Pastor#039;s faith helps him with setbacks

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 23, 2002

In 1990, Dr. David DeFor, equipping minister of Northwest Church of Christ, returned to Austin where he was born and raised.

Like so many others who later in life return to their hometowns, DeFor has taken the long way back. By then, he had attended Minnesota Bible College, Lincoln Christian Seminary, the University of Minnesota, the University of Indiana and North American Baptist Seminary. His studies merited him a doctorate in ministry, with minors in Semitic languages, counseling and preaching.

DeFor and his wife, Donna, have raised three children, Amy, Tim and Andrea, who now are bringing up their own families.

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DeFor's greatest passion is children, and he is involved with sports. He officiates junior and senior high school in basketball, football and volleyball.

One would think that the pastor, who gives the Sunday sermons, performs weddings and funerals, does counseling and visitation within his congregation, has enough work. DeFor does not seem to think so. If he knows of someone hospitalized in Rochester, he is there. If someone happens to mention home improvement, car problems, or need of household items, if possible, he will be there to roll up his sleeves and get to work.

It's no wonder the Lord took him out of commission several times. He has had heart attacks, heart, hernia and gall bladder surgeries and a hip replacement.

"All these surgeries, and my health is excellent," DeFor said. "Health is a state of mind, sometimes. If you ask me what kind of physical condition I'm in, I'm excellent. I'm not going to let it slow me down. On the other hand, there are people who just sit around and mope about this and that."

The best thing about being laid up and recuperating is the encouragement from family and friends, DeFor said. And there is no doubt in his mind that prayers work wonders. After a double bypass surgery in 1987, a heart attack a couple of years later and then another "little incident" before two heart attacks last October, Pastor Dave had to change his habits by adding more vegetables and fruits to his diet and getting more exercise.

"The thing is, people don't realize that when you go through a traumatic physical thing, many also go through a serious, serious depression," he pointed out. "After a while, you really think through the things you value most."

He said he values his faith the most. As he said, "Who knows if you're going to live one more day?"