How do you live a long life? I guess you would have to ask Odessa John.

Odessa just turned 102 on her recent birthday in Wichita, Kansas.

Odessa may be our oldest CRF donor. She likes to help children and drill water wells through CRF. I first got to know Odessa on her 100th birthday. In the beginning, Odessa seemed like a mom to me since mine was no longer alive. But it didn’t take long for our relationship to turn mainly into one of friendship. Odessa is my good friend.

Odessa knows all about my family and prays for us frequently. And I love her family too. We often talk about her daughters, Marilue and Connie. Water wells and children in need are never too far from our conversations. But most of the time we talk about the Bible. Odessa is a student of the Word. She wants to learn new things from God’s Word every day. She is not stuck in her learning. She has new questions about God and wants to talk about them all the time. 

Her faith is fresh.

She has another good friend – “Alexa.” Alexa reads the Bible to her. Alexa delivers sermons to her from all kinds of preachers. Alexa tells her the weather, the news, and even a joke if she wants one. Yes, Odessa has jumped into the world of modern technology to experience more of life and more of faith. 

Certainly you can acquire a lot of aches and pains with old age, but Odessa hardly ever talks about them with me. No, she is one of the least self-centered people I have ever met. She thinks about God and others. Odessa is still out to change the world. She knows that no matter what her age, she can still do good and help people.

I decided that growing older is not that bad if I can grow older and be like Odessa John.

Odessa thinks that most people don’t know how much God loves them. She thinks that if they only knew, they would also truly love Him. Odessa thinks most people would be doing so much better if they just had some people who loved them. Odessa and I want to remember this, so we often greet one another with —“God loves you and so do I.”

What is the secret to living a long life? Maybe it has something to do with your genes. But Odessa told me that it might be that she eats so many chocolate covered nuts. And that is how she celebrated her birthday. 

Now you know the secret to a long life!