Dear friends and family,
SPACEThe last 36 hours in Ft. Worth have been one of those experiences that can not be adequately described in words. Lives here have been forever changed in one way or another. It has been another spiritual marker in my own life, in which God has revealed Himself mightily. I exalt Him for being the same God I have known...even in the midst of tragedy.Wedgwood was the church I joined when I arrived in Ft. Worth in 1995. It was the church I almost played the piano for, but was called to minister at Shannon Creek Baptist Church instead. Five southwestern students and/or alumni were shot. Three died, and two are still in the hospital. I knew or knew of at least three of them.
SPACESydney Browning, one who is with the Lord as I write, made an impression on me when I met her in 1995. She led out in the Singles' group at Wedgwood. She had a natural sense of humor, accompanied by a love for people. She was a charismatic leader. As I have continued to visit Wedgwood on occasion over the past few years, I have seen her use those same gifts with the children at Wedgwood. They, too, loved her, and have been greatly impacted by this tragedy.
SPACEKim Jones, also with the Lord tonight, only became a Christian 2 ½ years ago. A seminary student and friend of mine, Kristie Harrick, came to me in concern to pray for a TCU student she was witnessing to - a girl named Kim Jones. I joined Kristie in prayer for Kim's salvation. Kristie graduated, and I had not heard the results of our prayers. I had not known that Kim not only became a Christian, but had done immediate mission work for six months, and surrendered to foreign missions...all in the last 2 ½ years! She was here at Seminary, called to ministry! She is now with the Lord.
SPACEKevin Galey, another seminary student, is doing well after two gunshots to his abdomen. I only knew of Kevin, because I had been in charge of the seminary prayer hotline last year. A request had come to me for Kevin Galey's son, who was undergoing experimental surgery in Nashville. The Galeys have experienced much of our Father's care in the past year. I visited with his wife last night at the hospital, having never met her beforehand, but having now prayed for her family through two crises.
SPACEI know the police officer that made the 911 call. Chip Gillette went with us to Hong Kong in August. He and his team handed out thousands of tracts all over the city. Allow me to tell you about our wonderful worship experience in chapel yesterday at Southwestern. The Lord's felt presence was obvious even upon entering the room. The chapel was packed. Dr. Hemphill, our president, had invited the media. I was thrilled to know of the public glory God would receive! He announced that we would be on God's time for the service, not the seminary's. We had a time of prayer - people stood, sat, knelt around the room - as individuals and as groups. I wept as I saw a group of men engulf in prayer Al Meredith, the pastor of Wedgwood, on the stage.
SPACEAfter praying, we broke into singing "Amazing Grace." We got to the 3rd stanza, "When we've been there ten thousand years..." and spontaneous applause went up! After singing, we clapped for a long time. Celebration like that during crises is only possible through the grace of God. It has been a long time since I have experienced the presence of God so strongly within a body of believers. The "blood of the martyrs" truly IS "the seed of the church."
PLEASE PRAY THIS WITH ME
SPACEContinue to pray for physical and emotional healing for the injured, as well as for the grieving families. I ask you to pray with me in the direction that I believe to be God's purpose in this. We know that our good Father allowed this to happen, because nothing comes to us unfiltered. However, as I have been praying, I continue to be overwhelmed with the certainty that God CHOSE Ft. Worth, Wedgwood Baptist Church, even Al Meredith. He could have allowed it to happen at another school, and He could have received glory still. But, who better to show the glory of God than His body, who can find hope and joy in the midst of trial?
SPACEGod is CHOOSING the people who are being interviewed and in the media. He is displaying His glory by giving them words of hope, faith, and joy in the midst of grief. The gospel is being shared. Al Meredith very clearly addressed the public by answering the question, Where was God during this? "God was in the same place as He was when His own Son was killed..."
SPACEAs you pray for the hurting, pray with me that the glory of God--His ultimate purpose - would be revealed. It shines the brightest in the darkness. Pray the message of Christ would come out of the mouths of the believers. What an opportunity! Pray for Al Meredith. Wedgwood is replacing the bloodstained carpet in the sanctuary this weekend, and plans to still have worship there on Sunday. Bro. Al will be performing at least four memorial services this weekend. Attending the citywide memorial service on Sunday night will make my birthday in 1999 hard to forget.
SPACEWatch for the Lord's glory to be revealed and people to be drawn to Him. It's happening! You, too, may have opportunities to witness through this. Look for them. Thanks for your prayers.
With love, Christa
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