Wake Up, Walk Out in the Open Air: Jerry Reed, 1937 – 2011
Our friend, Jerry Reed, died early Sunday morning from advanced cancer in his lungs and hip. He had only found out in late February that his cancer had returned, and now, a few short weeks later, he has left this earth. It went really, really quickly. Our hearts grieve for his wife, Nancy, and for their three children, one of whom is Rob, our pastor here in Spain. Thankfully, Rob and his family were able to fly to California and be with Jerry and Nancy right before Jerry passed away.
Jerry’s impact in our lives will last a long time. He made an impression right away back in 2007 when we arrived in Spain friendless, clueless, and language-less. Not only did he help us settle into our new apartment, help us register the kids for school and health cards, and give Nate a thorough tour of La Coruña so Nate could become familiar with the roads here, he did it all with an amazing cheerfulness that made us feel welcome and comfortable. To him, no one and nothing was a burden. On several occasions, he dropped everything so he could help us out (and back then, we needed a lot of help!). We admired his energy and servant’s heart, and we literally could not have gotten through those first rough months without his and Nancy’s constant help.
Most of all, Nate and I will remember Jerry’s passion for the Lord and for the lost. His heart broke that people were far away from Him, and he was willing to dedicate himself to discipleship, preaching, and doing whatever else he could do to invite people to consider following Jesus. When he preached, his love for the Lord and for the Bible was clear – he absolutely loved God and followed Him joyfully and whole-heartedly. He was a role model to us over the past few years, even when he and Nancy moved back to the US, and it’s crazy to think that we won’t ever see him again here on earth.
Harrod and Funck, one of our favorite bands from Wheaton College, did a song in concerts that I don’t think they ever recorded. I don’t remember anything about the song except for this line: “Wake up, walk out in the open air…” Because Jerry’s lungs had filled up about 75% with fluid during his last few days, he had significant trouble breathing. Now that he’s gone home to be with the Lord, my heart’s been singing to him, “Jerry, wake up, walk out in the open air!” And breathe deep the breath of your Lord and Savior. We’ll miss you a lot. Thanks for being you, and we look forward to enjoying life with you, once again, when we see you next.