March 15, 2012
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46
Everyday, tragedies hit our country – in fact, similar tragedies have affected the whole world. Yet, this particular incident cut deeply into the souls of families in Oxnard. I know because City Impact received counseling calls from individuals and families feeling distressed. Some of our staff were present on campus that day over four years ago – staff and many students have had an emotional impact by shock and then the awful overwhelming grief.
You see, this particular day a 14 year old confused, angry and hopeless young man brought a weapon onto a middle school with the intention of doing harm to a fellow classmate and then himself. By the end of third period that day, Brandonshot a classmate dead and our community was left with anger, loss, disbelief and grief. February 12, 2008, Satan felt he triumphed, but I am here to say, Satan is a liar!
There is another story in which Satan felt he triumphed as well. It took place over 2,000 years ago – it was the day that Jesus Christ died on the cross. I am sure Satan and his army threw a party over his assumed victory. Yet, we know that is not how the story ends. For the text states, “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. . . ‘He is not here; He has risen, just as He said’, Come and see on the place where he lay.”
Just as the story in scripture didn’t end with Christ’s death, neither does our story in Oxnard. Allow me to introduce you to Josh, who was one of Brandon’s classmates. As children, they lived in the same neighborhood and played little league together. Josh became a Christian and took another road in life. Today, you can find Josh sharing his story with his peers at other schools. You will also find Josh going to elementary and middle schools encouraging kids to talk to teachers, counselors or caring adults about their feelings. Josh is also at pastor’s meetings, council meetings, neighborhood watch meetings, any group that will listen and he asks for help to stop the unresolved anger of kids that leads to violence. Josh says, “the answer to all the violence is Jesus Christ. He is the one that can save us.”
This Easter, will you consider giving a sacrificial gift to assist Josh and City Impact continue sharing the good news that Jesus Christ is ALIVE and He can turn tragedy into triumph.
Because of Him,
Betty Alvarez Ham, President