Alumni Profile: Llewellyn Terry, Class of 2016

Lewellen Terry
Lewellen Terry - Photo by Lesa Simpson ('11)

When did you graduate, and what was your major?

I graduated in May 2016 with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Why did you choose Henderson?

Henderson offered me what I was looking for after receiving a B.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Ouachita Baptist and the M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I felt the need to add some balance to my former training by pursuing a secular degree in counseling.

Who were your best friends while attending Henderson, and are you still friends with them today?

Stan Ellis, Maurie Maestas, Lee Hendrix, Sherrie Meeks, Allie Nelson, and yes, I’m still friends with them today.

Who were your favorite professors?

Dr. Mike Kelly, Dr. Charles Weiner and Dr. Linda English

What is your current occupation?

I serve as pastor of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church here in Arkadelphia.

How did Henderson prepare you for your career?

After being in the pastorate for 28 years this program provided therapeutic lessons in counseling to assist individuals from the secular perspective. The entire program was a buffer for my own sanity as a pastor, husband, and father. Pastors need counseling also which is particularly true for pastors in the black community. This curriculum granted me the opportunity to move a little deeper to assist clients and their families.

What is your favorite memory of Henderson?

I found enjoyment working with Jim Shuff in Media Services as a graduate assistant. While there I was able to enhance my computer skills and also assisted him with some class lectures if he was unable to be present for instruction.

When’s the last time you have been on the Henderson campus?

About a month ago when I needed to do some personal research I came on campus. Because I reside here, coming on campus is an easy process when visiting students or a member of our congregation.

What other job do you think you’d be really good at?

Possibly the field of law is an area I could have been efficient in. I’ve enjoyed advocating for persons on their jobs or those who have contacted me because of possible maltreatment or unjust treatment within the community. Not everyone is being treated unfairly, so I try to get as many facts as I can prior to making inquiries by listening to both sides. Law was an idea at one time, but I’m where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

How do you relax after a hard day?

At 63, I still enjoy going to the basketball court to play a few pickup games, riding a horse every now and then, and spending time with my grandson, Caiden, who lives here. I also enjoy walking, which gives me the opportunity to rest my mind and enjoy a little exercise.

Who do you admire the most, and why?

Besides the perfect man Jesus Christ, I admire the imperfect man, my father, the late A. William Terry. We just celebrated Father’s Day, and I did not post a picture or a statement about him on Facebook but only reflected on his ideology of life. He was straight forward and opinionated in conversation while remaining active in our community. Those traits seem to come natural for me with no reservation. He was also fair, but firm, giving his service to anyone in need. Every now and then someone in the community will remind me how they remember him and his role as a pastor here for 29 years in Arkadelphia.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

I think everyone should at least leave their home environment and visit another state or country that’s different from the place they grew up in. While I haven’t traveled beyond our country’s borders, the experience of traveling to various states offers a unique perspective for the visitor. A change of scenery and attitude is always good.

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

Learning patience in the midst of faith has been the hardest lesson for me. If we are to move forward in life, we must learn patience when working with others. My time here in Arkadelphia has taught me to cool my jets and slow it down some. There has been a huge price to pay coming back to a town this size and the southern mindset that tends to prevail in most small southern towns. Over and over I’ve learned that I can’t rush God but wait on Him. One of my favorite scriptures which best describes me is when Jesus said in Mark 6:4, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” I really did not know what that meant until I returned to Arkadelphia. I not only know it, but I own it with gratitude and privilege.

Exemplifying faith during times of challenge is a lesson learned within itself. Ones’ faith will either be strengthened or weakened when facing life and death situations. With two of my children facing life threatening illnesses throughout their lives, ‘faith’ has been the operative word. On several occasions the doctors stated my son, Lew, Jr., wouldn’t make it because of a kidney disease he developed at the age of two. He’s now 38. One of my good friends and Henderson aumnus, the late Gerry Glasco, was his nephrologist who took exceptionally good care of him. My daughter, Tamara (’11), has faced acute asthma since the age of four. She has recently been diagnosed with congenital heart failure and is now 36. It is the faith that says stay in the battle and don’t throw in the towel. For me it is the personal relationship I have with the Lord Jesus Christ that has sustained me.

What are three interesting facts about you?
I am persistent, giving, and can be controversial at times.

If your life were a book, what would its title be?

“The First Twenty-Five Years,” an autobiography describing my life and involvement in our community.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?

Treat me like you want to be treated. I have often heard it said that a person must earn respect before he can get it. We may not like the actions of others, but respect is what everyone deserves.

What have you been doing since the Corona Virus outbreak?

I have tried to be as safe as I can by wearing a mask when going into stores and staying at home most of the time. My mother just turned 84 on June 20, and when she says she needs something, I have to move. My computer has seen more of me than usual, but it’s what I needed to do. I also planted a small garden in the back of our home for the first time which includes tomatoes, collards, cabbage, cucumbers, purple hull peas and a couple of bell pepper plants.