A Tribute to Mrs. Elma Lee Spence

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Note: Mrs. Elma Lee Spence went to be with the Lord early in the morning of May 5, 2017, after a brief illness. Her name has not been changed.


Rev. 14:13, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

I first met Mrs. Spence when her husband, Paul, was called to be pastor of Greeenbottom Baptist Church around 1965. She was just like another aunt or mother to all of us, and I don’t remember anyone who didn’t like her.

Time and changes go hand in hand, and eventually, she and Paul went on to another place but I never did, and never will forget either one of them. Paul asked me to preach at his church on occasion and I will always remember the smiling looks from him and Elma Lee. You could tell they had been praying, as I could feel the effects of their prayers.

Moving forward for several years, we again had the opportunity to renew our acquaintances. Still, even after 20 years or so, both she and Paul were gracious and welcomed me like a long-lost son. Anybody who could meet Elma Lee and not feel loved—something had to be wrong!

The last time I saw them together was in fall, or winter, 2007, shortly before Paul went to meet his Savior face to face. They were together in their home, at the time, and one of them asked me to pray. I confess I didn’t feel adequate to do this: Paul and Elma Lee had touched so many people with the love of Jesus Christ that I didn’t feel worthy to mop their floor. Yet, they prevailed, and as I recall, all three of us went away with a feeling of closeness that was real, and yet couldn’t be explained. Christians understand this, even if we don’t have the words for it.

Even after Paul went to Heaven, Elma Lee still cared for those she knew and kept on praying for me. She told me herself about this, and it was confirmed from another source (whom I know would prefer to be in the background). This always brought tears to my eyes, as I rejoiced in the knowledge but admittedly wished I could do a better job for the Lord in my own ministry. No matter: Elma Lee always believed in me, and many others, and I owe much of whatever success I have to those who were and are behind me in prayer.

But now her journey is over, and she will rest from her labors and rejoice in the presence of so many other saints of God, including her husband and many friends—not to mention our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ Himself. She was a true friend, a genuine partner in the Gospel, and someone we will all miss greatly. Even so, one day when the last trumpet sounds and we are gathered home, you can be assured “Miss Elma” will be one of the first to greet us!

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