Choosing Joy: Mourning the Loss of Kelly Ann Cook, Missionary to Brazil

Even during her final season of life, former missionary and family counted trials as joy.

We write with regret to inform our missionary family that, after a struggle with cancer, ABWE Brazil missionary Kelly Cook went to be with the Lord on Saturday, February 27 at the age of 53.

Sent by Magnify Church, Rockford, Mich., Kelly Ann and her husband Dan have served in Brazil with church planting, camp ministry, and leadership training since 1994 following their appointment in 1991. Kelly, faithful as a homeschool mother, was noted for practicing hospitality in the Cooks’ ministry of hospitality to couples from the church. Most recently, Kelly served alongside Dan in his role of regional director for the Caribbean and Central America (CCAM) and worked with the Good Soil ministry of ABWE, focused on evangelism training.

“The Lord called His warrior Kelly Ann Cook back to His side,” wrote a family member in an update on social media. “We will mourn her and miss her, but we take comfort in the knowledge that her pain and worries are past.”

Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and was admitted to hospice care about a week prior to her passing, having suffered bouts of infection in recent months.

Left: Dan and Kelly became missionaries with ABWE in 1991.
Right: Photo was taken a few months after Kelly’s chemotherapy treatment in 2019 when her hair had partially grown back.

As the family continued to post updates on Kelly’s condition to their “Care for Kelly” Facebook page, each post was marked with #ChooseJoy—expressing the Cooks’ unwavering hope in Christ through trial.

“Kelly was a spiritual giant, a wonderful wife to Dan, and an excellent mother and grandmother,” said Scott Russell, ABWE executive director for Latin America. “She deeply loved Brazilians, her teammates, and the people she served.”

“Death did not conquer Kelly because Jesus overcame it for her. She has never been more alive than she is today,” Russell continued. “My wife Nikki and I loved having her on our leadership team. We miss her already but rejoice we will see her again!”

Kelly is survived, in addition to her husband Dan, by their children Alex, Patricia “Tricia,” and Danielle “Dani,” as well as two grandsons. In lieu of flowers and in keeping with Kelly’s wishes, the family has requested that condolence gifts be made on her behalf to Camp Paradise in northeast Brazil.

Today, we rejoice that Kelly served the Lord Jesus Christ with joy and perseverance, setting an example for her children and making an eternal impact.

Update (March 3, 2021): A celebration of life service will take place at Magnify Church on Monday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

In addition to supporting Camp Paradise, you may also support the Cooks’ ministry here.

Editor’s Note: This article has been modified; the original version referred to the Cooks’ sending church as Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, its original name. The article has been updated to reflect its new name, Magnify Church.