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Saturday, February 16, 2008

In Memory of my Friend, Pastor Jerry Travis

For the second time in less than two weeks, I am posting a memorial to a friend and fellow pastor, this time for Rev. Jerry Travis. This will be long and include things I've received from others. Jerry deserves every inch of space I take here on this blog, and much, much, more!

I will share all comments whether they come in email or in the comment section here on the blog with Jerry's family, so please if you comment and the family doesn't know who your are, list what state you live in.

Jerry and I met a few years ago at a get together of pastors in our district. Jerry had moved into our district from another Wesleyan District and he told me that he was used to getting together with other preachers and he hadn't made new friends with the Wesleyan pastors in our area, and he missed that fellowship and wanted to know if I was interested in getting together for lunch sometime soon.

Let's stop the story there and let me say two things. It was Jerry who longed for fellowship and it was Jerry who reached out to get that fellowship. I'm going to tell a story later in this post and he did the same type of thing while in the hospital this past week. I'm just fortunate that if was me he reached out to - thank you Lord for that blessing!

I have a close prayer partner Pastor David Gates, who I regularly meet with for food, fellowship, and prayer. It was soon time for us to get together and I called Dave and said let's include Jerry Travis. Of course, both David and Jerry were up to it, and so we all met in Shelbyville for the first of many times together.

There are so things I could write about, but I remember the times we met together around the alter at Shelbyville Grace Wesleyan Church where Jerry pastored the last few years. We prayed for each other, we prayed for our families, we prayed for our congregations, we prayed for our fellow pastors, and we prayed for new souls to be won for Christ. We literally all "cried out" to the Lord.

David, Jerry and I have all been through "crisis" times in the last couple of years, and each of us knew we could pick up the phone, send an email, ask for a visit and the other two would be there - no question about it.

That's my two prayer partners, David and Jerry (Jerry is the young guy with a smile) in the picture to the right. I say that about age, because there is one story that so many people know about that has to do with age and a lunch we had at Bob Evans in Shelbyville.

Jerry and I both ordered chicken pot pie, and the waitress then began to ask David what he was having, and he said I'll have chicken pot pie also. Being the clown that I sometimes can be, I said to the waitress, notice that he is ordering off the Senior Menu, and he definitely qualifies for the discount. Next, you would have thought that Jerry and I had arranged this with the waitress (I promise we didn't) but she piped right in with, oh we'll make sure to blend his food for him!

Oh my, Jerry and I nearly rolled on the floor we laughed so hard, and as always David took our joking with a giant smile and a response of something like I would think you guys were mad at me if you wasn't joking with me.

This famous event has made the rounds throughout our district and even our District Superintendent once told a waitress that David needed his food blended.

That's how we spent our time. Praying, eating, joking, and loving each other like brothers!

Another friend of ours, Pastor Chet Todd became part of our prayer group, but living farther away, Chet couldn't join in on the fun very often. I know that we all felt that Chet was a big part of our small group. That's all four of us in the picture to the left. From left to right, it is me, David, Jerry and Chet. What a crew! There's Jerry with that smile again.

More recently, Pastor Doug Preston became very close friends with Jerry, and David & I have been really getting to be good friends with Doug as well. I know this time is really difficult for Doug as I heard him say he didn't have any brothers, and Jerry was the closest thing he had to a brother. I will treasure the last few days of Jerry's life as Doug, David, and I traveling the hour and a half each way to spend time with our brother who was leaving us too soon for our liking had some talks that we will all remember forever.

Here is the story I mentioned above. It happened Monday night after Jerry had found out that he was down to days left here on this earth. Doug had stepped out of the room for a minute, but it was David, Jerry's wife Joyce, myself, and three doctors. It was time to explain what could be done for Jerry while he was still with us.

After explaining things to Jerry and answering the questions that Jerry and Joyce had for the doctor in charge, Jerry did something that all of us who here this story should follow as an example. Now please remember these facts: Jerry had just found out just a few hours earlier that he wouldn't be here long without a miracle from God, he could hardly talk because his breathing was so fast due to complications that had began earlier that day, and he was the one we were all concerned about - those are the facts, but here's what Jerry did.

He asked the doctor in charge is he was a Christian. The doctor said he believed in God, but that he wasn't a Christian. As difficult as it was for Jerry to talk, he said this: God gave me a mission in life a long time ago. I've done my best to do what God had me do, and you need to give your heart to the Lord - it will be the greatest thing that has ever happened in your life.

Now understand, Jerry was dying and he knew it. Here he was longing to win someone else to the Lord, and Jerry did the reaching out. What a way to go out - planting seeds for Christ and trying to win a soul so that they could go where we would soon be going. Yes, there was some serious tears in that room, and with Jerry's family when we shared the story with them later that night.

Let me share a couple of emails I received today, this from our district superintendent to all pastors:

Hi Pastor,

Just a word to let you know that Pastor Jerry Travis that pastored Shelbyville Grace Wesleyan passed away about 6:00 A.M. this morning. Please keep Joyce and the family in your prayers. When we find out about the arrangements for the visitation and funeral we will get you word. Pastor Jerry was a true friend of mine and will be missed greatly.


Dr. Mark

This one is from his daughter:

Dear Friends and Family,
Job1: 20-21

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

God has prepared a place for us in heaven. He opens the gates and lets his children in. Then they get a new body, and renewed body. Then praises are sung and the angels sing.

The Lord has taken my father, Rev. Jerald Allen Travis to be with him in heaven at the age of 55, with no pain and no sorrow. The Lord called him home and even though we grieve for him here on earth, I know in my heart that he is in a much better place.

My father loved to sing, and he sang for the glory of the Lord. He preached for the glory of the Lord! :) What a great job he did at it!!! He did his best to fulfill this mission on the earth. As I continue to walk side by side with Lord, I thank Him, the great healer, physician for the most wonderful, loving father a daughter could ask for. He loved me so, and wanted me to do my best. He always pushed me to be the best that I can be. One of my dreams as a child was to make sure my father married my future husband and walked me down the isle. My childhood dream came true and nearly a year and a half later, and now he has gone to be with the Lord.

I will remember many childhood memories and be thankful for the husband, father, and grandfather that he truly was.

Here are the final arrangements for my friend, fellow pastor, and brother:

Sunday: Showing form 3 - 7 PM at Glenn E. George & Son Funeral Home, Shelbyville, IN 46176

Monday: Service at 2 PM at Grace Wesleyan Church, Shelbyville, IN 46176

Tuesday: Visitation from 12-2 PM at Trinity Wesleyan Church, Greenville, OH 45331

Service at 2 PM at Trinity Wesleyan Church, Greenville, OH 45331

Burial will follow service in Greenville, OH 45331

Thanks for all the memories Jerry! I know your family will miss you greatly, and your friends will as well.

Thank you to God for sharing Jerry with us, and I'm sure that Jerry will be ready to greet us all when we get to heaven!

If you would prefer to send a comment by email, the email for this blog is hopecyberpastor@gmail.com. I will get them posted for you. - Pastor Ed