AN IMAGE THAT WILL LIVE ON IN THE HUMAN HEART FOREVER
–God Bless You, And Mr. Langendorff For Showing There Is Still Good Out There In A Hate-And-Spite-Filled World
By Judi McLeod, with permission of author
It is a picture that will go on to live forever in the troubled human heart.
From the anguish, heartbreak and tears of Sutherland’s First Baptist Church comes an “AMEN!” that transcends everything else being said in the aftermath of the most deadly massacre in a U.S. House of Worship.
No photo , no matter how dramatic, save for the Face of God some will someday see, can ever take the place of the AP one showing two real life heroes in an emotional embrace taken last night at the vigil for the victims of the tragic mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
Blurred in the passing time will be the image of black-clad, in body armor killer Devin Patrick Kelley.
But the image of humble, country plumber Stephen Willeford and his cowboy hat-wearing aide-in-crisis Johnnie Langendorff will go on to live on in human memory forever.
While social media carry the hateful messages of all those against people who pray, Willeford and Langendorff transcend their incredible hate and spite.
“The brave gunman who stopped the Texas church shooter has broken his silence to tearfully say he doesn’t consider himself a hero, but he was just doing what needed to be done. (Daily Mail, Nov. 7, 2017)
“Stephen Willeford, 55, embraced Johnnie Langendorff, 27, in an emotional hug on Monday night at the vigil for the victims of the tragic shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
“On Sunday Willeford confronted Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, as he left the church, wounding him, before he and Langendorff chased him in a car as he fled.
“During the 95mph car chase, Kelley lost control of his vehicle and ran off the road, before shooting himself in the head. He called his father shortly before to say he had been shot and didn’t think he was going to make it.
So intent was the plumber in putting an end to the carnage at the church, Willeford didn’t take time to put on his shoes before leaving his house.
“Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said Willeford ran out his home barefoot with his rifle and ‘engaged the suspect’.
“He has since been praised as a hero by churchgoers and police, but, speaking out for the first time since the morning tragedy, told KHBS he doesn’t think of himself like that.
‘I’m no hero. All I want to stress today, is the people at that church, they’re friends of mine, they’re family, and every time I heard a shot I knew that probably represented a life.’
“A local resident told DailyMail.com that Willeford, who attends a different church, was first alerted to the shooting when his daughter called him saying there was a man in body armor gunning down church goers during mass.
“He grabbed his gun and headed down to confront the gunman.
“And in that moment, he told KHBS with tears rolling down his face that he was ‘scared to death.
‘I was scared for me and I was scared for every one of them, and I was scared for my own family that lived less than a block away.
‘I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. “
The picture of the Willeford/Langendorff hug, the humble words of Willeford send out the loudest AMEN! in the middle of unspeakable human heartbreak.
They transcend by far the atheist rants of a deranged killer; the media’s insistence of identifying him as a “bible school teacher”, even though he was a self-admitted atheist; drown out the Democrat call for gun control before the victims could even be laid to rest; and even former President Barack Obama’s attempts to exploit the tragedy.
Best of all the picture and Willeford’s words point the way to finding comfort from the Great Consoler who has a special place in His Heart for all those suffering in grief.
“I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. “
The words “my God, my Lord” come like balm to the souls pained by a grief too indescribable for words.
Amen, Mr. Willeford.
God bless you, and Mr. Langendorff for showing there is still good out there in a hate-and-spite-filled world!