I received word recently that Evangelist Del Fehsenfeld, Sr., was called Home to be with His Lord on January 7, 2006. I would like to share his obituary with you and then share a few of my memories of him with you as well.

The Rev. Del A. Fehsenfeld Sr., 93, of Greenville, went to be with his Lord on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006, in the Roger Huntington Nursing Center in Greer, after an extended illness.

Born on Aug. 29, 1912, in Troy, Mo., he was the son of the late Fred and Myrtle May Thornhill Fehsenfeld. He was a 1947 graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and had been in the Christian Ministry as an Evangelist for 70 years. Rev. Fehsenfeld and his wife had been residents of Greenville since 1965.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Rachel Elizabeth, in 1944; a son, Del Fehsenfeld Jr., in 1989; and two brothers.

Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Dorothy Wilson Fehsenfeld; two daughters and sons-in-law, Rachel and Ken Carpenter of Taylors, S.C., and Mary and Bob Dickie of Swartz Creek, Mich.; a son and daughter-in-law, John and Lynda Fehsenfeld of Greenville; a daughter-in-law, Judy Fehsenfeld Parks and husband, Bob Parks, of Kitchner, Ontario; 19 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2006, at 11 a.m. in the chapel of the Woodlawn Funeral Home, conducted by his son-in-law, the Rev. Bob Dickie. Entombment will follow in the Woodlawn Memorial Park.

His grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

The family will receive friends Wednesday morning from 10 to 11 a.m., prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Life Action Ministries, P.O. Box 31, Buchanan, MI 49107.

Woodlawn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Published in The Greenville News: 01-10-2006

Possibly without knowing it, Del was truly my grandfather in the faith. He mentored the pastor who mentored me as a young preacher boy preparing to serve the church and her Lord. He poured his life into Dr. Larry Gilliam, who then did the same for me. During those years in high school, after I had surrendered to a call to preach at age 14, it was Dr. Gilliam who took me and taught me how to have a shepherds heart, how to preach the gospel, and how to pray! He taught me how to listen and counsel and lead.

While in high school, I got to meet Del, Sr. when Dr. Gilliam had him come and preach a chapel service for us at school. I knew Del’s son, John. He taught me several classes in the tenth grade. I knew Del’s grandson, John’s son, Scott, who was a few grades below me at the school and would often go with me when I went to preach at nursing homes or youth Bible studies and revivals. (Isn’t today your birthday, Scott? If I have remembered right and it is, HAPPY BIRTHDAY.If not, HAPPY BIRTHDAY whenever it is!) It is always interesting to me to have personal connections to people I hear preach – and this was no exception. I knew who Del, Sr. was by reputation having heard about him from Dr. Gilliam, John, and Scott. So I was exicted to hear him preach.

I want to tell you, I do not know many men who can preach the gospel like Del, Sr. He knew Jesus. He loved Jesus. He lived for Jesus. And it showed. You could hear it in his voice and see it in his face. Beside his all consuming love for Jesus Christ, I had never heard a preacher call out people in the congregation who were talking and passing notes, being disrespectful during his sermon. The “victims” were a couple of junior highschool age girls. Giggling in the back row during chapel.

Del, Sr. stopped. He called to them. And he rebuked them! And I will never forget the words he said. With tears in his eyes he said to them, “You may mock me and make fun of me. I am just a preacher, just a man. But you will not sit there and mock my precious Lord and Savior by refusing to listen to His Words. And you will not mock my God by causing those around you to not be able to hear His Words. These are HIS WORDS and you need to hear what Jesus has to say to you!”

No more giggling!!

What a view of Scripture and the heavy responsibility to preach the Word of God. What an impression that made on me as a teenager who had already started preaching myself. I have never viewed the duty to preach the same since that day. And it was not just this rebuke. His sermon was magnifiscent. He glorified God and he lifted up Jesus Christ. And people were saved. He preached Christ and it was obvious, this was not just theology to him. It was a relationship. He preached about One he knew! And he had a burning passion to introduce others to His love and grace.

Del, Sr. also impacted my life through the ministry of his son. Revivalist Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., was used of God in a mighty way in my life during my senior year of high school. Del, Jr. was the founder of Life Action Ministries. They came to preach a revival, a REAL revival, not an evangelistic meeting – a get right with God old fashioned revival. My home church hosted Life Action and what was to be a 2 week crusade in October of 1988 was extended and ran every night for 6 weeks. It was the crusade at Birchman Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. The church I was born in, born again in, called to preach in, and ordained the ministry in! And God met with us.

People were broken, sin habits crushed, marriages restored. I myself came face to face with two realities. One, during a sermon on the sin of Achan, I was confronted by the Holy Spirit with the conviction of sin like I had never sensed before. I was stealing God’s glory. The things He was doing through me I took the credit for, as if “my” ministry was a product of my talent and schooling! God smote me with the reality that all the glory belongs to Him. Secondly, I was shown what true and genuine revival is. And it became a burning in my bones, just like preaching the Word. In fact, I was so moved and impacted by the ministry of Life Action that I majored in evangelism in Bible College with plans to start a revival ministry when I graduated. God had other plans and put me in the pastorate, but I still have a heart for true revival in the church.

Del, Jr. introduced me to Leonard Ravenhill. Another man that was used greatly of God in my life and still is through his books and tapes though he went to be with the Lord years ago himself. I also met Revivalist Bill McCleod and others.

Del, Jr. was called to be with the Lord about a year after that revival. I was in my freshman year at The Criswell Bible College when we received news that on November 21, 1989, God called Del, Jr. home to heaven. We prayed for the Fehsenfeld family, for Del, Jr’s wife Judy. For his kids. For John and his family and for Del, Sr. and Dorothy. But the whole family knew the truth. They lived what Del Sr and Jr preached. Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and even though we die, we will live with Him forever! Imagine the reunion that took place before the Throne as these two faithful ministers, father and son, bowed in worship together before the Father and His Son, in the Everlasting Presence of the Holy Spirit!

Life Action was such a part of my life that though they never took me on their crusade team, I did send several good friends their way. Brian Hedges went to Life Action after I introduced him to them – and he met his wife there. I still like taking the credit for that one! And a number of other friends served with the teams around the US for the cause of revival.

From one man’s love of the Lord and faithfulness in service to Him, all this happened! God gets the glory of course. Del, Sr. never wanted the glory. He knew it belonged to Christ alone.

I was able to coorespond by email with Del, Sr., for years in my early ministry until his health made it difficult to keep in touch. He did still send an annual Thanksgiving Card and Christmas cards, complete with gospel tracts to hand out. He sent messages and tapes and books. He served God as long as he had breath, and he finished faithfully!! Yes, he finished the course, he kept the faith, and he stepped into glory as a continuing example of what it means to be a minister of the gospel and a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has shown us that in this day of compromise and confusion, God can take a sinful man out of an unholy world, make him holy, put him back in that unholy world, and turn it upside down! God can use us to make a difference for eternity in lives and families and churches.

I will miss hearing from him, but know he is with Jesus! I will see him someday soon. And while I miss him I will never forget what he taught me about serving God. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever stop loving the sheep. Don’t ever stop calling people to come to Jesus. Don’t ever fail to bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you. Don’t ever hold back in your preaching, praying, giving, or living! And God is always faithful, even to the end.

It is amazing to me that one man, when yielded to the Lord Jesus, can make such an impact. And this is just in my life and ministry! Imagine the countless lives saved, families changed, and churches blessed by this man and his willingness to go wherever Christ sent and pay whatever price necessary to preach the gospel!

Jesus tells us that some in the Kingdom bear 30 fold fruit, some 60, and some 100. Del, Sr. went to heaven heavy laden with fruit. To what end? To throw at the feet of Jesus in worship!!

Pray for Del’s family, especially his wife of 62 years, Dorothy. Pray for his family. I will always remember John and his family, and Scott and his family. The whole Fehsendfeld family has been a faithful example to me of service to God and others. I want to follow Del just like he followed Jesus. God help me be half the minister and half the man that he was. Help me to know You like he did and DOES!

I recall Psalm 21:1-7 to close this remembrance. In this Psalm David is telling of the benefits he has received from knowing and walking with God. These verses apply to Del, Sr., so listen to the Word of God:

The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head. He asked life from You, and You gave it to him — Length of days forever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation; Honor and majesty You have placed upon him. For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.

Our Father, we thank you today once again for the life and ministry of Del Fehsenfeld. We give you the glory for all that You accomplished through him. And we pray for those even yet to be touched by his legacy, those even still who need to come to Jesus and repent of their sins and place their faith in the Savior. Please comfort Mrs. Fehsenfeld, and the family. Give them grace upon grace. And peace that passes all understanding. Help us pick up where Del has left off. He has finished his course faithfully. Give us grace to take that gospel baton and run the course, steady and straight, bringing people to Jesus for Your Glory alone. Amen and Amen.