(UVALDE, Texas) — As the Uvalde, Texas, community mourns the unimaginable loss of 19 children and two teachers killed in a mass shooting, one man of faith called it his hardest day as a pastor, but remains strong in the belief that “God’s grace” will get them through.
Pastor Doug Swimmer from The Potter’s House Church Of Uvalde, a nondenominational local church, joined ABC News’ Good Morning America Wednesday in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting.
“When you see these families broken in this manner, what the world needs and what our community needs is a light that shines in the darkness and that’s who we are as Uvaldians,” Swimmer said.
Swimmer said that immediately following the news, his wife encouraged him to go down to the hospital where he “announced myself as a pastor and we got to pray with everybody there in the waiting area.”
“It’s been very difficult for me as a pastor to see our community in this tragic time,” he said. “But I know that one thing that is going to help us through is God’s grace and God’s love.”
Swimmer, who has worked closely with the families in Uvalde both through his ministry and as a physical therapy technician, said they are a tight-knit community.
“We see them at Walmart, we see them at HEB — at football games — we see each other practically every day in the community and we’re very close,” he said. “I just want to give my condolences to the families, all those that have helped this community, the DPS officers, the surrounding counties that have come in that have helped us. We are grateful and we’re thankful and this community is going to pull together and we will get through this.”
He also highlighted how he hopes faith in this difficult time can bring a sense of healing.
“There’s always going to be [tragedy] in life, but I know that one thing that we as Texans understand is that God is still God and He is able to heal. He is able to bring comfort in times of distress,” Swimmer said. “We’re Uvalde strong but also as a community. We’re here to let everyone know that we feel your prayers and we are thankful and we will get through this because we’re Uvalde strong.”
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