May Newsletter, 2014 Rick McPherson
It was a large group of friends and family that gathered on a Saturday morning in April at the old Prairie Church in Vancouver, to remember and honor the life and ministry of Darrell Kennedy. Tears and laughter blended together. The classic hymns were sung. Prayers and sermons were given. Memories were shared. It was a meaningful and significant time as we all recalled the blessings of knowing Darrell. He impacted so many people from so many walks of life.
The service featured several videos showing Darrell leading worship and singing. One included him playing the piano and singing the beautiful, “I Want to See Jesus.” Now, the words of that song have become a reality.
Darrell had a wonderful history in Gospel music. He travelled for years with The Challengers and many people recall him and the quartet sharing the stage with groups like; The Blackwood Brothers, The Happy Goodmans, The Spear Family and The Oak Ridge Boys.
Darrell was the General Manager for radio station, KPDQ in Portland and hosted the popular, “Gospel Sing” on Saturday nights. His rich baritone voice was his trademark and in the industry was envied for those golden, “pipes.” After many years in radio ministry, Darrell joined the Frontier Missions team and served as the President and CEO for over ten years before his retirement in 2008. During those years, “helping Native Americans, both physically and spiritually,” Darrell organized and directed multiple outreach trips and “crusades,” to the Reservations across the country.
A major part of Darrell’s legacy is his wife Naomi, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I clearly recall a conversation with Darrell when he said that all of his family were serving the Lord! What a heritage!
During the memorial service, I couldn’t help but recall my personal story with Darrell. Although I didn’t know him long, he impacted my life greatly. In fact, God used Darrell in a very special way. If it wasn’t for Darrell, I wouldn’t be doing the work that I’m doing now. You see, he called me one day when I was selling Corvettes and Muscle Cars, for The Chevy Store in Portland and asked me if I would be available to speak at a couple of camps that the Mission was doing for the Nez Perce Reservation. I had left the pastorate after a 35 year ministerial career and was seeking the Lord for “the next step.” Darrell invited me. I said, “Yes.” The next thing I knew, I was preaching under a tent in Idaho and the temperature was 107*. When I look back, I see how God’s hand directed both Darrell and me. It was a wonderful friendship.
Now, Darrell’s work is done. He has been promoted to his eternal home. The Bible says, “… absent from the body, present with the Lord…” And even though we will miss Darrell a lot, we are promised, “… a hope that lies within us…” There is coming a great Resurrection morning when we will be united with the Lord and reunited with loved ones who have gone before us. So, until that time… “Good night, Darrell, see you in the morning!”