In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Dennis Meilstrup, 1943-2023

Dennis Meilstrup, 1943-2023
IMB Photo

Dennis Meilstrup, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Argentina, died April 24, 2023. He was 80.

Dennis was born February 25, 1943, in South Bend, Indiana, to the late Henry Elmer and Nina Lucille Crouse Meilstrup. He graduated from Maynard Evans High School, Orlando, Florida, and received a Bachelor of Music Education from Mississippi College, Clinton, Mississippi, and a Master of Church Music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

“During my first years of college the Lord led me to feel dissatisfied with the engineering profession and to realize that He wanted me in the ministry,” Dennis wrote while seeking appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). “One morning while singing a solo in the early service at First Baptist Church, Fernandina Beach, I became especially aware of the Lord’s power in my life. After praying for most of the Sunday School hour and talking with the pastor and minister of music, I made a public decision to go into full-time Christian service.”

While in seminary he married Sherrie Walker, whose father was pastor at Flora Baptist Church, where he served as minister of music and youth during his senior year at Mississippi College. After graduation he served in various ministry positions. They married in 1969. In 1982 the family felt called to international missions, serving as volunteer missionaries in Zimbabwe.

“To me, the call to missions is a continuation of the commitment which I made in 1964, when I surrendered to the ministry,” he said in his testimony seeking appointment. “At that time, I said I would go wherever God leads. He has shown us that whether He leads to churches in the United States or to foreign mission fields, our most effective and rewarding ministry is accomplished as we follow Him.”

In 1985, the Foreign Mission Board appointed Dennis and Sherrie missionaries to Argentina, where they served 22 years. His son, Deron, and daughter in law, Mary Beth, currently serve as IMB missionaries in South Africa.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sherrie; children, Duane S. Meilstrup (Jennifer), Devin J. Meilstrup (Jamie), Deron K. Meilstrup (Mary Beth); nine grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.

A funeral service was held April 26, at Riverwood Family Funeral Services in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.