Sutherland Springs is a place that few knew existed until yesterday. On Sunday morning, it was a small Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. By Sunday afternoon everyone in the nation knew about Sutherland Springs.
I am one of the few that knew about it before yesterday. It is about a 45-minute drive from my home. I have been to that church and met those people. A friend is in the hospital in critical condition. He was shot 4 times.
It was probably late spring when we visited Dave’s church. I had never met Dave; he is a friend of my husband’s. They were both going to the same men’s Bible study. My husband had recently started attending the group. It was not sponsored by any church. It was a handful of men who met weekly for dinner, fellowship, Bible study, and prayer. Every week, I would make them a homemade dessert to top off their dinner. Dave dubbed me the “dessert lady.”
Dave’s daughter was getting baptized and he invited his group of guy friends from the Bible study to come witness the celebration. Then we were all invited to his home for a huge BBQ. My husband wanted to go so I went too. I wanted to meet the men that my husband prayed with and I cooked for.
That morning we went to Sunday school at our church and then drove out to Sutherland Springs for their service at 11:00. When we walked into the church, I was surprised at the size. I am guessing that if every single pew was filled, the church would hold 75 people. There were about 60 people attending that day; they mentioned that there were more than usual because of the baptism.
I remember it being hot and the pews were uncomfortable. The preaching was not my style. But, there was no doubt that the handful of people loved the Lord. There was excitement and joy as the elementary age girl stood before the congregation. The pastor asked her if she understood what baptism meant. He said that he usually didn’t like to baptize children this young but was confident that she knew what she was doing. He baptized her. There were smiles and hugs and the service ended. We went to Dave’s home for a delicious BBQ meal.
The memory never crossed my mind until yesterday. I heard a God whisper yesterday morning that I didn’t understand until later. The gentleman that led the Bible study has taken a break for a season. Dave has started his own group but it is too far for my husband to attend. The God whisper was a thought. Hmm, I wonder how Dave is doing. Husband has not said anything about him lately. I stopped and said a 2-second prayer for Dave. I didn’t think about it until a few hours later.
Several families went out to eat lunch after church. There was a television playing quietly in the background but not causing a distraction. We had just finished ordering our meals when my husband got a text message. The message stated that Dave had been shot. Almost as if the text was a cue, the television started talking about the shooting. We finished our meal and came home in shock.
We both sat in front of our computers watching the news reports and social media. Sutherland Springs is very small. My city is close enough that people come here for shopping, medical needs, and schools. We are a city of 30 thousand. We are still a small town. If you don’t personally know someone affected, you have a friend that does. It has rocked our community. But the news is spotty. We don’t know anything more than you know.
What we know about Dave is that he was shot 4 times. He is hospitalized in San Antonio. He survived the surgery and is in critical condition. We have heard conflicting reports; some say his daughters were not there others say they were but are safe. We don’t know.
A few months ago, a Pastor welcomed me into his church. I shook his hand and told him I liked his Pooh-bear tie. Today I pray for him as he grieves the loss of his daughter and his congregation.