El Paso Churches Help Shooting Survivors Recover After Tragedy

David and Beverly Engle — who attend Cross Church of Northwest Arkansas and serve as executive directors of Restoration Village, an organization that helps women and children leave abusive homes — share their story of the Aug. 3 shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. Screen capture from Arkansas Online

Beverly Engle snapped a photo of the El Paso Walmart as she and her husband David walked in Aug. 3 to grab some vitamin water.

She meant to post it on Facebook to say it was the Southern Baptist couple’s last stop on the way home to Arkansas after ministering to migrants at a center near the Mexican border. But minutes later the couple was caught up in tragedy as a shooter opened fire in the store. The Engles and other customers, some injured, were ushered out a back door and to a nearby Sam’s Club by Walmart employees.

“You all know the rest,” Beverly Engle wrote when she finally posted the photo of Walmart hours later. “We were inside but we are OK.”

The Engles — who attend Cross Church of Northwest Arkansas and serve as executive directors of Restoration Village, an organization that helps women and children leave abusive homes — are among many who have the emotional effects of the day to deal with in the coming months. The shooting left 22 dead, dozens injured and a lot of family and friends to pick up the pieces. See related Baptist Press storyof how Southern Baptists have responded to the tragedy.

David Engle said he has a picture emblazoned in his mind of the soccer coach he talked to as he entered the store that day. The coach and some children — whose table can be seen in Beverly Engle’s photo of Walmart — were raising money for their soccer team, and David Engle had struck up a conversation with him and planned to make a donation as they left. The coach was killed minutes later.

“If I was an artist, I could draw a picture of the coach and others,” David Engle told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “They are still in my mind.”

Jorge Diaz, pastor of Congregación Hispana Internacional Semilla de Mostaza (Mustard Seed), said the greatest needs in the El Paso community right now are to help those in need of prayer and counseling — those who lost loved ones or are otherwise traumatized by the crisis.

Volunteers set up immediately to meet the physical needs of victims Aug. 3, handing out water near the site of the shooting. The Engles themselves joined the effort that day when they recognized some of the volunteers from their work at the border.

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Source: Baptist Press