Friday, September 12, 2008

Dellanna O'Brien

On Wednesday morning I attended the memorial service for Dellanna O’Brien. Those familiar with the Baptist mission world would know her for her roles as missionary to Indonesia, a vital resource in the strengthening of missionary children’s education, her season as Executive Director/Treasurer of the WMU, and a valued voice in the Baptist World Alliance. It was impressive to see faces representing each of these roles as a part of her memorial service. I am thankful for who Dellanna was as a leader in Baptist missions. Her service to God touched the lives of many. But, I must confess that the reason I made the trip from Oklahoma City to Frisco, Texas had much less to do with her role as a leader than the role she played as my friend. I imagine that probably many gathered at Preston Trails Church could say the same. You see, when you were engaged in a conversation with Dellanna she managed to make you feel like you were the most important person in the world she could be speaking with at that moment. It made you glad for every moment you claimed with her. I am sure that many others gathered on Wednesday morning would join my declaration that she gave me the gift of her encouragement. It emboldened me in my service to God and others. The relationship I shared with Dellanna and Bill allowed me to witness her strength even when her body was weakened; her zest for living even after her steps had been slowed; and the power of her faith even when things were difficult. Baptist have lost a leader in missions. I have lost a valued friend. But the story for the day is not what is lost but is joy. I join the celebration of a life well lived and the sure knowledge that she enjoys the joy of the presence of God and has heard the voice of God pronounce; “well done my good and faithful servant.”

With appreciation. Tom O

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