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Letters to the Editor
Lincoln Daily News
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Lincoln, IL  62656

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Thank you, and a message of hope for the community of Beason

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To the editor:

During the week of Sept. 20, evil came to visit a small rural community when a family of five was brutally murdered and a little girl was seriously injured.

As pastor of the only church in this community I have seen the effects of evil's visit firsthand. Children were pulled from school, parents too afraid to allow their children to leave the protection of their homes, and the children too shocked and saddened to be able to deal with the trauma. Elderly women, living alone, stood behind locked doors, peering anxiously from between the curtains, wanting some assurance that they were safe and would remain so. Men and women who responded, either as emergency caregivers or as members of law enforcement, searched for some clue for long hours -- the strain etched on their faces.

What could I tell these people? That everything would be all right; that there was nothing to fear; that their community would recover? What could anyone do at a time like this?

We turned to the church. Prayers were offered, songs of supplication and grief were sung; God's Word was spoken. Comfort was sought and comfort was received. People reached to grasp another's hand. Tears were shed, memories were shared. The community of faith gathered, and in the words of Jesus, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Quiet hours were held during the week at the church, and people came, seeking the silence and comfort of a place of worship, this holy place where love lives. A healing service was held, where people gathered together to begin the journey back from the dark abyss to a place of healing and renewal.

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I don't know how long it will take, but I know this little town will survive. It won't be the same, but it can be even stronger than it was. It can be even more loving and compassionate than it was, for the people have seen the outpouring of love and compassion from throughout the nation for them and for their community -- and having experienced it, they are ready to model it to others.

To those who have prayed for us and grieved for us, we thank you. We thank those who rushed to the scene and did the terrible work that had to be done; we thank you. To those who still work to bring justice, we thank you, and to those who care for little Tabitha, we thank you. And for all who have helped financially, we thank you. The fundraising continues and the proceeds will be used to offset funeral expenses and expenses relating to the care of little Tabitha.

Yes, evil came to visit, but evil WILL be defeated. Good will triumph and God will lead these men and women, boys and girls through the "valley of death" into a new day and an even stronger community than it was before.

To all of you, I say a sincere thank you and may God bless you all -- and may He bless Beason.

Pastor Dayle Badman
Beason United Methodist Church

[Posted October 17, 2009]

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