like a schmuck, if you know what I mean. He has 3 masters degrees from a seminary in TX and 2 PhDs. They run 2 orphanages and have adopted 17 children. Pastors a church. Teaches at a seminary. Blah, blah, blah. Now do you know what I mean about feeling like a schmuck? :)

Had a great time with BGM and the Bernards...

This morning we left the guest house and drove to Titanyen, about 30 miles from Thomassin. Drove straight thru Port au Prince. Can't begin to describe the scene there... devastation... and we're 5 months out from the quake. We will be here until Wed. Our hosts are Chris and Cheryl Brumley, who are with Global Outreach Int'l. Wonderful people. Fed us lunch. Talked about potential partnerships for Fellowship. Toured the church they attend with Cheryl and Pastor Kelley, their pastor.

That's about it for now. I'll post as I'm able and as we have WiFi...

Pray for us. God has definitely gone before us and shaped the trip by guiding conversations and setting the schedule. Really cool to see that happen. Very thankful.

FYI, I would post pics but I can't transfer them to Brian's laptop and I can't pick up the WiFi signal on my iPhone... :(  



Left Bethel Guest House about 30 min ago. Our driver is Nazer Olivier. Gets $100 a day. Has 3 sisters and 2 brothers in West Palm. He went to H.S. in Miami. Moved back home to work for his father, Nadier, also a driver. Mother died when he was 6.

Nazer's house was leveled in the quake. All 7 people inside got out safely. Lost "a lot" of friends and had many who lost arms and legs. Said he spent the 3 days after the quake helping people. No sleep. No food. Said wks following the quake we awful, very bad... especially the smell of dead bodies.

Driving into downtown PaP on our way to Titanyen. People everywhere. Quite a seen. Totally calm (except for the traffic) but bustling with activity. LONG lines at banks and Western Unions... 100+ people waiting? Lots and lots of debris and rubble remains. Much of it has been moved to the sides of streets so traffic can get thru. Some of it has been moved into "fields" that have been leveled off for future building projects. Majority of rubble has been broken up and moved by hand. Just drove by The Palace, where Pres. Prevail was when the quake hit. Nazer said no one knew if Prevail was alive b/c as they found out later he got out of the city to safety. Didn't even hold a press conference to let the people know what was going on.

Just switched vehicles. Went from a Toyota Tercel to a Nissan Pathfinder. The Tercel just wasn't working for the 3 of us and all our luggage. Did I mention that the traffic is nuts here? Just drove by a tent city with upwards of 16,000 people according to Nazer.

One sign of malnutrition is a reddish/yellowish hue in the hair. Seeing LOTS of reddish/yellowish hair and it's not dye.

Eating lunch with the Chris and Cheryl Brumley (of Global Outreach Int'l) and Pastor Kelley Balde (of Titanyen Baptist Church). Pastor Kelley oversees 18 churches and pastors 2 of them full time. Sunday service times: 4:30-6AM and 7-9AM; Sunday School is 6-7AM. Why so early? B/c of the heat. Said that for 2 months after the quake the Haitians would not go inside a building with a concrete roof b/c they were afraid of another quake hitting.

Touring Titanyen Baptist Church with Pastor Kelley and Cheryl. The church suffered some damage but not much. Outside of a $1000 gift from a US church, they have done all the repairs by themselves. Amazing considering the poverty here.

Waiting for dinner. In honor of Memorial Day, Chris and Cheryl got American beef and we're having burgers on the grill tonight. Very nice people.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Haiti--Day 1

[ From my iPhone notepad. ]


Landed at 10:45AM, got thru immigration, then on to baggage, which was absolute chaos. Somewhere between the plane and baggage claim someone swiped an Aquafina water bottle off my backpack. Oh well. Exited the "terminal" (the old AA hangar; main airport is closed b/c of earthquake) only to enter more chaos. Lots of guys wanting to "help" us with our bags and carts. Let me just say that what pavement is there is riddled with potholes the size of TX and that's the good parts of the street, so pushing a 3 wheeled luggage cart with 6 bags was... challenging. We are now waiting in a gravel/mud lot waiting for our ride. Sweating like mad. Good times.

Still waiting for our ride. If the environmentalists are concerned about carbon footprints in the US, they ought to come here. I've breathed in more diesel fumes in the past hour than I do in a month in Franklin. :) Good times.

My first ride in a "tap tap". And what is a "tap tap"? I guess you could say it's Haiti's version of a cab, except it's a truck, you sit in the back on benches, and when you want to get out, you "tap tap" on the roof. If you thought a taxi ride in New York, Boston, or Chicago was interesting, you ought to see try these things. Good times.

We landed at 10:45AM. Now leaving airport. 3 hours and 15 minutes to get off airport grounds. No big deal... I've waited for a couple hours at O'Hare.

The tap tap driver behind us shuts his truck off while sitting in traffic... I'm assuming to save fuel... I assumed wrong... it's overheating. We are driving thru "market". All kinds of produce, merchandise, and chickens. I like to call them "stickens" b/c they are skinny as a stick.

Just arrived at Bethel Guest House... Missy says it's the worst traffic they've ever seen. 25 miles. 2 hours. This place is NICE. Beautiful. Not at all what I was expecting.

Dinner was great. Rice and beans. Shepherds pie. Bread. A Coke... and a smile. Team meeting at 7:30.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday, May 29--12:00PM
Just landed, got thru immigration, then on to baggage, which was absolute chaos, but we made it. Somewhere between the plane and baggage claim someone swiped an Aquafina water bottle off my backpack. Oh well. Exited the "terminal" (the old AA hangar; main airport is closed b/c of earthquake) only to enter more chaos. Lots of guys wanting to "help" (for a fee, of course) with our bags and carts. Let me just say that what pavement there is is riddled with potholes the size of TX and that's the good parts of the street, so pushing a 3 wheeled luggage cart with 6 bags was... challenging. We are currently waiting in a gravel/mud lot waiting for our ride (estimated wait time: 1 hour, but why do I get the feeling it will be longer; be flexible, right? :)) Sweating like mad. And someone is cooking something somewhere and it smells amazing. Good times.