Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Missionary Reflection on the Shooting in Norway

Candles and flowers placed in remembrance of victims
at an anchor memorial, itself a monument to hope
Photo: Courtesy of Helen Lovelace 

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your prayers, your thoughts, and greetings. We are still in Norway but will soon go back to Kiev.

We spent most of the time talking about what has happened, listening to the stories of the young people who survived the shooting at Utøya.

One woman we talked with in church told us about a young man from the area who was holding his friend who was shot in the neck, trying to stop the blood flow. Then the gunman reappeared, and he had to make a decision--stay with his friend or run for his life. He ran, but feels wracked with guilt that he had to leave his friend. 

Another young man who had been at the camp we overheard talking to people in Kragerø (where we have our house) said he was shot at while swimming away. He survived but cannot sleep. We were standing near the memorial where people were lighting candles, and this young man said it helped to see people cared. Prayers are needed for these young people who are recovering.

We are sad, we are shocked. But, instead of words like revenge and hate, we hear words like love, care, fellowship. We want more humanity and more democracy, and an even more open country. I am proud to be a part of a country that, instead of showing hate, is showing love and care in the situation we are in.

Today we have taken part in a moment of silence, we have walked with roses in support of those who were killed. In my small town, almost 2,000 people walked from the church to the town hall with roses. [Above] is a picture from my town: candles and flowers placed in remembrance of the victims at an anchor memorial, itself a monument to hope--as an anchor is in a storm.

C Bogom,

Helen and Bill

Bill and Helen Lovelace are missionaries serving in Kiev, Ukraine. Helen is a native of Norway and they were visiting Norway at the time of the recent bomb explosion and the tragic shooting of so many young people. True to their calling to be a Christian presence in the world, Helen and Bill accompanied the people of Norway in their grief.

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