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Coping with an unimaginable loss

Karen and I are sitting in the Paris airport coming home from Romania. We’re still a little numb.   Yesterday an AIM participant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was killed in an automobile accident.  I’m not going to mention her name in case word hasn’t gotten out to everyone yet. …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Karen and I are sitting in the Paris airport coming home from Romania. We’re still a little numb.
Yesterday an AIM participant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was killed in an automobile accident.  I’m not going to mention her name in case word hasn’t gotten out to everyone yet. But I’m told she was a real star – a young lady who set an example to everyone she touched. Certainly she did so by following God’s call on her life and ministering to
the poor in South Africa. She loved Jesus and died serving him, and I thank
God for her life.
Last night we called her parents. It makes you ask, “What are the limits to what God expects of us?” I know he wants to give everything to him, but this is beyond heart-breaking.

God has called us to a road that is sometimes more than we can bear. And this feels like one of those times. I’ll share more when I’m able.
Some of you have had to deal with tragedy. It is so hard to make sense of events like this. Please pray for the family as they cope with this unimaginable loss. And if you have words of consolation that we can pass along, please feel free to share them.

Comments (19)

  • Words seem insufficient. So so sorry for your loss. My brother was 17 when he died. He had been a follower of Jesus for just four and a half months, but the ripples still spread out now 30 years on in the lives he touched so deeply in that short time. I don’t have any answers, it still makes no sense, but I know God took the bad and made some amazing good out of it. Guess that’s why He’s called Redeemer. Knowing that for me doesn’t take the pain away, but it does give it some meaning and that helps a little. He will be working for good in this for you too, even if it doesn’t look like it for a while. Huge love to you all. May the strong arms of Jesus hold you tight as He weeps with you. xxxxxxx

  • Our prayers are with AIM and most importantly the family of this precious young gal! We send our sympathy and love!

  • This is every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s the fear we can’t really acknowledge (or we have to overcome) if we are to sleep when we send our kids out ‘with a hope and a prayer’… whether to school or to St. Louis or to South Africa. Please let the family know that we cry with them and ache with them and even challenge God right along side of them.

    Praying that in God’s greatest mystery, He will make His presence known to this family and to the larger AIM family in ways that bring comfort and courage to face each day and what it brings.

    Prayers for peace for you, Seth, and for Karen as you reach out and across the pain to minister to this family and to all at AIM who suffer this loss.


  • Some of my family members have experienced senseless loss after senseless loss. I have many times asked the questions you raised above, including, “Where were You, God????”

    Last week, as some of my family members gathered to pray for a niece, we were discussing this very subject. My 86-year-old dad related a story I will never forget. One time a prisoner asked Chuck Colson, “Where was God when…”, refering to the atrocities he had faced as a child. Chuck answered, “He was right at the same place He was when He watched His son die on the cross.”

    I don’t know if that’s any comfort at all, but for me, I want to remember that my Father God also suffered tremendous pain at that time. Jehovah sees, Jehovah knows.

  • Oh my heart breaks and bleeds for this family. What an unspeakable tragedy. Jesus, please be with them, please comfort them, please be present in all this pain.

  • dang, seth. i’m so sorry to hear about this. i can’t even imagine having to be in the position you’re in as the person who has to contact the parents. working at the children’s homes, we’ve had to tell several of the kids in our care that a parent passed away, but somehow, telling a parent that a child has been killed just seems so much more raw.

    praying for this missionary’s family, the AIM family, and you, my brother.

  • praying for her family and all those around who were with her in ministry, and Seth and Karen and other AIM staff involved.

  • Praise Jesus for salvation……………even when our hearts break, we can celabrate in knowing whom she served.

  • praying continously for this family, you and Karen and all involved ya’ll have constantly been on my heart!!! May you all be blessed and overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord!!

  • She was on my team..what a beautiful friend and servant of Christ she was. We are all pulling together and trusting God with everything we’ve got in this time. None of us will ever be the same, knowing the impact she made on our lives.

  • My heart aches and grieves for you and the loss of your beloved daughter. I too am a parent of 2 grown daughters who both love the Lord, and one of them is currently on The World Race. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through and how your hearts are grieving. How incredibly proud you must be of her!! To give up so much and to give all she had emotionally and physically to love and serve the poor is rarely seen, especially in today’s society. I am very sorry you didn’t get a chance to see her and tell her just one more time how much you love her. I am certain though she knew that. She is now resting safely in the arms of Jesus. My husband and I will be praying for you and your family as you try to cope even if it’s just an hour or a minumte at a time.

  • My prayers for comfort, peace, and rest for the family, team, you and Karen, and all touched by her are pouring out at the Father’s feet. Her faith and life will certainly have an impact beyond today, people like that live on in others and in memory :-). I am so sorry for the loss of this precious sister in the Lord… The kingdom has another beautiful lover of God up there, sounds like.

  • To our sister’s parents I say; Thank you!! You light up this dark world with a “Real Star” and share something special in common with God, Who gave His only Son for a dying world. He knows exactly how you feel… He’s the God of all mercies and the Father of all comfort… IICor 1:3. May His soothing grace abound towards you and yours this trying season. I mourn with you.

  • Buller was an amazing teammate and friend. She was kind, enthusiastic, talented, optimistic, and filled from her head to her toes with the Holy Spirit. She always knew what to say to me whenever I was having doubts. Our lives will never be the same without her. Will continue to pray for the Bullers.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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