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Missionary Left Nashville Christian School Minutes Before Shooting: 'Lord, Be with Us'

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Missionary Left Nashville Christian School Minutes Before Shooting: 'Lord, Be with Us'

Missionary Left Nashville Christian School Minutes Before Shooting: 'Lord, Be with Us'

A medical missionary who spoke in the chapel at The Covenant School in Nashville the morning of Monday’s mass shooting is requesting prayer for the school and urging society to take action on violence in schools.

Britney Grayson, a doctor at AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya, spoke to the children at The Covenant School Monday less than an hour before the shooting. Grayson drove away minutes before the gunman, Audrey Hale, entered the school and killed three children and three adults. Surveillance footage released by Nashville police shows Hale, 28, holding a rifle and firing through the glass of the locked doors. Hale then walked through the opening.

Grayson’s post on Twitter and Facebook included a photo of her teaching the children.

“The kids were great. We taught them about life in Kenya, some Swahili words, and what it means to be a missionary,” Grayson wrote. “We drove away at 10:12am and less than 20 minutes later, at least 3 children were shot right there on the campus. There are no words for this feeling. I think the normal feeling is supposed to be relief – relief that we were already gone and our lives are safe. But to do what I do makes me literally one of the most qualified people on the planet to help in that situation. Why had we driven away just minutes before? Could I have helped those children if we were still there? I feel guilty for being safe.”

Hale, a former student, had conducted surveillance of the building and had drawn out a detailed map of the school, police said. Police received the initial call about a shooter at 10:13 a.m., according to the Associated Press. At 10:27 a.m., two officers from a five-member team shot and killed Hale.

Monday’s tragedy was the eighth mass killing at a K-12 school since 2006, according to a Northeastern University database that defines “mass” killing as four or more people dying, excluding the shooter. A separate database run by The Washington Post that uses a broader definition says there have been 376 school shootings in the U.S. since the Columbine massacre in 1999.

“WHY ARE OUR CHILDREN BEING MASSACRED IN THEIR SCHOOLS?! I have no idea when this country will have had enough and I'm utterly, completely, totally shocked that, as a nation, we aren't there yet,” Grayson wrote. “I have personally operated on a school shooting victim. I have told too many parents and family members that their loved ones are dead as a result of gun violence. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

Grayson added, “3 children are confirmed dead. 3 children who learned the word ‘Jambo’ this morning from us in chapel. 3 children who were learning all the verses of Amazing Grace to sing for grandparents day next week. 3 children who didn't have to die. Lord be with us. Lord, be with us.”

Across the nation, Christian leaders called for prayer.

“I've been to The Covenant School in Nashville – wonderful people with a gospel passion and a love for students,” tweeted Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. “My heart is broken for the school, teachers, parents, kids... and for my nation where school shootings happen with heartbreaking regularity.”

“Please join me in praying for the students, faculty, staff, and families of The Covenant School in Nashville, TN, in the wake of a shooting this morning where at least three children and three adults are reported dead,” tweeted Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “May God comfort and uphold these families.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is deploying chaplains to the school.

“We mourn with & pray for families that lost loved ones, including children, & for the students who witnessed such horror in the Covenant School shooting in Nashville,” pastor Jim Cymbal of The Brooklyn Tabernacle tweeted. “Lord, strengthen the believers as they bring the hope of the gospel to their suffering community amid this tragedy!”

Religion writer Shane Claiborne called for change, writing, "It will be a beautiful day when we decide to protect kids rather than assault rifles. The Nashville shooter had “2 assault rifles and a handgun.” Military weapons don’t belong on our streets. They are designed for one purpose: to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible… and that’s exactly what they keep getting used for.


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Seth Herald/Stringer

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-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Missionary Left Nashville Christian School Minutes Before Shooting: 'Lord, Be with Us'