GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A local woman and her husband have been living in La Vernia, Texas for the last month. As part of their organization, the couple rebuilds and upgrades churches across the country, while--at the same time--helping women's ministries in the area.
The church they're working with in Wilson County is just two miles away from the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.
"We're on the border of La Vernia, Texas and Sutherland Springs, Texas," Margaret Heaton said. "They came and locked us down. We were not able to--they didn't want any of us to leave the church. At that point they didn't know it there was two shooters or one."
All she knew was that there was an active shooter down the road.
"We didn't know anything that was going on except there were at least two dead out in the yard of the church," Heaton said.
So Heaton did the only thing she could do.
"It was a time of holding hands, and gathering people to pray and just letting people use our shoulders to cry on," Heaton said. "I sat on the porch of the church all afternoon watching ambulance after ambulance after ambulance go by with the flaring lights."
Over the last couple of days, Heaton has been offering her shoulder, her prayers and her love to that community.
"It's very hard, to sit and listen to the horror stories and I won't share any of the horror stories because they are just horrible," Heaton said. "How do you tell somebody that just lost four people in their family that it's going to be ok. I don't know if it's going to be ok; your life will never be the same."
She knows that she and her husband are meant to be there.
"God you put me here to use to help people up, and I can do that, when I'm with people I can do that," Heaton said.
But she can't help but think about her home in West Michigan.
"Montague and White Hall mean so much to me and I'm no different than the folks down here. They love this area and there's generations and generations down here that have never left this area," Heaton said.
"They're no different down here, they love and they have family, they have football games and things that they go to. You put your Crockpot on before church and when you get home you unplug it. These people never went home. They're just like us."
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