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  • Jane Wheeler

Salmon Arm Tragedy

I am changing my blog at the very last minute because it had to happen. I know you were expecting some Israel stories, well not yet.

What causes a person to pick up a gun and go shoot people? At a church no less. It is not a thought that would cross very many people’s minds. But it did cross one man’s.

If your answer was “evil” – it probably was partly right. Evil can make people do drastic and horrible things, but people can make their own choices as well.

In Salmon Arm last Sunday, an armed man walked into a church and shot Gordon Parmenter and then shot my brother in law Paul in the leg, shattering the flesh and bone. I do not know Gordon, but my heart aches for his family and for his church family that is grieving this gapping hole in their midst. As for Paul, you would have to know Paul to understand how absurd it is that he got shot.

Paul is one of those guys who everybody knows, for a good number of years he had a window washing company. He was always about town washing someone’s windows, you could almost daily see his little red truck and ladders tootling down the road off to clean the glass to let the light shine in. Paul knows everyone and has a smile and a hello for everyone he meets. If you had to put a face to a town’s ambassador – it would be Paul. He was never to busy too help someone, to take the time to listen. He loves his family and adores his grandkids. Paul is that kind of guy.

Paul would be the first one to tell us to not hate his shooter, that love must prevail if we are to be a different kind of people. Paul is a different kind of people. Paul believes in forgiveness because he himself is forgiven. Forgiven by a man named Jesus who decided that Paul, the shooter and you and me are worth dying for.

This week leading up to Easter is strewn in history with all kinds of events, but all those events lead up to Good Friday. The day the world went dark, the light went out and the world was never the same.

It is this way for Gordon and Paul – in a moment of darkness their world and the world of their families changed, it only took an instant. In that instant the darkness was so real it altered their lives forever.

Gordon no longer walks this world, but rather is now walking in a world much lighter than this one. Paul is struggling to walk.

Three days after Jesus was brutally killed, He rose again. Jesus appeared to over 500 people in over 40 days after His death. His resurrection brought a miraculous hope to the world – death had not won. Jesus was alive! This is why we celebrate Easter – it is God’s promise of eternal life to whomever asks to receive it.

We have a choice to focus on the darkness and the “unfair” or we can choose to be the light and love this world so desperately needs.

Paul is not out of the woods yet, he is going to have a long road ahead with more surgeries and treatments, but he will rise, he will walk again and he will continue to bring light to darkness wherever he goes, because that is who he is. Will it be easy, not one bit, and will he smile all the way through, probably not, but with the love, prayers and support of those around him, he will rise and walk again.

I am asking that you pray for Paul, for his healing mentally, emotionally and physically, his family, his church family and Gordon Parmenters family as they work their way through this tragedy and darkness. The way through will not be easy.

I am putting a link to a go fund me page for Paul – please do not feel obligated, but if God lays it on your heart to pray – then pray, if to give – then give.

Remember this week as you celebrate Easter that there is light after the darkness and let me be the first to remind you: “He is Risen!”

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