In 1907 missionary Jesse Brand, young and unmarried, left for India, settling in the disease-ridden Ghat Mountains. His friends shuddered at his descriptions of flea-covered rats swarming through the hills and spreading plagues with abandon. But one supporter longed to join him—Evelyn Harris, belle of a fashionable London suburb. She journeyed to India and married him in 1913.
The Brands labored tirelessly, giving medical aid to thousands. Jesse organized economic assistance and cooperative programs so farmers could get ahead. He negotiated with government officials to use unemployed workers for labor. He took every opportunity to share Christ, in one year preaching 4,000 times in 90 villages. Churches were established. Congregations grew.
And so did the Brand family. Son Paul was born and taught by his mother under a tamarind tree. His nature-loving dad showed him the wonders of nature. At age nine Paul was sent to England for formal education, and his parents pressed on alone.
In the spring of 1928 Jesse contracted blackwater fever. His condition worsened, but he continued working. In early June, his fever reached 104. On June 9, he preached from Isaiah 60: Stand up! Shine! Your new day is dawning. On June 11, 1928 his temperature reached 106 and he was forced to bed. Evelyn sat by him day after day, watching his skin parch, his color yellow, and his life drain away. Local Indians wrapped his body in a mat and carried it on their shoulders to a hillside grave.
Word was flashed to 14-year-old Paul. Two days later Paul received a letter from his dad, mailed by boat before his death. It ended: … and always be looking to God with thankfulness and worship for having placed you in such a delightful corner of the universe as the planet Earth. Evelyn remained in India, becoming a legend hiking over the mountains with her walking stick, doing the Lord’s work. “Granny Brand” lived to see her son, Dr. Paul Brand, become a famed missionary physician excelling in the treatment of leprosy.
Stand up! Shine! Your new day is dawning. The glory of the Lord shines brightly on you. The earth and its people are covered with darkness, But the glory of the Lord is shining upon you. Nations and kings will come to the light Of your dawning day. (Isaiah 60:1-3)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). June 11.