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The Biography of Deaconess Hannah Brown
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Posted on Mon, Feb 22, 2010
In her lifetime, Deaconess Hannah Brown had built a religious dynasty for herself within which were indomitable leadership, project management excellence, faith development, prayerfulness and purity. Several individuals who were bound by Satan’s chains benefitted from her ministry as they were unshackled in the Prayer Band of A.M.E. Zion church where Deaconess Hannah had served as a leader. The hungry and destitute received helps in her. Because she knew what it was to be a widow, in her charitable works, she spared no effort in assisting all the widows that she perceived needed help and, in addition, instilled this value in her children.
From cradle to grave, the life of Deaconess Hannah Brown was a catalogue of devotion to God, humility and providential care. Anyone, including strangers, who knew her, attest that she supremely and reverentially loved God. First and foremost, she was very principled. The fear of God was one principle which determined all of her life’s actions. It was also a scale on which she weighed all her relationships. She lived out the fear of God, taught it to her children, friends and fellow Christians; and God, liberally satisfied and copiously rewarded her with long life for it.
Deaconess Hannah Brown was born in 1912 at Ibekwe Akpan Nya to Akpan Asanga Edem and Adiaha Usen. She knew none of her parents. Both died when she was an infant. Thus, from infancy, she knew and experienced suffering and hardships that come with being an orphan. But, providentially, God raised two relatives to help her. Both jointly alleviated her sorrows. One was her maternal relative, the late Ituen Uso Ide with whom she had resided at Ikot Akpan Obong. The other was her hearty paternal kin, the late Chief John Usoro of Ibekwe Akpan Nya, without whom, and God’s grace, her life would have mattered nothing in this world.
As an orphan and a woman who lived in the primordial society, she had a double dose of disadvantage. Expectedly, it was decided that a formal education was inconsequential for her - a woman. Regardless, she was taught hard work and she mastered godliness. With it, endurance, perseverance and faith. These became very useful in shaping her life.
Meanwhile, there lived a man in Mkpat Enin village with a towering interest who was lavishly endeared to this young beautiful women of virtue and hard work. His name was Chief Udo Akpan Ekanem. He regularly traded his farm produce in the famous Ederebo Market at Ikot Akpan Obong. There, he saw the young and beautiful Hannah who, incidentally, also had to be in the market each week to sell her kinfolk’s farm produce. He was captivated by Hannah’s youthfulness and hard work, and he wasted no time in getting to know more of her through his Ikot Akpan Obong friends and fellow traders. In late 1930, or so, Chief Udo Akpan Ekanem who was already married, took Hannah as another wife.
Thereafter, Chief Udo Akpan placed his new wife – Hannah - with his senior wife so she could be taught his ways and his manner of life. Every new wife today would want to spend her honey moon with her husband, at least the first two weeks in a marriage, but Hannah humbly accepted the seeming servitude arrangement. And for several years, she dutifully and obediently lived with her husband’s senior wife until her “apprenticeship” ended. There, she learned how to serve her new husband and was assimilated into the religion, social setting and economic culture of her husband.
Sadly, late Deaconess Hannah had to share her husband with many other wives. Thus, she had very little access to her husband’s wealth. Nevertheless, her generous paternal relative - Chief John Usoro - bigheartedly showered her with farmlands, palm trees, plots and several real estate, which she developed, and without being envious of the other women, she happily moved on in her marriage. And God blessed her with four children; namely, Alice, Uwak, Eyayak and Imaobong.
Then the unexpected happened. In 1967, Chief Udo Akpan died during the Nigerian civil war. And Deaconess Hannah not only lost her husband, but assumed a “father role” for her three children (Imaobong had died before the war). In a polygamous home where she had shared a husband with many other wives whose children were already grown, Hannah had little claim to her husband’s wealth. She was left with almost nothing with which to raise her children.
Thank God for late Chief John Usoro! This man lavished her with multiplicity of material possessions; he followed up with constant home visits and consistent reassurance that all was not lost. Without him, and God’s help, Deaconess Hannah Brown would have wasted away when her husband died, and perhaps, would have been since forgotten. Chief John Usoro strengthened his daughter and provided her with formidable bridge on which she crossed from what would have been a life of near-death loneliness, regrets and hunger to a fulfilled existence sunk in hope, implicit trust in God and contentment.
All along, Deaconess Hannah Brown Ekanem had followed the religious ways of her adopted father, the late Chief John Usoro, who had set his focus on God. He single-handedly set up and equipped a building for God’s worship, earnestly teaching his family His way, particularly, the role of faith in human existence. Little wonder then, when Hannah married, faith habitually, became everything in her life too.
Prior to her husband’s death, Deaconess Hannah had purposed that all her children would be educated to make up for the educational void in her life. Thus, she refused to allow her husband’s death to distract her from or deter her determination to give her children the formal education which she hadn’t. With courage, encouragement of her paternal relative and assistance from God, before her death, Deaconess Hannah had successfully produced a crop of sufficiently literate children, including a woman (though now deceased) of acknowledged religious excellence; an astute secretary, and another, a management information analyst, as well, a president of an Integrated Christian Ministries.
In her lifetime, Deaconess Hannah Brown had built a religious dynasties for herself within which were indomitable leadership, project management excellence, faith development, prayerfulness and purity. Several individuals who were bounded by Satan’s chains benefitted from her ministry as they were unshackled in the Prayer Band of A.M.E. Zion church where Deaconess Hannah had served as a leader. The hungry and destitute received helps in her. Because she knew what it was to be a widow, in her charitable works, she spared no effort in assisting all the widows that she perceived needed help and, in addition, instilled this value in her children.
Deaconess Hannah Brown was ordained a deaconess of A.M.E. Zion Church in early 1993; she was a senior deaconess in her church district. She received honors and several awards including life membership of the Deaconess Board, Certificate of Excellence by the Youths of A.M.E. Zion Church, including a citation of leadership excellence and commitment from the District Women of Excellence of A.M.E. Zion Church.
Deaconess Hannah Brown was active in community organizing and effectively participated in all the major developmental efforts and activities of Mkpat Enin Women Association which she was a Matron.
The contributions of Deaconess Hannah Brown to humanity are inexhaustible. Every where she went, she modeled godliness, truth, prayerful assistance, and selfless counseling to those who needed them. She loved the youths and advised them passionately. She had a flair for honesty and purity – a lifestyle that everyone admired. The vacuum created by her transition to glory on December 24, 2009 will never be filled. But stop and think! Shouldn’t her bravery, selfless and adorable contributions to humanity be emulated? She transitioned to glory on December 24, 2009 after she had served God and her generation.
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