In early 2001 Linda Otterback was scheduled for a mission trip to El Salvador. When the trip had to be cancelled, Linda received a phone call asking if she would like to go to Fleming-Neon instead. “What country is that in?” Linda asked.
Linda soon learned that Fleming-Neon is in Eastern Kentucky. She said “yes” to that mission trip, which began the Eastern Kentucky SONrise ministry that is still active today. Linda and her husband Larry poured their hearts into the Eastern Kentucky area, where they have led prayer meetings, women’s and men’s conferences, gathered much needed resources (clothing, diapers, household furniture, Christmas gifts), and led mission teams to the EKY area. They have also been such encouragers for many residents, as well as missionaries that serve in eastern Kentucky.
Larry and Linda were married 51 years, grew up in church together, and served together as North American Mission Board MSC Missionaries. Larry served in this position for 10 years until health issues forced him to step down. However, he continued to pray for eastern Kentucky and support the work of his wife Linda.
As his health allowed, Larry attended the annual Kentucky missionary retreat with Linda. One interesting memory about Larry was the Missionary Retreat of 2015 when Larry and fellow missionary Greg Whitetree had a two-lap wheelchair race around the entrance to Dupont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. As the two rounded lap one, Larry was in the lead, however Greg came back to pass Larry for the close win at the finish line. It was a lot of fun, with missionaries cheering for both of their missionary friends. That retreat proved to be Larry’s last, as his health continued to decline.
With the 2016 retreat being in Louisville, Linda was able to attend some of the sessions, while sitters helped with Larry. Linda shared a video, recorded by Larry and his pastor from Simpsonville Baptist Church, in April 2016. Larry shared about the good life he and Linda have had together, shared about their family & ministry, and basically had a chance to say “goodbye.” He shared that, even during his illness, their home had become a church for many people, as he did not let them get out without asking about their relationship with the Lord. “I’m ready,” Larry said. “My address is going to change.”
On September 30th, Larry’s address did change, as he went HOME. Thank you, Larry, for your friendship, your encouragement, and for your service. Many have been blessed through your service. We will miss you.
Please pray for Linda and the family.
To see Larry’s video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x45J7RvBtkk.