Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 14, 2016

Godspeed, Brian Stone

When Brian Stone came to Kingsland seven years ago, I could never have imagined what this young man would come to mean to me. He had an authenticity about him — a refreshing lack of pretense. Brian had survived a tough prodigal journey that ultimately led him to the end of himself and to the foot of the cross. So, the only thing Brian really had to boast about was the grace that had pulled him out of the mire created by his own bad choices.

Brian at Pyramids
Those who are forgiven much have a tendency to love much (Luke 7:47). When Brian finally embraced Christ he did so with a heart full of gratitude. Soon, Brian pursued a call to ministry that led him to serve as a chaplain for the Union Gospel Mission. This was the perfect place for him to start his journey into ministry. Brian could relate to guys whose lives were broken — and his own story resonated with theirs.

Omar and Stone
Brian and I soon developed a strong friendship. I was drawn to him in part because my own son had a similar story. I saw a lot of my son in Brian and a lot of Brian in my son. Our friendship developed into a two-way mentoring relationship. Brian and I had a lot of deep spiritual conversations and talked often about ministry. I enjoyed sharing whatever wisdom I have gleaned over the years and also learned a lot from my younger friend.

On Mount Arbel
Brian and I also held each other accountable in many areas of life. Whenever we saw each other one of us would ask, “Are you thinking deeply?” The reply was always the same, “Yes, so that I can live wisely.” As I often told Brian, I have reached the age where I can no longer afford to kill time because time is killing me. I must live wisely.

Brian and Julia
Brian and I shared many good times as we served the people of our community. He intentionally set a good example for his family of what it means to love God and love people. Brian and his kids made good memories by serving others together. Brian and I also made some good memories together as we served among the nations — telling the story of Jesus and His love for all peoples.

Stone Parying for TeamI especially appreciate Brian’s presence when Doyle and I did the Texas Water Safari in 2013. He drove all the way to San Marcos to pray with us before the start of this grueling 260-mile ultramarathon canoe race. And, he met us at several checkpoints along the route. I will never forget seeing Brian on the bank of the Guadalupe River as we approached the final checkpoint before the finish line. Once again, Brian encouraged us and prayed for us before our final push to the finish.

Brian Bayou Trail 2
And now, God has opened a wonderful door of opportunity for Brian to serve as the senior pastor of Valley View Church in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a match made in heaven. Like Brian, Valley View has a passion for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with people that are hurting and in need of a savior. I expect that God will use Brian and his passion for the gospel to lead Valley View to advance the interests of the kingdom in Louisville and beyond.

Brian in Egypt
I am a better person because of Brian. I am grateful that we always shared mutual encouragement and spurred one another to love and serve God passionately. I will miss him deeply — our conversations, his laughter, trying to keep up with him on mountain bike trails, and his encouragement. Godspeed, Brian Stone. Thanks for being more than a friend and closer than a brother.


Responses

  1. So beautifully written Omar! You just made me have an ugly cry.

    • Me too, Patricia. Bittersweet indeed.

  2. What a beautiful and touching ‘send off’ for a very special young man. I am sure you two will continue to encourage and challenge one another in the days and years ahead. What a blessing for both of you! “Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, that.a lifetime’s not to long to live as friends!” And then we get eternity together. Yea! 🙂

    • Thanks, Pam. Will miss seeing him day to day but will stay in touch.

  3. We feel very blessed to have him at Valley View and serving in Louisville, Kentucky.

    • You will enjoy Brian and his family. I am excited for Brian and for Valley View.

  4. I will see Brian, again in Bangladesh & will do ministry together! Thanks for the such a articles about Brian Stone! I know, I am in your mind both of You!

    Mortuza.

    Bangladesh.

    • Thanks for translating for us in Bangladesh, Mortuza. We hope to see you again.

  5. Well said, praise and honor to the Lord for what He’s done in yours and Brian’s lives. We miss you guys!

    • Thanks, Joyce. Miss you guys as well.

  6. Wow! Thank you, Omar. I too have enjoyed our friendship, ministry together, and your mentoring and encouragement. You showed me God’s heart for both our neighbors and the nations…not just in theological theory but in practical manifestation. Although you appreciate the importance of strategy and planning I remember you saying, “Instead of another meeting about discipleship why don’t we just go make disciples.” I love your call to action and the challenge to not be satisfied with the right theory, philosophy, or plan but to always follow through in tangible ways to demonstrate the Great Commission by way of the Great Commandment. Thank you for your investment in me, which is not completed yet and will be carried on in Louisville and beyond!

    • BStone … I am definitely going to miss you but am so excited about the wonderful door of opportunity that God has opened for you at Valley View. Thanks for having a heart for others and for your determination to incarnationally live out your faith. I know that God will use you and the people of Valley View to love the people of Louisville and beyond — to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to make Him famous. I am grateful for our friendship and promise to keep you in my prayers as you continue to think deeply, live wisely, and lead well.


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