Submitted by Dr. William Epperly
By now almost everyone has heard of the tragedy that took place on Sept. 15, when a gunman entered Wedgwood Baptist Church and killed 7 people and injured 7 others before taking his life. That morning had been the day of "See You at the Pole" when students gather around their flagpole in the morning to pray for their school and nation. What the media hasn't reported however, is how God has been so evident, both during and after the shooting. He has done amazing works!
Before The Shooting:
***Our pastor, Brother Al, had prayed that God would do whatever it took to expand the ministry of Wedgwood Baptist Church. Our church is one that is used as a model of how NOT to pick a location, because no one in the world can find it. Now almost everyone in the world knows exactly where it is.
Evidence of God's Control During The Shooting:
***To enter the church, the gunman walked past our children's playground, which should have been full of kids, but for some reason every single children's and preschool class was running late. No one had made it to the playground yet.
***He fired over 100 bullets into a crowd of over 400, but only 14 people were hit.
***He did not shoot the over 60 bullets he still had with him.
***The bottom fell off of the pipe bomb he threw, and the bomb landed without ever exploding.
***One of the youth that was wounded (she was shielding a disabled friend with her body) has scoliosis. The curve in her spine directed the bullet away from major organs, saving her from serious injury.
***Because the first 911 call came in on a police radio, emergency vehicles were dispatched immediately, without spending precious time to verify that call was real.
***One of the people in the church at the time was a paramedic, and he was able to stop bleeding and stabilize injured people before the emergency crews arrived.
***Leaders were able to get the children out of the building without the kids having to see any victims or any of the mess.
***Each children's worker stayed with his/her class even though they all had children elsewhere in the building, and some had teens in the sanctuary. Not one worker left his or her post.
***None of the adults who died have children.
***All 7 victims were not just Christians, but bold Christians who were passionate about their faith. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is not being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20)
Or, what God has done since the shooting:
***Many denominations have pulled together to offer help and support. One example is the United Methodist Church who sent 15 people the following Sunday to cover our childcare. They didn't want any church members to have to miss the service because they were taking care of the children.
***A church in Tulsa, Oklahoma drove over 5 hours just so they could march around our church and pray during our Sunday morning services.
***The Fort Worth Police Dept. planted flowers in the flowerbeds before we reentered the sanctuary to worship.
***We have received over 10,000 emails, 5000 cards, and $60,000 from all over the world
***Al Meredith, our pastor has had the microphone in his face continually and has over and over given an outstanding answer to the reason for our hope. He presented the gospel beautifully on Larry King Live when prompted by a question asked by Vice President Al Gore.
***Because of the live news coverage and interviews, over 200 million people have heard the gospel because of this tragedy.
***Fifteen thousand turned out for a community wide service at TCU football stadium. Brother Al gave a very serious challenging message calling for a day of fasting and heart searching (Monday the 20th). The service was broadcast live in its entirety on WBAP 820, which is a news station that covers most of north Texas. This same news station has replayed our pastor's first press conference due to people calling in and requesting to hear his comforting words again.
***CNN also broadcasted the memorial service live. Amazingly, because one of the victim's families lives and works in Saudi Arabia, that country allowed the service to be broadcast there as well. In Saudi Arabia it is illegal to say the name of Jesus on the street.
***Because of that same CNN broadcast, 35 people in Japan gave their lives to Christ
***When President Clinton finally got through to him, Brother Al ended their conversation by praying, after gaining permission, for the Clinton family.
***At several schools, students met around their flagpoles the next day. At one school 25 students accepted Christ, and 110 at another.
***A teacher led 22 students to Christ in her classroom.
***Christian teachers all over North Texas have been able to share with their classes because the students are asking questions about their teachers' faith.
***In Burleson, prayers and Scripture are being said over the intercom.
***On the east coast, where "See You at the Pole" was delayed because of the hurricane, record numbers of kids showed up to pray.
***Governor Bush and the Fort Worth mayor quietly came to our pastor's home while the staff were meeting and praying and joined in the prayer meeting. This was not political! Only those who are close to staff members heard about this; the media never knew.
***Governor Bush has visited with our pastor several times, and Brother Al has had an impact on him. Just think of the influence our pastor could have if Governor Bush is the next president!
***A caller to an area Christian radio station said that he didn't know what those people had but he wanted it. The DJ proceeded to lead him to Christ. Many notes left in front of the church contain the same sentiment. Those who don't know Jesus want what we have!
***The church has received so many emails asking us how we are able to have hope and continue on. There are teams of church member volunteers responding to these emails.
***My friend Jodi has been praying for her husband for years. She and their 4-yr-old daughter were at the church that night. 3 days ago Scott gave his life to Christ.
***We have had over 70,000 hits on our web page that displays the plan of salvation in multiple languages.
***Many members at Wedgwood Baptist are healing broken relationships within the body and experiencing spiritual renewal. These are just a few of the miracles that are happening. God's grace is almost overwhelming. Every time the gunman fired a bullet, he intended to take a life. Yet God turned that around and saved several lives for each bullet fired. The faith of those who died has been multiplied many times over.
"I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world." Romans 1:8