In a lifetime, if you meet a true friend, then you can consider yourself blessed. Well, I am blessed because I have met several people who made a difference in my life. When I became the Pastor of South Elm Street Baptist I became the Pastor for Mrs. Ferle Hensley. She cared for her husband and stayed by his side until his death. After his death, Ferle started helping us each week in the church office preparing the newsletter for mailing. Somewhere along the line she was joined by the most wonderful lady, Marna Marshall. Even after Ferle’s passing away, Marna kept coming each week without fail and she did the work both ladies had done. In fact, Marna came just days before she became ill. Last week Marna went home to be with the Lord and we will never be the same without her.
Marna was a small woman in physical stature, yet she was big when it came to living life. She was a “to the point” type of person. Marna was genuine in her love for others and her ability to have and be a friend. Through the years, I came to love Marna. She was a Pastor’s friend, always supporting and encouraging me. She had words of wisdom for many situations. Marna was a prayer partner for me as her Pastor. More than once, she told me how much I meant to her and how I had become like a father. She told me that I was everything she ever wanted in a father. The relationship with my family ministered to Marna in such a powerful way. She often told me of praying for my whole family. Marna was positive, personal, loving, caring, a student of the Bible, a servant growing in her faith. She was the best of friends because she could encourage, challenge, scold and instruct as well as question in a way that made you love and respect her.
I will miss Marna coming in with her wit and humor, comments and questions. I will miss her telling me every week how much she loved me and prayed for me. I will miss her honesty and matter of fact persona. But there is great news! Because of her faith in Christ and my faith in Christ, I will see her again. How blessed I have been to have two great friends in Ferle Hensley and Marna Marshall. I wish you all could have known them the way I experienced them.
Colossians 3:12-14 says, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."