For immediate release
March 20, 2003
A family in the midst of tragedy received special service and help from Abilene Christian University students on a Spring Break Campaign in Denver.
The 20 ACU students traveled to Denver intending to spend their week working with Lakewood Church of Christ's inner-city teen ministry. But God had other plans.
The group arrived just three days after a Denver tragedy unfolded. A Denver resident had been accidentally shot and killed by his son while teaching him gun safety and how to use the weapon in case of an intruder.
Because the family was not associated with any church but had some friends at Lakewood Church of Christ, the church offered to help with the funeral. The ACU students realized that the Lakewood church members who had full-time jobs would be hard pressed to plan and execute the funeral and reception, said campaign leader Melanie McRay, junior Christian ministry major from Houston.
"We said, 'Let us do this for you,'" McRay said. "We hoped that we would be able to do something positive in this horrific situation."
The funeral, which took place Mar. 11, was a large one, McCrary said, as the man was active and well known in the community. The ACU spring break campaign students took care of all the details, from preparing food for a meal afterwards to actually singing at the funeral. In addition, the group held a prayer vigil throughout the service.
"It was such an incredible blessing," McCrary said. "His wife came to me and said, 'You just don't know how loved I feel. You don't even know me. I can't believe that you all would do all this for me.' It ended up being a way for some people to really experience God's love." The family and the ACU students were not the only ones affected by their unexpected service.
"The ACU students worked Monday and Tuesday setting up the food, cleaning the building, ushering at the funeral, helping with parking, answering phones, singing, and praying throughout the service for the family and the outreach that might be done through these tragic circumstances," said Gaydene DeJaynes office manager at Lakewood Church of Christ. "We believe that God sent them here for the unusual circumstances of this week. We would like to thank ACU for sending a wonderful group of campaign students to our location for their spring break."
Last summer, Lakewood received more permanent help from ACU when Reg Cox, who worked at ACU for 15 years in areas such as advising, retention, and most recently, residential life, left ACU to serve as preaching minister at Lakewood Church of Christ.
If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, university news coordinator.