Texas Southern Baptists have dispatched ministers to South Texas to minister to the community and assist with relief in the wake of an elementary school shooting Tuesday (May 24).
At least 19 children and two teachers are dead after an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday afternoon and “began shooting anyone that was in his way,” authorities said.
The Associated Press reported the gunman barricaded himself inside a single classroom and started shooting children and teachers who were inside. Law enforcement officers eventually broke into the classroom and killed the gunman. Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN that all the victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary.
Uvalde is a town of roughly 16,000 residents located about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
Marlene Astling, ministry assistant at First Baptist Church Uvalde, told The Baptist Paper “the prayers from God’s family are deeply appreciated.”
The church is still assessing needs, she said, noting local funeral homes have graciously offered to take care of the funerals of victims “at no charge to the families.”
“Please just continue to pray for these families, the teachers and administrators that were at Robb, all the pastors and grief counselors,” Astling asked.
How to pray
Tony Wolfe, associate executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, offered three ways to pray in the aftermath of the shooting:
- Pray that the God of all comfort will heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds. The tragedy is unspeakable. The pain is unbearable. God, have mercy.
- Pray for emotional and physical endurance for first responders and crisis volunteers on the ground. May their hands be steady, their minds sharp and their hearts soft.
- Pray for heavenly wisdom among local, state and national policy makers. This tragedy should be unheard of; instead, it is has become all too common. We must do better for our children. God, help us do better for our children.
“We grieve what happened today,” Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director/CEO, said. “This tragedy is impacting every member of the Uvalde community right now. Please pray for the city during this extremely difficult time.”
The chaplains will help people share and work through their emotions in the wake of the shooting. They will be working alongside Uvalde church leaders throughout the city.
“Our chaplains will offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an encouraging word and an offer of prayer,” Lenamon said. “They serve as a reminder to the community that people care about them and God cares about them.”