The news of my old college friend, Densel B’s, accident and subsequent death hit me hard. Memories of him came like a flood to my mind. The smile that lighted up his face and illuminated all those near him. His honest and sincere eyes that gave people confidence in him. His easy manner that made others feel safe around him. And, his kindness to all that made him precious to anyone who met him.
I observed while people posted pictures of themselves next to Densel. They did it with pride and a desire to say, “I knew Densel B. and he touched my life.” The tributes to him on his Facebook page show how much one man can move thousands of people, one person at a time. Stephen K. wrote, “If you want a lesson on how to be a good pastor, or really just an amazing Christ-follower in general…just go over to Densel B’s Facebook wall and see all the amazing things people have said about his ministry and what he did and how he helped.” The following are excerpts from posts on Densel’s wall.
“Densel was my beloved pastor. He faithfully planted God’s word in my heart and lived it out daily.” (Fran F.)
He was a true and kind servant of God, and “one of the most caring pastors I have ever met.” (Johnathon R. )
It would be hard to find “a more enthusiastic, on-fire-non-stop man of God.” (Jessica K.)
“He changed my thinking … and taught me how to become a better man of God.” (Ig G.)
He “helped me to see that not all Christians are hypocrites.” (Sarah T.)
“I never felt accepted in a church until I met” Densel and our church family. (Autumn T.) Pastor D. was “truly an example of what it means to love God and love others.” (Sheralyn S.)
Allison G. recalled meeting with Pastor D when he asked, “Have I done enough?” “The outpouring of prayers, love, and support from all across the country and beyond is proof that Densel B. did more than enough,” she said.
He was known as an encourager. “Densel had such a happy, energetic spirit. He always wore a smile and had a word of encouragement for everyone.” (Charlotte F.)
“His messages always impacted me and encouraged me so much.” (Daniel H.)
“He made an impact on every person that crossed his path.” (Laura R.)
Jennifer M. summed up how Pastor D. was perceived by all who came into contact with him, he was not only a great pastor, but also a great man.
Densel touched the lives of his co-workers. He was “truly a pleasure to work with and one of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life.” (Tami D.)
“The world lost a wonderful man. He exuded kindness, compassion and love. I had the pleasure of working with him at D for a few years. Besides family, He was the only person that I cared to talk to on the day my grandmother passed. He was so comforting and loving.” (Carla E.)
“Although we didn’t work closely together we would exchange pleasantries in the hallway when we saw each other, but when my child was diagnosed with leukemia, our relationship changed. I vividly remember coming back to work after that. Densel stopped me in the middle of the hallway and asked how I was, how K was, and how my family was. Then, right there, he grabbed my hands and started to pray. I was a bit startled, but that happened time and time again and became something I looked forward to each day.” (Cory S)
“I met Densel at work. No matter how stressful it was, he was always smiling and thinking positively. I’ll be forever grateful to him for sharing a little bit of his life, his kindness, and demonstrating how to take care of others.” (Zach R.)
Densel and I “worked together for a couple of years at D. After I transferred to another office, I found myself struggling. Densel prayed with me. This meant more to me than I can describe. He was so selfless and warming.” (Jonathan G.)
John S. “worked with Densel 10 years ago at W… Bank and stayed in touch over the years.” He stated that Densel’s life weaved a beautiful tapestry for all to see and as a result he will be greatly missed.
Finally, Mary C. felt like Densel would be overwhelmed and grateful for all the outpouring of love, but he would say, “Let’s pray for others,” and ask, “how are you doing.” A more “genuine and caring man” I don’t believe I will ever meet.
Densel “was a great friend, a friend like so many of us will never know. When we met, he would greet me with an embrace and put a ‘holy kiss’ on the side of my face. It never bothered me. Rather, it made me feel valued. God became more genuine to me because of the life Densel lived.” (Bob W.)
“He never failed to say he loved me at least once in every conversation. He expressed interest in my family and me, and always closed our time with ‘How can I pray for you?’” (John L.)
“Before ending our phone call or parting from each other’s presence, he prayed for the specific situation that concerned us.” (John F.)
“To this day, I think of him when I pray with others. My friends and I used to say, ‘let’s pull a Densel,’ and we stopped all conversation and prayed with people.” (Anna K.)
“I am beyond blessed to have called him friend. Thank you, Densel, for living out your faith, loving with abandon, and showing me what a true Christ follower looks like.” (Michelle L.)
“I am grieving deeply the loss of a friend. A man of God. A Christ follower. A relentless giver. Although our friendship was brief, I have met few people who have impacted my faith to the degree that Densel did. I was privileged to share fellowship and prayer with a man of character and caliber. He had unrelenting integrity and passion for God’s mission.” (Reid H.)
“There is a big family that will miss a great man. Densel B. loved everyone He was a great son, brother, husband, and father.” (Casey H.)
Before he passed, his parents spoke by phone to him. He was unable to respond, but it brought them comfort.
His brother, Frank, sat by his side and wrote of a “dear precious brother.” He saw a face reflecting the glory of God as Densel took his last breath.
Densel’s son, Ty, left this tribute to his father, “I thank God for the time I was allowed to spend with the best dad in the entire world. I treasure every moment. Dad was the funniest, kindest, most handsome father ever. I loved him so much. I loved it when he called me ‘champ’. It is such an honor to be named for him, Densel III. Wow, I’ve got some big shoes to fill! I thank my dad for teaching me how to live a godly life.”
His informally adopted little sister commented, “The tears will not stop flowing! He was a wonderful brother to me (even though not by blood) and I am so thankful to have had him in my life! He was a true, blue friend…through thick and thin and Dad and Mom and I loved him as much as if he was ‘blood’!” (Shelly P.)
Space does not allow me to include tales of him mentoring and guiding others, his leadership skills, and his involvement in helping save children from sex slavery around the world. He humbly called himself a “West Virginia hillbilly,” and loved the Mountaineers. But, we all know that he was so much more. He was a difference maker.
I do not know who to credit for the “Do a Densel” campaign, but I want to pass the challenge on to you.