One life can make a difference for numerous lives around the world. In many ways, Rachel DeLille was like a lot of people. She loved horseback riding and skiing, and she enjoyed singing worship songs and writing in her journal. But it’s the unique distinctives of Rachel’s life that will continue to resonate among many people at Dallas Theological Seminary and around the world. Rachel was the first of Bob (MABS, 2019) and Carrie DeLille’s nine adopted children. She was born with infant-onset myotonic muscular dystrophy, which challenges muscle and cognitive development. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing athletics or graduating from high school. And it didn’t hinder her love for Jesus, which she shared with everyone around her. Bob and Carrie knew their daughter to be both courageous and childlike, in her life and in her faith in Jesus. In one of her journals, she wrote, “God is always right there beside me. He will never leave me.”
Rachel went to be with her Lord on August 19, 2021, at age twenty-seven. To honor her desire that everyone would know the same joy she’d found in Jesus, Bob and Carrie have created the Rachel M. DeLille Endowed Chair for Missiology and Intercultural Ministries and the Rachel M. DeLille Scholarship. This is the first fully endowed department chair in the history of DTS. Endowed chairs not only relieve the financial pressures from the annual budget but also guarantee continuity in their funded professorships. The Rachel M. DeLille Endowed Chair will fund the leadership of the Missiology and Intercultural Ministries department in perpetuity, reinforcing the seminary’s commitment to sending the next generation of Christian leaders into the mission field.
Dr. Brian Bain is newly appointed to the Rachel M. DeLille Endowed Chair. He joined DTS in 2016, bringing a deep background of international church planting and theological education to the Missiology and Intercultural Studies department. Brian has served in Europe, Asia, and Africa, including at North East Africa Theological Seminary in South Sudan. In the classroom at DTS, he integrates practical fieldwork and academic rigor with an interactive, dialogue-oriented teaching style. Speaking about the department, Brian says, “Our focus is on being a highly effective missionary training center. Our desire is to graduate students who are equipped to make disciples and start churches, both internationally and here in North America. We believe Jesus is the answer the world is looking for, and we want to help make the introduction.”
In addition to the endowed chair, DTS established the Rachel M. DeLille Scholarship. This scholarship will help “train and send ensuing generations of missionaries by equipping them with biblical truth through a preparatory and comprehensive education and will help its recipients with tuition payments for their education at Dallas Theological Seminary.” Currently, DTS graduates serve with more than 270 mission organizations and in 74 countries. Both the endowed chair and the scholarship celebrate and support this global outreach. Dr. Mark Yarbrough, president of DTS, says, “God’s heart for the nations is integral to the story of Scripture. Dallas Theological Seminary and the DeLille family’s ministry share that same heartbeat. DTS is humbled and blessed to partner with the DeLilles to train the next generation of missions-minded disciple-makers.”
The example of Rachel DeLille and her missions-focused family is a testimony to how important one life can be in the building of God’s kingdom around the world.
About the Contributors
Abby Wills grew up in Dallas, Texas, and graduated with her BA from Baylor University in 2018. She earned a master’s from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2019. She has been with DTS Advancement since 2019 and is honored to serve as the mid-level donor officer.
Neil R. Coulter served as an ethnomusicology and arts consultant for twelve years in Papua New Guinea, with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He is now senior writer and editor at DTS. He and his wife, Joyce, have three sons.