That’s Killian Washington on the right side of both photos above. We met in 2011 through Greenhouse Ministries housing program for men. Killian passed away in December due to complications of diabetes. What developed during the intervening years paints an ideal picture of life on life disciple making. Here’s the story.
“I was ‘blown here’ by Hurricane Katrina,” Killian teased. That’s how he introduced himself when we met. He had a great sense of humor.
In 2005 Killian and several other victims of Katrina boarded a plane bound for New Orleans. They were being relocated to Houston. During the flight, however, an announcement came over the intercom informing the passengers of a new destination. Their plane was redirected to Nashville. Middle Tennessee would be their new home.
Killian lived in Nashville for a few years. Circumstances eventually brought him to Murfreesboro where he was given “free accomodations” courtesy of the Rutherford County Department of Corrections. After being released, a pivotal change occurred when he entered a program for homeless men sponsored by Greenhouse Ministries.
Men involved in this program were encouraged to attend weekly discipleship studies offered by the Greenhouse partnership with The Timothy Network. This is where our relationship with Killian began.
From the very start, Killian was thoroughly engaged in those weekly studies and conversations. He had stories about life on the streets of New Orleans, including a few especially “entertaining” tales about his participation in Mardi Gras. Quoting from a Timothy Network video testimonial in 2015, Killian said, “You should have known me before I came here; it was a life of debauchery.”
Killian eventually made a decision to follow Christ and was baptized. He began attending a Sunday morning class at our church, there connecting with Ben Bohannon and Ryan Florida, guys active with The Timothy Network. Both showed interest in Killian and encouraged his new walk with Christ.
Ben picks up the story below.
Killian was a special guy with a remarkable life story. He would often say “Half the people I grew up with are doctors and lawyers and the other half are dead or in jail.” From humble roots as the apprenticed son of a New Orleans mason to being recruited by a prestigious private school, Killian experienced life on “both sides of the tracks.”
Hurricane Katrina had a drastic impact on Killian’s life. It uprooted what would be considered a comfortable and prosperous lifestyle. Despite the disruptions, Killian made the most of his circumstances and began a life in Tennessee. I grew to know him well during that time. I think he would agree the losses experienced in New Orleans proved to work together for his good. (Rom. 8:28) Despite continued declines in health, I observed Killian to be faithful to his responsibilities and faithful to God.
Killian was a true friend. He brought joy with him wherever he went and especially to our children. He was “Santa Killian” one year when our first born Hanna-Grace was just old enough to begin understanding Christmas. Lander and Boaz rushed to see Killian anytime he came over because he was always fun to play with. He worked hard and played hard, and we grew to love him dearly. It is so very special to our family that our baby twins were born on his birthday.
Many tears were shed for our brother in Christ, but we are grateful for the many years he had with our family.
Killian would often say, “God must still have me here for a reason…” If it was for no other reason than the impact he had on me and my family, that would be reason enough. B.B.
If anybody can claim busy lives it would be Ben and his wife, Katie-Lynn. They have six children and Ben is employed as an electrical engineer. Even so, they invited Killian Washington into their lives. It started with a simple meal in their home. That invitation began a close and lasting relationship. Ben continued investing to help him grow as a disciple of Jesus and Katie-Lynn and the Bohannon children showed him love. He became a regular visitor in their home. Ben flew to New Orleans to take part in his funeral service when Killian died last month.
I hope you get the point. Effective disciple making takes place in the context of purposeful relationships. Our busy, walled-off culture can hinder the process but with prayer and focused effort you’ll find life on life disciple making a rich and very rewarding experience. Just ask the Bohannons.