ECFA Accredited

AFTER TEXAS CHURCH MASSACRE, TOWN TURNS TO PRAYER

Offer thanks to the Lord for what He is doing in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a town that is honoring Him and putting their trust in Him. Praise God for this awesome testimony of the value of prayer.

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Tim 2:21)

The sprawling white tent was already packed with hundreds of mourners Sunday, some of them spilling outside beneath an overcast sky, by the time Frank Pomeroy, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, took to the stage. He stood in front of a wooden cross wrapped in holiday lights.

At this moment a week earlier, with Pomeroy out of town, Devin Kelley entered the small white church and started shooting members of the pastor’s beloved congregation with an assault-style rifle. Twenty-six of them, including a pregnant woman’s unborn child, would die in the massacre.

In a tent erected on a baseball field a few blocks away, Pomeroy was again preaching, this time to a far larger congregation made up of victims, their family members, locals and outsiders who arrived from around the region to show their support for this tiny, heartbroken town.

“I know everyone who lost their life that day, some of which were my best friends, and my daughter,” Pomeroy said, pausing to hold back tears as the crowd began to applaud and yell encouragement. “I guarantee without any shadow of a doubt they are dancing with Jesus today.”

Pomeroy told the crowd that his church, just days removed from being full of FBI crime scene investigators and the horrors of the largest mass shooting in Texas history, would reopen to the public Sunday as a memorial. It had been cleaned and painted and had audio from previous services playing in the background.

One week after the church shooting in Sutherland, Texas, the community gathers to support one another and remember the victims of the shooting.

“I haven’t seen this done in other catastrophes,” Pomeroy said. “But I want the world to know that that building will be open so that everyone who walks in there will know that the people who died lived for their lord and savior.”

Members of the crowd, most wearing jeans and leather boots, listened to sermons from Pomeroy, Sen. John Cornyn and Mark Collins, a pastor at a nearby church, who spoke about the importance of faith and healing. They sang along to songs and hymns, many hugging and breaking down into tears.

Sutherland Springs, faced with unimaginable loss, has turned to its faith as its most potent coping mechanism. Instead of casting blame or going into hiding or questioning why this tragedy befell them, this town has instead publicly looked to God, believing that there’s a reason for all of this. The victims, many here believe, are in a better place. Sorrow has quickly morphed into courage and resolve….

Many Sutherland Springs residents said they consider prayer a deep and concrete response to the tragedy. The shooting was the result of a deranged individual, they said, not the type of weapon he used. To prevent another mass killing, they argued, society has to start by changing the culture that conditioned the killer. That starts with prayer, they said.

“It’s all we have sometimes,” Gonzales said. “It also begins the process of healing. Without it, you won’t heal, and right now people here are hungry for that.”

More than half of Americans say they pray daily, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. The same survey found that 63 percent of adults in Texas say they pray at least once a day, and 76 percent say they believe in heaven.

In scrappy, small Texas towns such as Sutherland Springs, where prayer occurs before local football games and veterans meetings, at the community center, and before school each morning, expressions of faith are woven into daily life….

Bill Martin, a professor of religion and public policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and whose family is from Wilson County, says that it’s true that most people believe in an all-knowing, loving God who hears and responds to their prayers. But to dismiss prayer as little more than an appeal to supernatural forces ignores the tangible benefits it offers amid tragedy, he said.

“By expressing their own pain and their concern for the suffering of the survivors and those who have lost friends and family members, they are saying, ‘We care about you and are with you in this, asking God to help you/us get through it,’ ” Martin said. “It’s the first line of defense against meaninglessness.”…

“Anyone who lost their life in that church is part of a legacy that will live on forever,” Gonzales said.

Several days after she survived the First Baptist Church shooting, Rosanne Solis holed up in her dimly lit trailer at the end of a quiet neighborhood street in Sutherland Springs. Recovering from a shoulder wound, Solis is pondering death, as well, namely, how she narrowly avoided it.

The hydrocodone pills have numbed most of the physical pain, but the emotional pain has only just begun. She’s having trouble focusing, she said, her thoughts filled with horrific flashes from Sunday’s violence. Overall, she said, she’s not doing very well.

“I’m still shocked by the fact that all these children died. I knew all of them that were in there,” she said, before nodding toward her boyfriend, Joaquin Ramirez, who was grazed by a bullet inside the church. “I feel guilty because we survived and they didn’t. It’s God’s way, but I don’t understand God at all.”

Between trips to the doctor and to the store, she’s forced to change her bandages at least three times a day, and she’ll have permanent physical reminders of what happened in that church. “The doctors said it will take at least a year to heal,” she said. “The bullet went straight through and left a big, deep hole.”

But with the help of prayer, Solis said, her belief in God is deeper now than it was a week ago.

“We got out of that church for a reason, and that reason is for me to have a closer relationship with God than I did in the past,” Solis said. “I’m a changed person now.” (Excerpts from Peter Holley and Eli Rosenberg’s article in The Washington Post , “After Texas Church Massacre, Tiny Town Turns to Prayer to Begin Healing Process.”)

Share this...
Share on FacebookEmail to someoneTweet about this on Twitter

No comments have been posted yet; you can be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share to My Groups

Login to Share

Login

Forgot password? Click here to reset it.

Don't have a login? Click here to create a new account.


Sign Up to Pray for
Your Elected Officials

You will receive our weekly e-alerts.



Already have a profile? Click here to login.

Privacy Policy/Terms of Use

Our policy and terms of use are applicable in any and all Intercessors for America related websites including but not limited to GetAmericaPraying.com and ifapray.org.  Use of this website indicates agreement with its terms of use policies.

We are concerned about and respect your privacy while visiting our web sites. Intercessors for America will never sell, lease or rent your confidential information, though non-confidential information (name and address) may be given to outside vendors. We always will endeavor to take steps to assure that financial information you provide to us will remain secure. We want you to feel safe in your online experience while visiting our site. We, therefore, request that you take a moment to review the following valuable information.

Collection of Information
Intercessors for America does not collect personal information without your knowledge while you are visiting our web site.

However, Intercessors for America allows you to provide personal information on our web site. The type of information we collect directly corresponds with the service you request. For instance, you can make donations, offer your thoughts, opinions, prayers, concerns, ideas, personal experiences, questions and/or suggestions. The type of information we collect is only voluntary and used for purposes of interacting with the website or with others viewing the website.  Also, the information may be necessary to facilitate our response to your specific request such as your name and contact information.

If you request to have a resource sent to you and/or make a donation, Intercessors for America will collect the information necessary to complete this transaction which may include your contact information, credit card number and other transaction information.

If you offer your thoughts, comments, opinions, concerns, ideas, personal experience testimonies, request prayer, ask questions, etc., Intercessor for America collects that information and may use the information in one of the ways set forth in the following section titled "Use of Information."

Use of Information
Intercessors for America uses the information provided by you to:

Disclosure/Sharing of Information
As stated above, Intercessor for America does not sell, rent or lease your confidential information to others. On some occasions, vendors will approach Intercessor for America with a product that we determine might benefit our supporters. In that instance, we will provide non-confidential information.

Regarding links to third-party web sites
Intercessors for America’s Privacy Statement does not govern any exchange of information between you and any third party web site. IFA does not monitor, and is not responsible for, the privacy and data use policies of its corporate sponsors. We recommend you review their policies (likely to be found on their web sites) prior to accessing, but especially before sharing any personally identifiable information. Similarly, this Privacy Statement does not govern the privacy practices of any third party web site to which you might link from the IFA website.

Ability to Edit and Delete
If you would like to correct, update, add, or delete personal information, simply let us know by calling us at (800) USA-PRAY or write to us at Intercessors for America  P.O. Box 915  Purcellville, VA 20134 and we will respond promptly to your request.

Changes
Intercessors for America reserves the right to make changes to this privacy policy at any time and requests that you review this policy for updates.

Content Disclaimer
Please understand that all postings, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, or other materials ( "Content") posted on, transmitted through, or linked from this website, are the sole responsibility of the person from whom such Content originated. More specifically, each person is entirely responsible for each individual item ("Item") of Content that they post, email or otherwise make available via the Service. Please understand that IFA does not control, and is not responsible for Content made available through the Service, and that by using the Service, you may be exposed to Content, as much as we try to prevent it, that is offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. For the health of the IFA community you must agree that you will evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of any Content, and that under no circumstances will IFA be liable in any way.  Be wise and understand that IFA does not pre-screen or approve Content generated by our community of website users, but IFA does have the right (but not the obligation) in its sole discretion to refuse, delete or move any Content that is available via the Service, for violating the letter or spirit of the terms of understanding or for any other reason. If you ever find objectionable material please contact us at 800-USA-Pray or use our contact form to notify us.

Questions or Suggestions
Please direct all questions or comments regarding this privacy policy to Intercessors for America at  Intercessors for America P.O. Box 915  Purcellville, VA 20134

This web site may provide links to external web sites maintained by individuals or organizations external to Intercessors for America. Once you access information that links you to another web site, you are subject to the privacy policy of the web site containing the information you have linked to.

Statement of Use
All of the content, images, logos and photos appearing on this website are copyrighted and are the property of Intercessors for America. Other images, brands or logos are copyright of their respective owners. Information and images found on the site cannot be reproduced either in print or electronically without express written permission from Intercessors for America.

The IFA or GAP Web Site may contain links to third party web sites such as those posted by members of the Get America Praying website.  These third party web sites are not controlled by IFA. The links to these web sites are provided for convenience. IFA is not responsible and assumes no liability for the contents of any of these web sites, and unless expressly stated does not endorse these web sites or their contents, products, or services. IFA is not responsible for the content of any sponsor's Web page linked to the IFA web site, and the opinions and views expressed on the sponsor's Web pages do not necessarily reflect those of IFA. The contents of the sponsor Web pages are not reviewed in any way before they are linked to the IFA web page. Intercessors for America reserves the exclusive right to remove any links, posts or members that it deems necessary for any reason. The intended usage of the website is for the facilitation of prayer groups.  Requests for donations other than for the owner of the site, posting of blogs and misuse of site is expressly forbidden.  Inactivity of any group or site for more than 90 days will constitute an automatic removal of the member or group from the site.

Skip to toolbar