Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us


A young person later told us most of the kids had gone to sleep when they got on the bus. The first noise he heard was a scream. He jumped up and saw our youth pastor in the stairwell caught in flames. The pastor said to the young people, “I’m not going to make it. Please get off the bus as quickly as you can.” He lifted his hands and said, “I’m going home.” Those were his last words.

Miraculously, Allen made it off the bus with the survivors.

On Sunday morning, Don went to Carrollton to meet with the families at the Holiday Inn and to help identify bodies. I stayed to lead our church service. About 1,500 people filled our sanctuary. I preached, gave the altar call, and 40 people accepted Jesus as Savior. After the service a reporter from CBS came up to me with a microphone in his hand.

He said, “I understand you’re the pastor’s wife of this church.”

“Yes sir, I am.”

“I want to ask you a question. How’s your faith in God now?”

I grabbed that microphone. “Sir,” I said, “I’ve never cried as much in my life as I have the last few hours. I’ve never walked through a valley as low as I’m walking today, but I’ve never felt the grace and the strength and the power and the anointing of Almighty God any greater than I feel it right now.” I talked to him for about 10 minutes.

“Ma’am,” he said, “I didn’t want a sermon. I just asked a question.”

The network put me on the air just like I said it. They didn’t edit a thing. For 10 minutes on the CBS national news I preached about the grace of God.

We started having the funerals Thursday. My husband preached 16 funerals in 48 hours. We began burying our loved ones at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The last interment was at 4 on Saturday afternoon.

Tragedy can overwhelm us, destroying any chance of recovery to a full life. But God’s grace was so evident among the families who endured loss. Several examples will stay with me forever.

I remember Dotty Pearman. Dotty’s husband, John, our associate pastor, was driving the bus. He left a 7-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son, a 14-year-old daughter and a 34-year-old widow.

Dotty had to stay in the hospital many months with her 14-year-old daughter. The girl had been on the bus and was burned over 65 percent of her body. She was not able to return to church immediately after the tragedy.

The first Sunday Dotty came back to church, she walked up to the platform to sing with the praise team. We began to sing a song, “Hallelujah, Praise the Lamb.”

Dotty remembers saying to herself, I can’t sing that. I have nothing to praise You for, God. I am a widow with no way to make a living. I have a daughter burnt beyond recognition.


E-mail this page to a friend.
©1999-2009 General Council of the Assemblies of God