Remembering a Tragedy and a Powerful Witness of Forgiveness

Ten years ago on October 2, 2006 an unspeakable tragedy took place in the small village of Nickel Mines, PA. Five Amish girls were killed and five others severely wounded when a local milk truck driver, Charles Roberts IV, shot them and then killed himself in their school house. The Amish community's response of forgiveness and assistance for the shooter's wife and family touched people throughout our country and around the world. Members of that Amish community went on to reach out to families of victims of other mass shootings including those at Virginia Tech and Newtown. The following video features the mother of the shooter who experienced this amazing grace and now shares her story and her love with people in her community and beyond. The video was done around the first anniversary of the mass shooting in Newtown and shows the power of God's love and forgiveness in the face of even the greatest evil. 

One of the fathers who lost a child at Nickel Mines shared the following words that bear witness to the power of faith in the love of God in Jesus Christ - faith that is practiced daily individually and in community: 

“The best counseling was from the families who had girls pass away, when we all got together,” said one father who lost his 12-year-old daughter in the schoolhouse shootings but asked that his name not be published. “We did that a lot.”

Amish couples have traveled to towns affected by other school shootings, including Newtown, Conn., and Blacksburg, Va., the sites of two other mass shootings. “We’ve reached out and that was always a blessing,” said the father. “The best general message I could give to anyone is to actively seek God’s help because faith is very important.” Another member of that Amish community put it this way in simple yet profound words, “Simply stated, the Lord’s Prayer as it is taught is very important to us,” said a local Amish church leader who has walked alongside the families since that horrific first day. (quotations from an article by Elizabeth Evans on the Religious News Service, Oct. 3, 2016)