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Tuesday, October 3, 2006
(Note the one room schoolhouse to the left)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?" (Psalm 94:3).
We love the Amish people. Since we moved to Lancaster County nearly six years ago we have befriended several families and I regularly mention them in this series. Among the ways I supplement my income is driving for the Amish, who choose not to drive modern vehicles but will have the "English" (non-Amish) drive for them. One of my cherished memories is being invited into an Amish home to share conversation around the kitchen table by the light of a kerosene lantern. They are reticent with outsiders but over the years I have made inroads with quite a few. I really like their Biblical names such as Eli, Moses, Ruth, Anna and there are many others of course.
Our entire community is absolutely stunned by the deadly shootings that took place yesterday in Lancaster County where we live. As most of our readers already know, a gunman entered a one room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mine and took the children hostage, eventually shooting the young girls. Five have died as a result of this senseless tragedy and five more are critically injured. We received a number of emails yesterday from our readers who have been deeply touched as they expressed sympathy for the Amish community. I don't know whether I ever encountered any of the Amish directly affected yesterday, but due to my driving the Amish in that very area, it is likely that I have.
I simply cannot imagine a less likely place for such a tragedy. It is an outstandingly peaceful area and the Amish are such a peaceful people. Bart Township does not even have a police department. Last week I drove through this farmland area and it's a remarkable sight to see the children walking home from their one room schoolhouse. In fact today's photo of a one room Amish schoolhouse is only a couple of miles from the little schoolhouse in Nickel Mine where the shootings took place.
I was actually preparing a message in regard to the school shooting last week in Colorado. I prayed for these families in my pastoral prayer on Sunday. It's hard to imagine that the next day my own area would be hit by an even more extensive tragedy in the sense of a larger number of innocent lives that were taken. My cousin, who is a retired teacher from Colorado, wrote me yesterday, "I don't understand it. We're still reeling from the Bailey incident - too many reminders of Columbine."
We can't understand evil. But it's sure real.
I was at a large prayer gathering this morning in neighboring York County and one thing this has done is to bring out a tremendous outpouring of sympathy and renewed realization of the evil in this world and the need for God. Tonight there will be several memorial services, one with Michael W. Smith, who also had ministry in Colorado following the Columbine shootings.
Today I really struggled with what to write but found such encouragement at the prayer service and the solemn reading of this Scripture passage: "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD" (Lamentations 3:21-26).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, our hearts are so heavy and sleep did not come easily last night as we thought about parents sitting by the hospital bedside of their daughters fighting for their lives. Even as I pray today I find myself shaking my head in wonderment that such horrendous acts of violence are being committed year after year upon our innocent children. We seek You for understanding, healing, comfort and renewed hope in the midst of such intense tragedy. We ask for Your guidance as law officials continue the investigation. You're such a present help in times of trouble and I pray that You would still the fears of the children exposed to this heinous crime. Bless the emergency workers who responded to the tragic scene and heal their troubled memories. Comfort those who mourn the loss of their children, and the children who mourn the loss of their friends. May swift healing come to those recovering from the gunshot wounds. Minister Your sustaining grace and supernatural peace to Mrs. Roberts and her children during this horrible hour. May we witness countless acts of goodness that will result from this evil act, for we will not be overcome by evil but we will overcome evil with good. Amen.
For any who wish to send a condolence message to our Amish friends we will compile the notes and see that they receive them. They often read messages from the Daily Encouragement and we have spiritual relationship with them as well. We are sure they will touched by your messages. You do not need to identify yourself if you choose not to but please note your location (state or country) Send the email note to this address
Brooksyne's Note: As I mentioned in the prayer sleep did not come easily through the night. About 3:30 A.M. God laid the song "Grace Alone" on my heart. I pray that it will bless your heart as you consider the words of this inspired song. I am also playing it in the background in today's podcast.
Yesterday's events took place in the eastern part of Lancaster County about 25 miles from where we live in western Lancaster County.
Barn Sing-along - everyone welcome!
Here are the additional details!
Our readers are invited to a Praise and Worship service on Saturday, October 14, at 6 PM at our Amish neighbor's barn. Before the worship service, from 4:30-5:45, another neighbor will be hauling children and adults on a hayride with his tractor and wagon. Refreshments will follow the Worship Service. Contact us if you would like to come and need directions.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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