Last night I was going through the Media Archives of our church and found a video of one of my mentors in the faith, Pastor Odessa Copeland. To be honest Pastor Odessa was more than just a mentor, she was a second mother to me. She taught more than I can even put into words and challenged me to be a better minister of the gospel every chance she got.
I remember when I first met Pastor Odessa in 2003. We were at a Flea Market in Red Springs, NC. She happened to have a shop where she sold antiques. My mother introduced us and she greeted me with a smile and a hug as she sat in her chair. Then she kind of paused and looked at me and then proceeded to say something unexpected, “you’re called to preach and it’s time for you to get started”. Then she goes on to say “You’re coming to speak at my church in August so get ready”. Nervous and shocked, I reluctantly agreed.
Just as she said, I started preaching that August and quickly learned that teaching God’s word was the very thing I was created to do (I had no idea I was called to Pastor, but that wouldn't happen for another seven years). Pastor Odessa continued to nurture my gifts and taught me in depth about the importance of the fruit of the spirit being evident in both my character and my ministry. She and her husband, Bishop Copeland; gave of their personal time to guide me in the understanding of scripture and the value of operating in the Kingdom.
In February of 2015, Pastor Odessa left this side of Heaven to rest in the Lord. After watching the video I realized just how anointed, wise, and sensitive to the spirit she was. At the time, I failed to realize in totality just how blessed I was to be in her presence nor did I know how vital her teachings were. I am grateful for the time I did have with her and the many lessons she shared with me. It is because of her ability to be used by God that our church exists today. Words can’t express how blessed I feel to have been able to sit at the feet of such an influential woman. Thank you Pastor Odessa for your love, lessons, and deeds! They will never be forgotten and may the seeds that you’ve sown in my life never wither away.
I love you Pastor Odessa!