Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God
(May 19, 2002)
A year ago, First Assembly of God members in Burkburnett, Texas, were
reeling from the shock that a church van accident had killed four members
and injured eight others.
Survivors: The ladies
of Prime Timers rejoice in Gods goodness.
However, the church is reaching new people as physical and emotional
healing continues for the survivors in the North Central Texas community
Pastor Charles Reed, whose wife, Janice, 52, was among the injured,
says an additional 30 attendees have come to the church of 120 adherents
since the wreck. "Weve had 32 decisions for Christ already this
year," he adds. "We had a goal for 50, but are increasing that to 100."
Joe and Karren Wallace came to First A/G after watching how church
members responded. "We felt drawn to being part of a church that did
so well under adversity," Joe says.
Churches in the area responded with calls, cards, prayers and meals
for the families involved. The A/G district office fielded information
and prayer requests relating to the accident.
District Superintendent Derwood Dubose recently returned to the church
for a memorial and honorary service of those who died and were injured
May 8, 2001. "Among visitors were a state representative who presented
a resolution honoring the ladies, Catholic nuns who visited them while
they were in the hospital and leaders from other denominations," Dubose
says. "I was impressed with how Pastor Reed conducted the service to
bring some closure to this tragic event."
Nancy Ramsey, 75, was the oldest of the injured. She told of others
positively affected by events following the accident. "An emergency
medical technician who responded said none of us knew where we were,
but we were all praying when he found us at the scene," Ramsey says.
"I had 57 stitches that left a 14-inch scar on my scalp I may
not have survived if I hadnt been in such great health."
When Ramsey realized most of her scalp was open, she prayed God would
protect her from headaches. "I hadnt had them in the past, and
I dont have any now," she says.
Ramsey says though she and several of the others arent as physically
agile as before, no one has questioned God. "We accept that God allowed
it, and that He will bring good from it."
All 12 women in the van which blew a tire and rolled over on
a highway during a shopping trip were in the Prime Timers Sunday
school class. Ramsey has resumed many of her teaching duties, and is
back in charge of the church prayer chain. "I encourage young people
to pray while they have the strength," she says. "Since the accident,
I dont have the stamina I used to."
Regardless of physical setbacks, Ramseys focus is on serving
the Lord, knowing there is a purpose for her being alive. "I dont
want to miss the reason God spared me."