Last week our area was shocked to be in the middle of a tragic news story. The shooting of Pastor Fred Winters as he spoke at Maryville First Baptist Church horrified people everywhere, but it touched us as we don't live far from Maryville. My kids know people who go to the church; my niece had met and thought highly of Pastor Winters; many friends participate in community programs that the church sponsors. This wasn't a personal loss for me, except on the level of empathy, but I have followed it with sadness.

What I have seen, as has anyone who reads the news, is an amazing witness by the church family and, in particular, Cindy Winters and her daughters. Some quotes:

I hope the man who did this learns to love Jesus.

It was not 'death day' for my daddy. It was celebration day, the best day of his life.

I want you guys to remember this, because you see, on Sunday, my husband did not die, he just simply got a promotion.

I refuse to let Satan win.

Although they are hurting terribly from such a senseless action, they have been able to take comfort in God and the bigger picture. In a different article, one of the daughters was referred to as having expressed the wish that this would bring many to Jesus. And what comfort it must be to KNOW where your loved one was headed, to know that he lived his life in the service of God and others. They have a peace in the midst of their pain.

I think of the shooter's family, and how much different of a feeling they must be experiencing. To know that your child did such a terrible thing and caused pain to so many. To fear for him now as well as in eternity.

It makes me think. And wonder.


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