Pastor of the Week: May 15, 2013

caines | 5/16/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Rev. Joann Brookins shares her story

One night while driving to a street party about 20 years ago, Rev. Joann Brookins heard the voice of God. This was decades before she became a pastor, when she was living a worldly life. Yet, she clearly heard Gods warning that night saying youre going to die. That wasnt the first time she had heard His voice. Her ability to say things before they happened was the reason her grandmother had called her spiritual while growing up. Brookins had a Christian upbringing, and even when she wasnt in the church, her mother, Etta Mae Anderson, was praying for her, paying her tithes and encouraging her to go. Brookins had felt Gods conviction so much that she remembers going to the restroom while she was out partying and crying. Although she strayed away from the church, that night, God got her attention. She responded rapidly. Instead of going to the party, she went to the closest church she could find, thinking if Im going to die, I dont want to go to hell. She pulled up to Pillar Ground of Truth Church, and after explaining what had happened to her, Elder Clemmie Howtze prayed the sinners prayer with her. She later found out that there was a shoot out at the party and six people were killed. That night Brookins stopped taking her life for granted. She started doing the opposite of what she was doing before, she said. She put into action, everything that her mother, a faithful Christian, had taught her throughout the years. Several years passed and she served day in and day out. She even started several programs that helped the community, such as: the drug and alcohol recovery ministry and the feeding program at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, where she was raised. Now she passionately pastors two churches: Carol City United Methodist Church and Opa-Locka United Methodist Church. Each Sunday Brookins holds a 9:30a.m. service at the Carol City church and then an 11:30a.m. service at the Opa-Locka church. "It's strictly God,"Brookins said. "It's challenging, but I believe that God equipped me for it." Brookins said many of the church members who have assisted her have been her backbone. The church's mission is to make disciples of Christ and to minister to the sick and the lost. Some of the church's top priorities are studying the word of God, ministering beyond the church walls and understanding the priority of prayer. "A christian without a prayer lifeif you don't communicate with the Father, you are in trouble," Brookins said. Gloria Murry, a member of Carol City UMC, describes Brookins as an awesome woman of God and said the church has grown because of her. "We appreciate the fact that we can approach her at anytime and let her know what is bothering us." By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com