An online fundraiser for the family of a Texas pastor killed in a roadside accident passed the $250,000 mark Wednesday thanks to donations from friends, acquaintances and even individuals who didn’t know the minister.
John Powell, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Caney, Texas, was killed Saturday on a highway when he was hit by a semi-truck while helping a stranger who was stranded on the side of the road. He was 38.
Powell was survived by a wife, Katherine, and four young children.
A GoFundMe account set up for the family passed $250,000 Wednesday and stood at $262,000 Thursday morning. More than 2,500 people had donated.
Andrew Walker, a family friend who set up the account, said he was astonished by the outpouring of support. Walker is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which Powell attended.
“The global body of Christ is a living portrait of Romans 12:15: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep,’” Walker tweeted.
To my utter astonishment, a few minutes ago, the Go Fund Me set up to care for the family of John Powell crossed $250K. The global body of Christ is a living portrait of Romans 12:15: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." https://t.co/ziDVXMLl1a— Andrew T. Walker (@andrewtwalk) July 22, 2020
On the GoFundMe page, Walker said Powell was “a devoted husband and an incredible father.”
“In true form, this servant and gentle leader we all knew and love gave his life so that others may live. His life embodies what his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, said, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13),” Walker wrote. “... We are asking for friends and family to help care for the Powell family as they deal with unspeakable tragedy and grief.”
One person who donated money wrote, “I didn't know John or his family but read about what happened and felt called to give.”
Another person who donated added, “I donated because I lost my husband with a child still at home and can relate. Be encouraged, God will shelter you and your children under His wings until this violent storm has passed. Ps 37:1-3.”
Photo courtesy: Katherine Powell GoFundMe
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.