Pastor's wife: 'Go, go and be'


Some of Jesus’ last words were “Go, go, and be.”

“Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Mark 16:15.
“Be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” Acts 1:8.

I met an embodiment of those words at Horsecave Baptist Church a few weeks ago.

Mrs. Dorsie Phillips made her way down the center aisle in turquoise and white. Her white hair was perfectly done. What got my attention was her smile and her necklace. It was big, chunky, and fabulous. She certainly knew how to accessorize. Someone introduced us, telling me she had been a missionary years ago. I was immediately smitten.

The service was about to start. I only had a few minutes so quickly asked Mrs. Dorsie as many questions as I could. My family says I do that a lot. In my defense, how am I supposed to know things if I don’t ask?

Now 93, she had served as a missionary with her husband, Marshall, in the 1960s. They spent several years in Nairobi, Kenya. I was thrilled to connect with her. I have been on two mission trips to Nairobi with World Hope. We also have a team from our church going there this summer.

Due to a grave health problem of one of her children back then, the Mission Board insisted that they return to the United States.

As she spoke, I could see her pondering those difficult days. It had been an unexpected turn of events. Even though they had returned to the US, their life of ministry was not over. Mrs. Dorsie told me she and her husband served at Cedarmore (Crossings) for years. We both were talking at once. I still had more to ask but church was getting started. I turned around as the service began, still soaking up her words.

My beloved and I were visiting that Sunday. We had come to hear our dear friend and mentor, Dan Garland, who is serving as interim pastor at Horsecave. I cherish each opportunity to hear Dan preach. From Hebrews 12, he shared good words for grads and the rest of us. (I made notes all over the margins of my Bible.)

After the service, I asked Mrs. Dorsie to sign my Bible. She was quite surprised. My beloved and I have a heart for veterans. When we see someone wearing a military hat, we thank them for their service. I felt the same about this lovely missionary from decades ago. “Thank you for your service,” I gushed, hugged her tight, and asked her to take a selfie.

Ninety-three and a beautiful example of still serving her Lord, Mrs. Dorsie was an unexpected blessing. I love it when God puts puzzle pieces together.

With a faraway look, she spoke in a soft voice, “I sometimes wonder if our work made a difference.” That is probably a common pondering among missionaries when they look back. Results are not always measurable. We are planting, someone else is watering, and God, of course, is giving the increase.

When my beloved and I surrendered to the Lord in 2006, we thought we would be going to feed poor people in Africa. (Wasn’t that where all missionaries went?) Instead, God sent us 30 minutes up the road to help feed poor people in Pike County. Now we serve in Floyd County. We are called to be “on mission” wherever we are. Kentucky, Africa…or somewhere else. Where is your mission field?


Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at