Pasco family shares positivity after losing loved ones in Texas church shooting
PASCO, Wash. – The First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas was the site of the worst mass shooting in Texas history, killing 26 innocent people inside the sanctuary.
Pam and Scott Massey of Pasco were former members of First Baptist Church and they lost several loved ones in the massacre.
After weeks of sorrow and loss, the Masseys said faith and resolve have been reaffirmed in the little town.
The people of Sutherland Springs didn’t surrender to sadness, but instead they found light in the darkest of days.
During church service on Nov. 5, Pam got a phone call that would change her life.
“It was a pastor from another church. He told me he was there at the hospital with Jenni, she was okay—but the baby and Danny were gone,” she said.
They lost eight family members in the massacre, including their son-in-law Danny Holcombe and 18-month-old granddaughter, Noah.
“You don't know until you actually do go through it,” Scott said. “It’s been hard.”
Danny and his daughter were inseparable.
“Danny loved his daughter, Noah was his whole world next to Jenni,” Pam said. “From the moment she was born, you could tell he was hooked."
Those who knew little Noah say she was a gift from God and brought love and joy to everyone she met.
“Noah, that girl, she was something else,” Ryan Massey said of his niece. “She was always smiling.”
Pam said she’s sad she’ll never see her granddaughter grow up.
“But as a mother my heart breaks for Jenni because she had this baby, and now she doesn't have her,” Pam said. “She's left all alone.”
Mourners came from across the nation to show support for this small town.
The scene of the unspeakable crime was transformed into a tribute to those who lost their lives. Folding chairs stood where the victims were said to have been worshiping at the time of the shooting.
“You'll always have the memories and that's what counts,” Scott said.
Propelled by their Christian faith, the Massey’s say they find comfort in knowing their loved ones are in heaven.
“To us Noah is still alive,” Pam said. “She's just changed her citizenship.”
As a survivor, Jenni said she’s been given a new purpose in life—helping others.
Even in the face of this unspeakable tragedy, the Massey’s say the people of Texas are finding joy and strength.
“The people are standing up and fighting and saying, ‘Satan's not getting us down, Jesus lives and he's our light,’” Pam said.
“People in Texas are really strong and they can hold together,” said Ryan Massey, Pam and Scott’s son. “They can come together as a family in a situation like this.”
Like Jenni, the Massey’s said so many souls have been touched since that tragic day, bringing people and families closer together.
“So many people say the people that lost their lives would willingly have one it just to see what is happening,” Pam said.
The Massey’s said it was overwhelming to see how many came from all over to help in the healing process. They say good can come from an event like this. It’s resurrected community, love and companionship within humankind.
“I think it shows you how many good people are out there willing to help and willing to give a hand in any fashion or form,” Scott said. “There's more good out there than any other thing.”
The Massey’s have emerged from the tragedy with unrelenting positivity.
“You have to be grateful for the little things in life,” said Nick Massey, Pam and Scott’s son.
Like the people of Sutherland Springs, the Massey’s are choosing to go forward in faith, not fear.
Pam said the people of Sutherland Springs are light for their community and the rest of the world.
“They’re proving that God does exist. He chose who was going to remain. Why? We don’t know,” Pam said.
“But one day the [survivors] are going to tell their story. God's going to use it.”