The church website reads, “Death could not hold Him.” While the banner was designed in anticipation of Easter Sunday, it points to the hope of a multitude now in mourning. The congregation at First Baptist Church of New Braunfels is clinging to the promise of Christ after thirteen of their senior choir members were killed in a tragic head-on collision between a shuttle bus and a white Dodge pickup truck.
There were fourteen in the bus at the time of the accident. A lone survivor struggles in critical condition at a San Antonio hospital. The truck driver is also hospitalized and said to be in stable condition. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.
“We know this group of senior adults, that they were believers in Christ. They trusted Him for the forgiveness of their sins and for the eternal care of their souls. We can trust that promise.” – Pastor Brad McLean
A notice on the church website reads, “It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that thirteen of the fourteen passengers in today’s bus accident were called home to Jesus. The survivor is in serious but stable condition. Families have been notified. Out of respect for the families, we will wait until tomorrow to publish an official statement and list of names. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. Please continue to pray.”
The fourteen choir members had been returning home from a senior retreat at Alto Frio Baptist Camp, a Christian country retreat and conference center in Leakey, Texas, northwest of San Antonio. It had been a relaxing and refreshing weekend, and the seniors were looking forward to time back home with their families.
On the way home though, something went terribly wrong. A woman driving behind one of the vehicles said she noticed the driver driving erratically. She was in the process of calling the police, but before help could arrive, the accident occurred.
A white Dodge pickup apparently crossed the double yellow line of the narrow freeway and slammed the small church bus against the guard rail. Both vehicles were mangled and debris was strewn across the road.
“You never know what the day is going to bring,” Senior Pastor Brad McLean told the press. “The Lord tells us that we have today, and that tomorrow is not promised. We know the certainty of the Scripture – God’s Word – that when a person believes in Christ as Lord and Savior of their life then they are secure in Him. We know this group of senior adults, that they were believers in Christ. They trusted Him for the forgiveness of their sins and for the eternal care of their souls. We can trust that promise. For those who have lost their lives, we can be certain that God has kept His promise. The tragedy is for us who are left; the difficulty of moving through the coming days. But the Good News is in the Gospel.”
In the wake of the accident, people flocked to First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. Some came to pray, others to get word on whether their loved one was lost.
“This is what families do,” said Pastor McLean. “Families come together in tragic situations. This is what our church family is doing; coming together in a tragic situation. In a community like ours, people know one another. We’re having people from other churches come forward and stand by us, pray with us, and cry together.”
As families and loved ones come to grips with the painful loss, First Baptist Church has requested prayer.
“If you’re a Christian, you can pray for those who lost their loved ones and for the church family.”
H/T James Keith, KENS5 News