News Articles

O’Brien, Reccord speak of lessons learned through pain

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–They both spoke of pain and suffering, but their messages were about faith and hope.
Last September, Dellanna O’Brien, executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union, suffered a paralyzing stroke but talked about the blessings resulting from her struggles during chapel at the North American Mission Board May 18.
She was introduced by Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, NAMB president, who has been experiencing nearly debilitating back and neck pain for more than six weeks. Both credited the Lord with providing sufficient grace.
“God stands ready to strengthen and enable each of us who will call upon his name,” said O’Brien, who was initially paralyzed on her right side, with her speech affected. “Disappointments, failures and, yes, even strokes may come to each of us. Do not be afraid. Be still. Let God work in you, fight in you, be strength in you.”
Walking carefully and with some assistance, but speaking clearly and passionately, O’Brien said the lessons learned in distress are “many and varied.” She said she decided to supplement her speech therapy by reading the Psalms aloud. “I knew the discipline would be helpful in reclaiming the reproductions of sound, but was unprepared for the powerful spiritual exercise it would be. Many verses became my catechism.”
She credited prayer support for much of what she has learned. “Patience was an answer to the overwhelming prayer support from friends and strangers alike,” O’Brien said. “What a blessing to know the prayer power poured out on my behalf.”
Wearing a neck brace and speaking to the NAMB staff as he introduced O’Brien, Reccord likewise credited the prayers of Southern Baptists with providing him the ability to endure the pain of three protruding discs which are pressing on nerves in his back. He has experienced numbness in his left arm and hand, has had only two nights rest in several weeks and has cancelled all travel, working mostly at home through telephone and e-mail.
Reccord said he had wanted to be an encouragement to O’Brien when he learned of her stroke. “Little did I know what a wonderful, marvelous encouragement and example she would be to me,” Reccord said. “We serve an amazing God. He is always there and he’s good all the time.”
O’Brien continues therapy and has announced her retirement in September unrelated to the stroke. Reccord faces the prospect of extremely delicate surgery this summer, with a doctors’ decision to be made in early June.

    About the Author

  • Martin King