Member News

May 2023 Special Member Letter

May 7, 2023

Dear Brethren,

A horrible tragedy took place yesterday, May 6, in Allen, Texas, at the Allen Premium Outlet Mall, just minutes away from the Church office. A shooter, dressed in black, roamed this outdoor mall, firing shots randomly, killing at least eight people and sending another seven to the hospital.

The Allen Premium Outlet Mall is used by many people from this region. Numerous Church members live in Allen and McKinney and regularly shop at this mall and work in the general area. Our FI students are housed in apartments only a short distance away. I am convinced that if this shooting had taken place on any other day of the week besides the Sabbath, Church members could have been shopping at this mall.

As always, many tragic stories are coming out of yesterday’s shooting. One of the victims was a 5-year old who was simply walking between stores with his family when he was tragically killed.

According to the latest statistics, in the United States there have been 199 mass shootings this year alone, which is more than one per day. But this one was close to home. This morning I was struck by the clarity of the prophecy in Ezekiel 7:23: “Make a chain, for the land is filled with crimes of blood, and the city is full of violence.” This is a prophecy directed at Israel, but it sadly describes our modern day all too well. This seems to be the direction our society is going—wreaking violence on each other, killing and maiming our fellow man. Clearly, these perpetrators are demented and influenced by the god of this world, and tragically, their numbers seem to be increasing. Of course, from Bible prophecy we know that things will only get worse as we approach the day of Christ’s return.

At times such as these, we ask, What should we do? Christ’s example shows us that we should begin by praying for those whose lives have been forever changed—the victims of this random shooting. As Christians, we must have compassion on all people, especially those who are suffering. I am sure we already pray each day for our own protection, as we must live and work in this world, but we must be even more diligent, asking God to put His angels about us and keep us safe from the violence that is all around us.

We must not forget that in the final analysis, God the Father will offer salvation to all mankind. Today the world is truly in chaos, with thousands being killed in shootings, in wars, in floods, in earthquakes, etc. Each person has been created in the image of God, with the potential of being in the very family of God. All of these deaths are tragic, but the violence and randomness of yesterday’s shooting add a new level of sadness and tragedy to all our lives, and especially for those who were directly affected.

This recent incident struck close to home, but God’s Word reveals that this type of behavior will come to all our cities and near all our homes in the times ahead. The only real solution to such chaos and violence is a change in the human spirit. Such a conversion will be possible on a global scale only after the return of Jesus Christ. May we all continue to fervently pray, “Thy kingdom come”!

Sincerely, your brother in Christ,

Jim Franks