Wednesday, April 18, 2007

News Straight from Blacksburg

Below is an email from a friend who ministers to international students at Virginia Tech:

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Sorry for loading up your inbox, but I needed to correct my earlier email. Please disregard the earlier one.

In last night's email, I said that I anticipated more pain today, and that has happened. At the same time, we have seen positive things happening, and we give God the thanks. Though Virginia Tech is a large university, Blacksburg is a small town community. It is not surprising that several of those killed had personal connections to our friends. Here is a list for your prayers. You can see their profiles here

Lauren McCain (freshmen, International Studies) - I mentioned Lauren last night. She was a good friend of our friend Chum, both of whom have been actively involved in international ministry. I met Lauren a while back. Since the incident yesterday, Chum and others had been diligently praying and searching for her. Today, we all learned of her death, and it hit some of our friends very hard. Pray for Lauren's family, Chum, and other family and friends. Pray for Lauren's brother, who I understand had already strayed from the Lord.

Mary Read (freshmen) - Like Lauren, Mary was actively involved in Campus Crusade. She was signed up to lead a Bible study next year. Pray for Mary's family and friends.

Jocelyne Coulture-Nowak (professor, Foreign Languages) - Jocelyne was a colleague and friend of our friend I-Ping. Please pray for Jocelyne's husband, daughters and other family, I-Ping and other friends.

Christopher Bishop (instructor, Foreign Languages) - Christopher was another colleague of our friend I-Ping. Please pray for his family and friends.

Liviu Librescu (professor, ESM) - Dr. Librescu was the advisor of our friend Zhanming, from China. Zhanming first trusted Christ after coming to Blacksburg. Dr. Librescu was like a father to Zhanming so this has been very difficult for him. Dr. Librescu died a hero. A Holocaust survivor, he was killed while holding off the gunman so his students could escape out the window.

There may be other connections as we learn more. But please pray for our hurting friends, and the families of the deceased. It pains my heart to see the lives of Lauren and Mary cut off so early, but we take comfort that they are with the Lord.

Please pray for the families and friends of the other victims. Also pray for the family of the gunman. I don't know anything about the family, but can you imagine the shame they are experiencing? Pray for God's mercy and grace. Pray that they could find peace in Christ.

While the pain continues, we are encouraged by the good stories we hear. We don't really know her, but Haiyan Cheng (a Chinese doctoral student) is one of the heroes. Her actions helped save the students in her classroom. See her interview here We are also encouraged by the spirit of togetherness we are seeing in the Tech community. "We are Hokies" has real meaning and function right now.

Of course, it is our desire that God would take this horrible situation and use it for good. We earnestly pray that the hurting children of God will be comforted and strengthened, and that those who don't know Him will see their need of Him. We pray that God will use us, and many others, to make the most of this opportunity to lead people to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Please pray for us as we continue to interact with many international friends during these days.

Again, we thank you for your prayers.

In His Hand,
HIS International - Virginia Tech

p.s. Though not directly involved in the incident, Jamal has become part of the story. His cell phone video has been shown everywhere, and he was interviewed by NBC News and Larry King. Jamal is a Palestinian who is not unfamiliar with gunfire in the streets. When we talked to him on Sunday at the International Street Fair, we had no idea that the next place we would see him was on national television.


Caleb Kolstad said...

Praying for you

Collins in covenant marriage seminars said...

So said to hear for our dear brothers and sisters who experienced unpredictable tragedy. more prayers for you from our covenant marriage seminars.

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