Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Survivors, Mourners Turn to God in US Massacre Aftermath

In the aftermath of the worst university massacre in US history, survivors and families in grieving have turned to God for comfort and support.
With scores of prayer vigils ongoing throughout churches in Virginia, US, students have come forward with a clear message that God is with those in need at this difficult time. Megan Martin, 24, was with two-dozen fellow students travelling to a prayer vigil on campus when she told reporters, “God cares about Virginia Tech." Many others in the devastated university carried placards saying ‘Jesus loves you’, ‘God knows and He cares’, and ‘Can we pray with you?
A memorial service took place Tuesday with US President George Bush telling those hurting to unite in prayer. He urged students to persevere in hope, and to comfort one another with prayers as they struggled to come to terms with the shocking events. Offering comfort in a biblical message to the residents of Blacksburg, a Bible Belt town in southwest Virginia, President Bush stated: “As the scripture tells us, don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
On a day when a clearer picture of what had happened developed rapidly, the community was left in disbelief as they found out it was a fellow student that had carried out the atrocities. South Korean-born Cho Seung-Hui (aka Seung Cho), 23, and English literature student, was named as the only known shooter in the tragedy which killed 33 students, including Cho himself. Students have attempted to deal with their grief by creating a number of memorials throughout the campus area in remembrance of the dead. One memorial left for victim Jarrett Lane, an engineering student read: “God bless you Jarrett, your family, friends, and all of the victims and those around you. Enjoy the Lord's kingdom.” At the same memorial another note left a quote from the Bible: "Be strong and courageous, Do not be terrified; for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.
The reaction from the churches around the shattered community has been one of compassion, with churches all over Blacksburg leaving their doors open welcoming those in need of refuge, prayer and comfort. Following a prayer vigil at St Francis Anglican Church 22-year-old Adam Henry testified: “You've got to keep your focus on faith.