INDIANAPOLIS (Christian Examiner) – After returning from the gym on Tuesday morning, Davey Blackburn discovered his wife, Amanda, 28, had been shot in the head during a break-in at their home.
Amanda, who was 13 weeks pregnant, died with her unborn child at the hospital on Wednesday. Davey, the pastor of Resonate Church, and his two-year-old son, Weston, are stunned by the loss.
I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come.
"It's impossible to communicate all the emotions my heart has been forced to process," Davey wrote in a statement on the church's website. "My wife was such a beautiful, gracious, loving woman of God. I have not only lost my ministry partner and support but also my very best friend. There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstances like these."
The Blackburns moved from South Carolina to Indianapolis in January 2012 to plant Resonate Church, which had been starting to grow in recent months. Friends and family attest Amanda was as involved as Davey in ministering to the church members.
"Amanda made it her life's calling to love and serve everyone she knew," he wrote. "Even more, she has made it her life's mission to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. I know that in her death and legacy even more people will come to a saving faith in Christ."
SUSPECT AT LARGE
The robber was captured on a neighborhood surveillance camera as a black male, said police Capt. Craig Converse, according to AP. "We know who killed her," Converse said at a news conference. "At least we have a picture of him, but we don't know the name."
Davey holds to the knowledge that he will see Amanda again.
The suspect was burglarizing the neighborhood when Davey left his house about 6:10 that morning. Amanda was probably shot around 6:45 a.m., when neighbors said they heard possible gunshots and a dark SUV sped through the neighborhood.
Davey hopes his wife's death will inspire others to a saving knowledge of Christ. "I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we've started here in Indy. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come."
Friends, family, and neighbors have rallied around the young man and the church as they mourn Amanda.
A family spokeswoman, Lauren Woolever, said in a statement: "Please join us in prayer for our pastor, his son Weston and their entire family during these hard days ahead. We have extremely heavy hearts and although we are hurting tremendously, we are still hoping and believing that great things are still yet to come," the Indy Star reported.
REQUEST FOR PRAYER
Amanda's father-in-law, David Blackburn Sr., a pastor in North Carolina, said the Christian community's prayers are important to him in during the tragedy.
"The Family of God is amazing!" he said. "So many of you, literally from around the globe, have come together to pray for Amanda Blackburn. Our families are overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer and expressions of love. I will tell you that we have been leaning on those prayers heavily."
Amanda's neighbor Reginald Townsel and his wife visited Amanda and Davey in the hospital on Tuesday night before her death. "It was hard, only because detectives, police were there," said Townsel, who lives a few houses from the Blackburn home, according to Indy Star.
"We hugged and cried and prayed," Townsel said. "This isn't that type of neighborhood. Those people didn't deserve that."
Davey is taking time off to grieve. "My focus right now is to let The Lord minister to my heart as I continue to shepherd little Weston's," he wrote. "I'll be taking this time to focus on being a great follower of Jesus, dad, family member, and pastor to our growing church."