Dillon was number six in a family of 13 children. He grew up in a hard-working and devout family. They were faithful to attend the Assemblies of God church in Cement, Oklahoma, even though they had to walk three-and-a-half miles to and from church twice on Sunday as well as to prayer meetings on Wednesday nights. He met Mary Robertson in that church and they were married there in 1954.
As a bashful child, Dillon was bullied by his peers because he had difficulty speaking, especially in public. Because of this mistreatment, he dropped out of school early.
One might wonder why God would call a shy and uneducated man to a ministry that required that he be able to read well and articulate the Good News clearly. But that is exactly what He did. By the time Dillon was in his early 20s, he knew God was calling him to preach the gospel, but he ran from that calling for several years. Then, one night in the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Apache, Oklahoma, he finally surrendered everything to the will of God.
“I was so sick, I was dying,” Dillon recalls, “but I knew I couldn’t run from God anymore.” Dillon preached his first sermon in that church soon after his rededication. When she learned he was going to deliver a message, Mary says she was concerned for him because of the difficulty he experienced when trying to recall words and string them together to make sense. But when Dillon opened his mouth and began to speak, the words flowed forth. Mary was flabbergasted as she saw her shy husband being used of the Lord to deliver a powerful message of grace and redemption.
Except during times of illness (he has undergone five major surgeries and numerous “minor” ones), Dillon Marsh hasn’t stopped preaching since that day. As a member of the West Oklahoma Conference, and now the Heartland Conference, he pastored a total of six churches, including Bethel in Apache, Oklahoma, Woodward PH, Canton, Elk City, Anadarko, and Mount Zion. For a short time, he served the Atoka PH Church in the East Oklahoma (New Horizons) Conference. He pastored the Mount Zion congregation a total of 29 years.
During that time, he served for eight years on the West Oklahoma Conference Board and four years on the Conference Youth Board. When he retired, he worked as caretaker of the camp grounds in Anadarko, Oklahoma.
These days, Dillon and Mary tend their large garden at their home south of Hydro, and Dillon helps their son-in-law on his nearby farm. The Marshes have two daughters, Barbara (Terry W.) Lierle, and Pat (Terry B) Lisenbery. They also have five grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.
Though Dillon Marsh has retired from pastoring, his burden for the lost has not lifted. He ministers somewhere nearly every Sunday. He says when he resigned the pastorate, he promised the Lord he would preach wherever He provided an open door. God certainly has honored that agreement and has opened the way for the Marshes to minister in Mennonite, Baptist, Methodist, Christian, Church of God, and, of course, Pentecostal Holiness churches across Western Oklahoma. He has spoken at retreats and youth camps and seems to have a special rapport with young people. Though his grammar may not be perfect and he may still mispronounce words now and then, his ability to communicate the gospel with homespun illustrations and passion for Christ touches their hearts and draws them to Him.
When he isn’t ministering from a pulpit, Dillon is witnessing to everyone, regardless of their age, nationality, or creed.
Dillon and Mary Marsh know they serve a promise-keeping God. But the Marshes have kept their vows to Him as well. “We say we have faith in God,” says Dillon, “but we need to live our lives in such a way that He can have faith in us.” Surely God smiles on these seasoned saints.
--Shirley G. Spencer
This profile appeared in the August/September 2016 edition of the Omega Ministries newsletter, a bimonthly piece that is mailed to senior and retired ministers who are members of the Heartland Conference, IPHC.