Grieving, Praying, Grateful

The life of a church and many families can be forever changed in a matter of seconds. That was the case a few days ago when the Colonial Hills Baptist Church bus was returning to Indianapolis from a summer camp in Michigan. After traveling 365 miles, the bus had one mile to go when apparently the brakes failed, the bus hit a barrier and turned on its side.  Of the 37 on board, three were killed and dozens were injured.

The three who died included the student pastor and his wife, Chad and Courtney Phelps. Courtney was pregnant leaving one more fatality. Another who died was a mother of five.

The pastor of the church has a huge task of helping the church through this, complicated by the fact that the student pastor was his son. This pain seems unbearable. The Phelps share the same alma mater as my wife, Carolyn, and me.

We have been grieving for these families and the Colonial Hills Baptist family.  Please join us in prayer for them during this time of grief and pain.  Let’s pray that these dear folks would know the comfort and healing that can only come from the God of all comfort.

We find comfort in the truth that to be absent from the body is to be present with The Lord.  I will contact the church today to assure them of the prayers of Woodside.

When I heard this story break, I had a flashback to a similar incident over 35 years ago. We were returning from a youth activity on an old church bus when the brakes gave out. After a scary high-speed ride of a couple a miles, the driver was able to bring the bus to a stop. It could have ended in the same way as this recent tragedy.

I am so thankful for the safety that The Lord has given through all of the travel associated with Woodside ministry whether here in Michigan or around the world on short-term trips.  We try to make sure our buses and the buses we rent are current and well-serviced, and yet our trust is in The Lord.

One Response to Grieving, Praying, Grateful
  1. Robert Wegner

    I, too, am grieved to hear of this tragedy. I did not know the youth pastor was the son of the pastor of Colonial Hills Baptist Church. The church and families will be in my prayers.