Ricky Bass and His Traveling Tent Revival – Signs, Wonders, and Miracles Nightly

 

I can hear him saying my name – “JoJo!!!” – as though he is standing right next to me. Ricky Bass and His Traveling Tent Revival. This was his comical way of introducing himself on my voicemail. Often, in text messages, he would abbreviate … TTRSWMN … and I always laughed out loud when I saw it. I am laughing through a broken heart even now, as I think of this man who revealed the love of Jesus to me in a way that changed my life forever. I still cannot believe he is gone.

It doesn’t seem real. Tragedy. Fatality. Loss. Grief. I keep thinking I will wake up from a bad dream and see a message or receive a phone call – just to hear that voice one more time – audibly or through technology. Yet, I know the only voice I will hear is the one saved in my phone or the one I hear in my head as I read his old messages.

 

My Gift To You, Papa

 

Writing is my outlet. It is the way I process, think, and pray. It is the way I share, remember, and dream. It is my gift from God to help me creatively discern what is going on in my heart and head. Writing is my freedom. It is my healing. It is my answer and solution to questions and problems I would not otherwise be able to resolve. Jesus tenderly speaks to my heart as I write. I cry, I laugh, I get angry, I release. He meets me in this place. When something great and/or terrible happens, I write. It is my medicine.

So here I sit. Writing. Remembering. Praying. Crying. Laughing. Missing. Releasing. I am thinking about the first book I wrote, and the man who stood by me and encouraged me every step of the way. He read every page of it and wrote the Foreword for it. He knew I was “created to write.” He blessed and inspired me to glorify God with my gifts. And now … I use this gift to honor him … something I never imagined I would have to do, but oh how grateful I am for the opportunity to reflect on a life that has so powerfully impacted my own.

 

Rick Bass (August 5, 1951 – May 4, 2015)

 

He was my Pastor, Papa, Mentor, Friend, and occasional Physician. He prayed for me with a passion and fervency I have not known. He cared. He truly cared. Rick was a Father to me. This man of God and gentle soul loved me unconditionally. He was one of the first people I called when God did something amazing in my life. He was the one I confessed my heart, sins, fears, concerns, and uncertainties to, and the one person on earth who truly knew everything about my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly. He revealed the heart and character of Christ so beautifully, powerfully, and consistently, and his walk with God provoked me to go deeper, stay longer, and climb higher.

I once told Rick, “You have shown me Jesus on earth.” It’s true. I believe with all of my heart that Rick Bass had a special assignment in my life. He took the time to ask … and to listen. He obeyed God. He prayed. He picked up the phone and called when his “unctions” told him to, and he regularly stepped out on his “prophetic limb” (as he called it) to encourage me and help me stay on the path God has for me.

To date, no one (outside of my immediate family) has influenced me, challenged me, supported me, blessed me, or loved me quite like Rick.

 

At my book signing in Beaumont, TX

 

Five years ago, I met one of the most wonderful men this earth will ever know. A true servant, a loving soul, a mighty warrior, and a prince of peace. I had the most blessed and cherished honor of getting to know him – personally and pastorally. Memories of countless hours of conversations are burned into my soul.

Rick was faithful. He was loyal. He carried the joy of the Lord in a special way. He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk. If he said it, he meant it. His words were backed by his actions. I never had to wonder if he would follow through on something he promised. Ever. I never doubted whether he was being honest. I never questioned his integrity. I just knew. His character was evident. His words were laced with transparency and sincerity. His convictions were clear, and His heart was pure.

As an OBGYN, Rick introduced 3,678 lives to this world. As a pastor and father, he nurtured and raised many more spiritual children. His legacy will live on forever through the ones to whom he imparted his joy, wisdom, and life. His laughter rings in my heart, and his counsel permeates every cell of my being.

Perhaps you have lost someone close to you and can understand my pain and grief. Perhaps you know Christ and can also understand my JOY in celebrating Rick’s return home – the place he truly longed to be. One thing is certain, this is a void only God can fill. If Rick were with me as I write this, he would ask me to tell you about Jesus. He would want you to know His Savior’s love. With desperation, He would tell you that Jesus is alive and that He heals – spirit, soul, and body. Rick would radiate with pride as he reflected on his own journey and the ways God lifted him out of the mud and mire and set his feet on a Solid Rock. His life was a testimony of the power and reality of a loving God. His ministry revealed the Father’s heart in a unique and much needed way. He was a blessing to all who knew him.

 

LOVE

 

Rick was a devoted family man – husband, father, and son. He was a medical missionary, itinerant minister, licensed chaplain and crisis responder. He was a Board Member and Missions Director for my nonprofit corporation (One Spark). He was a servant, teacher, preacher, leader, and follower. One-of-a-kind. His wit and humor would keep me laughing long after his jokes had been told. Rick feared God. Of the many life-changing messages he shared, the one thing he taught me is to love. Above all … LOVE. Rick loved well.

My prayer is that the love of God flowing through Rick’s life, hands, and heart into mine and so many others will forever impact this world for the greater good. I pray his memory and legacy will live on through his beautiful bride, his precious children/grandchildren, and his spiritual offspring. I pray we will all carry his message – the Gospel of Jesus Christ – to the ends of the earth. A new mantle and fresh anointing have been released to a generation that received from God’s chosen vessel. Seeds were planted throughout the earth that will bear fruit beyond our comprehension. If Rick imparted his time and life to you in any way, you are sure to reap a harvest that will glorify God in supernatural ways.

 

I think a church should not be known for it’s seating capacity, but for it’s sending capacity. – Rick Bass

Rick lived as one who had been sent. I pray we will follow in his big, beautiful footsteps and carry the Love of God to the nations.

 

Papa, your love changed me. Your friendship showed me that it was okay to trust again. Your faithfulness made me unafraid. You helped me become the woman God has called me to be. Your words, spirit, heart, and unwavering love will inspire me all of my days. Your ceiling will be my floor. I will do all that we discussed. The name of Jesus will be exalted in and through me – for His glory and in your honor. My respect for you will live on. I will preach. I will teach. I will write. I will love. I will hold the babies and hug the hopeless. I will carry your torch, Papa. I will care for the orphans and the widows. I will set my feet on foreign soil and do good work throughout the earth. Every prayer you prayed for me will bear fruit. I know it. Every conversation, visit, and moment will be cherished forever. I will GO. And your memory will go with me. Thank you for your selfless love, for always being there for me, and for helping me see God the Father through the eyes of a daughter. You will be missed more than words.

 

Rick’s Facebook post on May 1st, three days before God called him home:

“Matt 10:39. He who gains his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will gain it…… NFL draftees, Baltimore, presidential races, etc etc etc. How we have forgotten the basics these days mystifies me and make me a little sad. Just sayin…”

Ricky Bass, you and your Traveling Tent Revival will continue to impact this world like only you can. I always told you that your mansion in heaven would have a wing based solely on the way you poured into my life. I hope it has a patio with one of those chairs that gobbles you up. And I hope it somehow memorializes every visit and every conversation we ever had. Thank you for everything.

Vaya Con Dios, Papa.

Te Amo.

“Prayer is the experience of love of man towards God … he who loves, always prays.” – St. Anthony of Padua

Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul