A doting father of five and Marine Corps veteran who served as pastor of an East Texas church died tragically Thursday morning when a plane in which he was traveling crashed near Tyler Pounds Regional airport shortly after takeoff.
Pastor Trevor Morris, 40, led Union Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro, Texas, but he was also vice president at Burton Oil Service Operations. Aaron Greenwood, worship pastor at Union Hill, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that Morris traveled frequently to Midland for his secular job and was on his way there again when he died. The pilot of the aircraft also died in the crash.
Morris, who lived with his wife, Nafisa, four sons and daughter in Murchison, served as pastor at Union Hill from 2009 to 2012 before moving to Ecuador to serve as an international missionary. In October 2016, he returned to his leadership role at the church again.
"Nafisa and I have a heart for the gospel and seeing the lost come to know and follow Jesus. Because of this passion, our full intention is to spend every day of the rest of our lives working as hard as we can, in His power, to see as many as possible meet Jesus," Morris declared on the church's website.
Eric Johnson, Baptist Mission Association of America International Missions director, who met Trevor Morris through missionary work, told the Telegraph that Morris had a passion for God and his family.
"He loved his wife, gave God the glory and served Jesus. He was a husband, a great friend. He loved to share the message of Christ," Johnson said.
Preston and Christie Burton, who have been friends with the pastor and his family for eight years, had nothing but good things to say about the pastor. In addition to being friends with the pastor, Preston Burton said he also worked with Morris for about three of the eight years he had known him.
"Everything about his life pointed toward Jesus — it was evident in the way he worked as an employee for me and it was evident to the people we worked for," Burton told the Telegraph. "We've had countless people come to us and ask us the question 'What's different about you?' and the answer is always the same: 'It's Christ.'"
"Trevor was a man with great passion to love and serve the Lord first and foremost before anything else. If there was one message he wanted to get out, it was that this life was about God and not us. ... His passion was to get the message to men, to disciple their families, to teach them so that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be shared for generations to come," he continued.
"There will be grief in the loss of him here physically, but we know that it was God's plan for him to be in heaven," he added. "There's definitely peace in knowing that he is in glory, standing face to face with God."
His wife, Nafisa, said even though she had plans to spend many more years with him, she was grateful for the years they had together.
"Y'all, words can't really express what I feel right now. I am grateful for the 15 years I had with this amazing guy, but we had plans for so many more," she wrote of Facebook early Friday morning.
"Thank you for your prayers; we will be needing them. I shared the following words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer with our Sunday School class last week; they have so much more meaning now: 'O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray and to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone...I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me...Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised.'"