Slaughter of Little Girls in an Amish Schoolhouse


And God will wipe away
every tear from their eyes;
there shall be no more death,
nor sorrow, nor crying.
There shall be no more pain,
for the former things have passed away.

(Revelation 21:4 NKJV)  


How could one ever find the words to express the horror of what happened in this small community of God-fearing people who want nothing more in this world than to be left alone in peace to work their lands, raise their families, and walk with the Lord in simplicity? For them, violence is an unspeakable evil, and they cherish their children second only to their relationship with God. That such malicious violence should visit their small community, and attack ten little girls in their schoolhouse is beyond human comprehension.

When I arrived here last Thursday, I found a community in shock. People, from non-Amish responders to the Amish themselves had that certain blank stare I've seen before on the faces of those exposed to the highly-toxic experience of violence against their children. I admired the way the local non-Amish community rallied to the support of their Amish neighbors, and observed the local police and firefighters doing their very best to protect and shield them from the harsh glare of public scrutiny from the outside.

The thing that most impressed me, as I spoke to various members of the Amish community in private times, was the gracious, gentle, and compassionate sense of community each felt for others. Out of respect for their customs, I cannot go into detail. What I can tell you is that even in the face of bone-crushing grief and sorrow, I witnessed members of this community--even those who lost children--reaching out with genuine Christian love and forgiveness to the family of the man who did this unspeakable evil to them. Christ's teachings about "love your enemies, and do good to those who mistreat you" is not just a platitude to these people. They walk the talk.

Because of the unique circumstances related to the customs of this community, I will not share further details. You will not see any pictures of people in this community on this website, except for the ones above of the school and buggy. I know many of you who support my ministry would like a more through report, but I hope you will understand that it would not be appropriate to do so in these special circumstances. I've made some new friends among these folks, and will not violate, more than I already have, their wishes and customs. All I can tell you is that I have had numerous, precious, fruitful, and hopefully comforting interactions with some of them, and we all must continue to lift them up in prayer that our heavenly Father will heal their hearts and bring them to better days.

Pray also for the local first responder community who endured the incredibly painful realities in the aftermath of this attack. They have proven themselves faithful servants to their Amish neighbors, and continue to do all they can to help them during this difficult time. They all have my profound respect, and we can only hope that we all could have the same level of professionalism and dedication to duty while carrying such personal pain.


Amish leadership issues statement of thanks for outpouring of love
By Lancaster Online Staff

Published: Oct 10, 2006 5:29 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - The statement that follows was released today by the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee on behalf of the people of Nickel Mines and the surrounding communities that were affected by the shooting at the Nickel Mines Amish School:

Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania – On October 2 seven Amish families in our community experienced the unimaginable -- ten of their young daughters were shot, five fatally, by a gunman who invaded the Amish school where their children attended.

The whole community, Amish and others, were horrified and shocked that such evil could be done to the most innocent members of our peaceful community.

Messages of condolence and care, financial contributions, and offers of all kinds of assistance began to pour into the community almost immediately from the local community and from around the world.

We, the people of the Nickel Mines community, are humbled and deeply thankful for this outpouring of love. Each act of kindness, the prayers and every gift, small or large, comfort us and assure us that our spirits will heal even though the painful loss will always be with us.

Thank you for your generous kindness and for walking with us in this “valley of death”. We wish we could thank each of you personally.

In those first hours and days we experienced personally the love and care of our neighbors and the public and private service providers as they responded tirelessly and selflessly.

Specifically, we acknowledge and thank the following: volunteer fire companies, especially the Bart Township fire company; fire police; Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department; Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement people; ambulance and emergency response teams; hospitals and all the related medical providers; coroners; churches; community volunteer groups; transportation providers; and the Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service, the Anabaptist Foundation and the numerous banks and businesses that are collecting funds. To all those we failed to mention, thank you, and apologies for not naming you.

We thank people from the news media who sensitively reported our tragedy to the world and in many cases wrote thoughtful commentary that helped the world grapple with values that are dear to us -- forgiveness, non-violence, mutual caring, simplicity and life in a community of faith. Above all, thank you for the acts of kindness you showed us even while you were doing your reporting work.

The Roberts family is also suffering. Please join us in showering care on them, praying for them and in assisting them with financial needs that they face.

We have organized the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee to receive contributions and apply them to the needs that resulted from the shootings: medical and counseling services, transportation for victims, transportation and extra living expenses for family members attending to the victims, rehabilitation, long-term disability care, modifications to homes or schools if needed to make facilities handicap accessible, and any other expenses resulting from the event.

If adequate funds are received contributions may be made to charity funds of health service providers and to volunteer public service entities that responded to this event without charging for their services. Funds received in excess of what is needed to respond to the Nickel Mines Amish School tragedy will be contributed, as the committee deems appropriate, to needs arising from other tragic events within or outside the Amish community.

Thank you and God bless you.


Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

 (Isaiah 40:1 NIV)  



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