Local pastor, father of six faces devastating diagnosis A benefit for the Loeslie family will be held in Morristown Sept. 24

Travis Loeslie, who has served as pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Morristown for almost five years, has been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and has resigned from the ministry. A benefit for the family will be held Sept. 24. Travis is pictured with his wife, Stephanie, and their six children, Benjamin, 13, Marta, 11, Miriam, 9, Samuel, 6, Elijah, 3, and Ingrid, 2. (Photo courtesy of Joe Faugstad)

Members of the community are rallying around a local pastor and his family after he received a devastating diagnosis, which required him to step down from his pastoral work.

Pastor Travis Loeslie has served Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Morristown for almost five years, having been installed as pastor of the local congregation in October of 2017. He and his wife, Stephanie, have six children (Benjamin, 13, Marta, 11, Miriam, 9, Samuel, 6, Elijah, 3, and Ingrid, 2) and reside in the parish’s parsonage.

Following many months of concern and appointments, 37-year-old Travis was diagnosed last month with Huntington's Disease (HD), a rare, genetic and progressive brain disorder. The disease causes changes in the central area of the brain and manifests as uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of cognition.

“It has a slow and insidious onset, and he (Travis) has already been suffering symptoms for some time,” stated Joe Faugstad of Waterville, who is a member of the Bethlehem Lutheran congregation and started a GoFundMe site for the Loeslie family with the help of fellow parishioner Leah Shoop of Faribault.

“Although medications may help him manage the movements, there are no treatments available to slow the mental decline. It is progressive, debilitating and incurable,” Shoop explained. “Part of the HD diagnosis process included a cognitive assessment, which revealed he can no longer complete multi-step tasks.”

After this assessment, Pastor Travis resigned from the ministry, leaving the family of eight without a steady income or a home of their own.

“The Loeslies currently live in a parsonage that is owned by Bethlehem,” Shoop explained. “They find themselves completely unprepared for this financial crisis… Stephanie cannot work outside the home as both Travis and the children require her constant care. He will qualify for disability and they are in that process now.”

As of press time, the GoFundMe account for the Loeslie family topped $238,000. The goal is $350,000.

“Our congregation prays this family could face their future with the stability of a home,” Shoop stated. “Yes, it’s a lofty goal, but to know this family is to love them, and they need our help right now… And, in the future, they will have to confront the genetic nature of this disease with each one of their children.”

To see more on this story pick up the August 25, 2022 print edition of the LifeEnterprise paper. 



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