She Will Be Missed

Posted on April 7, 2008

Last night one of the key leaders of Fellowship Church graduated from this life to the next. And she has gone home to be with the Lord.

Vanessa Whitwell was a dear friend and a phenomenally talented young woman. It’s staggering to think of all the lives she touched and influenced.

As I think about Vanessa’s life, she definitely had a larger than life personality. I think about John 10:10 where Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly." Vanessa attacked life with a huge amount of offensive energy. Every moment was an adventure for her.

Over the last decade, she played a major role in the development of our worship, was an outstanding singer and actress and did so much with the children’s ministry and our women’s ministry at Fellowship. And on top of all that, she coordinated our conferences and so many leadership events for us.

Knowing Vanessa as well as I did, her heart for the hurting was definitely the thing that drove her. She truly felt a calling to be at Fellowship Church. She’s one of the few people that you come in contact with who actually lived their dream. She did what God called her to do; she lived the dream and loved every moment.

But Vanessa was more than a coworker in the ministry. Lisa and I have had the unique priviledge of having her and her husband as some of our closest friends. They have looked after our children. We’ve shared meals together. We have literally travelled the world with them. And over the years, they became like a part of our family.

It’s interesting in the ministry, because you don’t often realize how close you are to the people around you. We don’t realize how tightly connected we are until someone is gone.

These are definitely difficult days for us. But even more so, I pray for her husband, Andy, who is such a great guy and a wonderful person. These are dark days that he will have to negotiate. But we know that God will give him the strength to come through.

Vanessa will be greatly missed. One of our twin daughters said this weekend, "Dad, our church just seemed to be incomplete because Vanessa isn’t here." You know what? She’s not here anymore. But she is in heaven. She is truly living the dream of being home with Jesus.

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