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Shooting Victim's Message of Forgiveness
By Amber Cassady
AURORA, COLO.- Twenty-three individuals accepted Christ on Sunday July 29 at The Edge Church after Aurora theater shooting victim, Pierce O’Farrill shared his message of forgiveness.
Pastor Ryan Heller conducted a question and answer session with O’Farrill in all three services. O’Farrill shared his recount of the shooting and his personal salvation story. When Heller asked Pierce how he is able to forgive the shooter he responded that it is through Christ’s strength and grace alone.
“I forgave [the shooter] right away,” explained O’Farrill. “I am blessed to know the Lord, and He is deep, deep in my heart. The Lord has forgiven me. I had a number of years in my life without Jesus. The fact that God forgave me after everything I’d done, and pulled me back. I mean, I pray that he uses me everyday.”
Of the 23 who made professions of faith on Sunday, one was an unexpected individual. The gentleman who unlocks and supervises the building for Liberty Middle School every Sunday for The Edge Church. This Sunday though, the love of Christ captivated him.
“That [23 salvations] is why we do what we do,” remarked Heller.
Quinton Frank was baptized on Sunday as a result of his profession of faith in Christ at the previous week’s service. His wife had been coming to The Edge Church and invited him to attend. Before coming to The Edge Church, Frank described himself as an atheist. The Gospel message presented in Heller’s sermon clicked in his mind and he chose to believe Christ in his heart.
Extra seats had to be arranged in the gym of Liberty Middle School where the church meets to accommodate 713 people who gathered throughout the three services. Among the crowd were reporters from 10 news organizations including CNN, FOX, NBC and CBN, members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and a youth mission team from Virginia.
The media, following O’Farrill’s story, were seemingly intrigued by his radical stance of forgiveness. He became spokesperson as the world watched the continuous television coverage searching for reason in calamity. Christ’s power over darkness was prevalent as O’Farrill recounted his horrific experience with prominent media outlets including CBS, ABC and CNN.
The Edge Church has organized professional Christian counseling for individuals facing pain and tough questions in the shooting’s aftermath at no charge. Southlands shopping center donated meeting space for counselors to meet with individuals over the next few days. The Edge Church is committed to pointing Aurora to Jesus as the community heals from the tragedy.
The Edge Church gathers on Sunday mornings at 9:00, 10:15 and 11:30. Visit their website, www.edgechurchaurora.com, for more information.
Photo credits: Amber Cassady
Amber Cassady is the missional correspondent for Colorado Baptists this summer and is a senior communication and journalism student at Texas A&M University.