Tragedy struck again on Sunday morning when yet another mass shooting took place on U.S. soil. Carnage swept a small Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, leaving 26 dead and dozens more wounded.
It took only a matter of seconds for nine members of the Holcombe family stretching across three generations to be savagely killed in Sunday’s massacre.
In an instant, Joe and Claryce Holcombe lost children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a future great-grandchild in what is now being called the deadliest mass murder in Texas history.
Bryan Holcombe, the Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and the son of Joe and Claryce, was set to deliver Sunday morning’s message in lieu of the church’s usual pastor, Frank Pomeroy, who was traveling out of state.
As he approached the pulpit, the gunman, Devin Kelley, opened fire inside the church walls, killing Bryan and eight other members of his family, including his wife of nearly 40 years, Karla Holcombe.
The couple’s 36-year-old son, Marc Daniel “Danny” Holcombe, and his one-year-old daughter, Noah Holcombe, were also killed.
Another son of Bryan and Karla’s, John Holcombe, survived with a gunshot to the leg, but his pregnant wife, Crystal, along with three of her five children—Emily, Megan and Greg—did not.
The violent destruction that robbed Joe and Claryce of so many generations of family members took place in the same four walls where so many loved ones had always gathered.
“It’s of course going to be difficult,” Joe Holcombe said of moving forward. “But, we are Christians; we have read the book. We know the ending, and it’s good. They’re in heaven,” he added. “And they’re a lot better off than we are… God will see us through. We’ll all be together soon.”
His words embody the peace and comfort that can only be found in Jesus Christ. But it was Claryce’s words about the shooter that is really setting the tone for how we can all respond as Christians to this unthinkable tragedy.
“We need to pray for his family,” she said, “because they’re going through a terrible time, too.”
And that my friends, is what being a member of the body of Christ is all about. Even in the midst of darkness, LIGHT will always shine through.
The Holcombes are a radiant example of Jesus’ greatest commandment: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Our hearts break with them, and all of the Sutherland Springs community as we mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters. We are praying for you, we are praying with you, and we will not let the evil of this world prevail. For HE has overcome the world.
If you feel led to donate to the Holcombe family during this time, a GoFundMe Campaign has been organized on their behalf.