Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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By on October 11, 2016

I kissed Jeannie when she awoke from her nap… and her water broke. That’s really the way it happened! But I don’t think it was my kiss (well…maybe, a little). IT WAS TIME FOR THAT BABY TO BE BORN! This young seminary pastor and his wife hurried to the car, drove as fast as we could to the Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas, and soon found ourselves waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Believe me, I even tried a few more kisses to no avail.

After what seemed an eternity, Jeannie was wheeled from the room and I was escorted to another. Back then they didn’t let the dads participate in the delivery…so I joined some nervous first-timers like myself, and a few other veterans who thumbed through old magazines and smiled knowingly at “the kid.” One at a time, nurses came to call the happy fathers back to join their wives and newborns until I was the only one left in the room. Little did I know that I was witnessing a behavioral characteristic that attends that child until today.

Then…it happened! The door opened and in walked a smiling nurse with the announcement that I was the proud father of a seven-pound, thirteen-ounce, twenty-one inch bundle of feminine grace and beauty! “Finally!” I shouted, “Our baby is here!” And boy was she ever! (By the way, that cute little girl and her husband are now the proud parents of eight (count‘em) children of their own).

Well…,it’s time for us to shout “FINALLY!” once again. But this baby has been quite a while in the making. Back in 2005, when Jeannie was first diagnosed with cancer, we asked the Lord how to deal with that “unwanted gift.” God graciously opened His word to us, again and again throughout that years, He enabled us to understand that the well of His grace was bottomless.

So, together, Jeannie and I began to talk about the “unwanted gift” as a book project. Over the next years we talked and the project simmered…until her cancer returned…and returned again. By the last occurrence the project had been buried out of sight…until three weeks before Jeannie entered heaven. “I think you need to finish that book,” said Jeannie. She knew, I think, that it would be good therapy for me should she indeed graduate to glory.

Finally! The project is complete and available for you! And Jeannie was right! This has been good therapy for me…and I believe it will be good medicine for you!

Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff
2 Tim 1:12



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