Photo: Retired pastor Julián Moreno, lost his great-granddaughter during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24th. Patricia Lim/KUT
“This community will eventually overcome all this. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick. We’ll need support. But we’ll regain our strength, mostly with the help of churches,” said Pastor Julian Moreno of the Primera Iglesia Baptist church in Uvalde, Texas.
A retired Baptist pastor in Uvalde, Moreno stood at the pulpit once again last week to console his congregation after a deadly school shooting on May 24th, reports Premier Christian News. He has preached for 50 years in the city’s 113-year-old bilingual church, and with sorrow in his heart, he spoke of his great-granddaughter who was among the 19 children gunned down inside Robb Elementary School.
The former pastor is still grieving on the fate of his great-granddaughter, 10-year-old Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, but he held the vigil to be strong for the community. Moreno asked for prayers for the families who lost their loved ones during the mass shooting. “Let us not forget to pray for these families that have been affected,” he urged his congregation. “In my family’s case we grieve the loss of our beautiful Lexi, a fourth grader with dreams and aspirations.”
This community will eventually overcome all this. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick. We’ll need support. But we’ll regain our strength, mostly with the help of churches. —Pastor Julian Moreno, Primera Iglesia Baptist church, Uvalde, Texas
Holding back tears, Moreno said Lexi “is now in a place where there is no pain, no tears, no night and no death. She is with Jesus now, and she is not aware of the pain left behind.”
Baptist leaders across the state attended the service and vowed support to anyone in need in the community. Uvalde is one of the poorest areas in Texas. Churches and several organizations pledged support to the families of the victims and survivors of the carnage.
In an interview before the service, Moreno shared that he was outside his home tending to his garden when he heard loud noises he thought was from a nearby construction. His house was just a block away from the school and when he heard screams from neighbors and saw people running toward the school did he realize the noise was gunfire, reports National Public Radio.
“I knew that the arms were high-powered because it was very loud,” he recalled. “When I got close to the school, I heard two officers, one of them said the guy went into the building. I knew that that’s where my great-granddaughter was at. I prayed for a miracle, but also resigned myself to the worst.”
Losing his great-granddaughter was a devastating blow to his family, but the 82-year-old revealed that he does not hate the 18-year-old shooter. “He took something from our lives, but God’s love reminds me that I’m not here to judge a person.”
Pastor Moreno concluded his service, “So to our community, seek God’s comfort, find strength for the painful days ahead. There are funerals to attend. And I pray that these words will bring some strength in your life.”