Monday of last week, Terry’s text to his group was “I made it.” Terry was not feeling well when he arrived to lead our Monday night group. With his co-leader, they decided Terry should go home half way through the group. To the surprise of everyone involved with Changing Lanes, this would be the last time we would hear from Terry. Around 2PM the following day, I received the news he had passed away from heart failure within the previous hour.
Terry had just begun a journey to fight cancer. His first chemo treatment was the previous week. All of us knew Terry was in for a fight, but none of us expected we would lose him this fast.
Terry joined Changing Lanes in 2014 as a member of one of our groups. He had recently completed a 2-year prison sentence in Kansas or what he liked to refer to as “adult timeout.” Terry already had a relationship with God before the “timeout,” but had secrets that kept him from believing he was loved completely and could be accepted by other people. Terry found both things that alluded him.
It was obvious during his time as a group member that there was something special about Terry. His desire to help others and always point them back to God was something I noticed. After his group was completed, I invited Terry to help me in a group. Terry’s impact on the group was dramatic. He used his unique sense of humor, his own story, and tying it all back to Jesus to change the lives of the men in the first group, and in additional groups he would help lead.
Terry impacted dozens of men over the last four years. This impact extends to their families and will continue for generations. We will miss Terry! Changing Lanes has a huge hole that cannot be filled. But Terry will forever be a part of Changing Lanes. He impacted how I (Brett) lead groups and he helped me grow in ways of compassion and love. Terry went from being a group member, to leader, to a good friend. I look forward to seeing him again.
To help understand Terry’s impact and a tribute to his life, here are few quotes from some of the men in Terry’s groups:
“The very best leaders exhibit both humility and confidence. This was a worldly observation of two characteristics that through the lens of the individual’s ego, are difficult to balance and maintain. However, Terry showed that through the lens of God’s grace, confidence and humility are mutually reinforcing. Terry had the confidence of a forgiven man, humble in honoring God’s glory that redeemed him. “
“Terry cared enough about me to say what i needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear…He was also very perceptive. It wasn’t just that he knew how to get a serious lesson across in the midst of a joke, he was a pro a highlighting both severity and humor that exist in our lives.”
“He helped me find some of my inner emotions I struggled to feel, and he taught me that I need to read my Bible daily even if I’m not always understanding it. To just connect with God always”
“Terry was a man who knew what his purpose on Earth was. He did not allow the events of life to stop him from pursuing Jesus and living out the great commission…Terry knew when to be serious yet knew when to sneak in a quick joke as well! Walking through certain areas of my own life, Terry knew exactly how to make what seemed life ending not any less serious but less burdensome and hopeful…Terry loved unlike any other! I truly saw Christ in him through his actions and words. He also told me that there is no condemnation for those in Christ and that’s something I’ve always kept before sine doing life with Terry. He showed me what it meant to be human and to have a savior who can bring your from anything. His love made me love God, myself, and all others better!”
Because of Terry allowing God to use him, generations have been impacted with freedom!