Update: Fort Thomas Shooting Outreach

Even before Linda and I walked into the office, our phones were exploding with encouraging text messages from people saying they were praying for us.  While I was in the car, the GM of the Newport Ft. Thomas Starbucks, Lewis Curd, texted me (he's a GFC Newport member...the guy who hosted for me when I preached at Florence last Sunday).  He's up in OH serving at our high school Youth Camp, but caught wind of what we were doing and offered to donate some travel boxes of coffee for us to bring.  Very kind!  I picked those up and Linda & I entered the office building with our Bibles, resources we'd picked out the day before, and a desire to be used by God for His glory.

Oh, and two boxes of Starbucks coffee...fo free.

Fort Thomas police officers were there when we arrived, speaking to the staff to assure them the building was secure once again, and offering their services anytime now or in the future.  Just as they left, we entered.  The ladies I'd met yesterday introduced us to the staff, and we sat down with them and, after a few brief opening introductory remarks, we listened - a lot - and learned - a lot.

Most of them were at work on the day of the shooting, but a few of them were working in the field at the time.  One by one they expressed where they were and what they were doing at the time.  I remember in the days that followed the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, it seemed that every conversation began with where you were when it happened, or how you found out, or who you knew that was affected, regardless of whether or not anyone asked.  When unexpected tragedy occurs, it just tends to dominate your mind for quite some time.

As we had opportunity, we looked to turn the conversation towards eternal hope, and eternal peace, and that it truly can only be found in God through Jesus Christ.

I referenced a favorite verse of mine, especially in counseling situations, Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe."

Lasting hope, lasting peace, eternal hope & peace can only be found through the Lord Christ Jesus.

After about 45 minutes with the group, people dispersed and began to try to get back to their work routines.  Linda & I were each given an unused office to use in which we spoke with people who perhaps wanted some more concentrated, one-on-one time with us.  This was particularly sweet as it paved the way for more active dialogue, and I think provided more opportunities to pray with and share truth more clearly and personally with those that availed themselves of the opportunity.

As a special treat, Britton Smith, the Owner/Operator of the brand new Newport Chick-Fil-A donated lunch for the entire staff.  What a special treat and kind gesture on his part.  If you stop by there, ask for him and tell him you're with the church that he partnered with in helping those affected by the recent shooting.  He's a Fort Thomas resident himself, and I trust will remember donating a lunch for 20+ people in his first six hours of operating his brand new store.  Very kind.

I left Gospel tracts and counseling resources behind that I thought would be helpful in directing them towards Christ and His Word, as well as a standing offer for any additional help we can provide.  Overall, the staff were just overwhelmed by the mere fact that we'd take time to pray, to ask, to show up, and to offer a shoulder to cry on, and a Person to look to for help: Jesus Christ.

You played an unbelievable part in all of this by praying for us.  In fact, I don't think it would've ever happened if you weren't.  I'll tell you more about that another time.  For now, suffice it to say, thank you so VERY much for your prayers.  Thanks for your texts, your likes, your comments, your tweets, all reminding us of the prayerful support we had for the blessed opportunity we were afforded today.  I'm so, so very blessed as a Pastor to lead and serve with a flock that is so supportive, so loving and so willing to partner in ministry by talking to our sovereign, saving God for us, and with importunity at that.

Much love in Him Who saves,

Pastor Peter
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