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El Paso Pastor Clings to Faith After His Daughter Was Shot in Walmart: ‘God Has a Purpose’

08-08-2019
In this Aug. 6, 2019 file photo, a man hangs up an "El Paso Strong" sign at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas.  (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
In this Aug. 6, 2019 file photo, a man hangs up an "El Paso Strong" sign at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

A pastor and a father from El Paso received a call Saturday no dad ever wants to answer: one of his daughters had been shot.

Michael Grady, the pastor of Prince of Peace Christian Fellowship, learned his 33-year-old daughter, Michelle, had just been shot three times and was laying in a pool of blood at their local Walmart, where a shooter had just gunned down dozens of others, ultimately killing 22 people.

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Despite her shock and pain, Michelle was able to reach for her mobile phone and call her mom, Jeneverlyn, according to the Los Angeles Times.

As soon as Jeneverlyn reached Walmart, she called Grady, who then raced to join them. He moved as quickly as he could, though just a few years ago he underwent a quadruple-bypass heart surgery, so he wasn’t moving as fast as he would have liked.

During the short drive that felt like an eternity, Grady prayed. And he hasn’t stopped since.

“I was asking God to make sure Michelle isn’t in a lot of pain or was suffering,” he told the newspaper. “That we would get through to her and find her. That was my prayer.”

The moment Grady saw his daughter, he knew the situation was bad. He knew she wasn’t OK in that moment, “but I told her she was going to be OK.”

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During an interview with NPR, Grady said he and his family have been praying “for divine intervention.” He explained Michelle was shot once in her hand and once in her back, while another bullet ricocheted through her pelvis.

“She’s just a beautiful, beautiful daughter,” he said. “We love her. And we’re praying, again, for divine intervention. And we’re mixing faith and medicine together so that, hopefully, she will be able to recover.”

An ambulance picked Michelle up from Walmart and rushed her to University Medical Center of El Paso, where they learned a bullet had entered their daughter’s right thigh and cracked her pelvis. Her middle finger had also been nearly blown off and her intestines were in a jumbled mess.

Michelle underwent one surgery immediately. She came through successfully. Doctors told Grady she would need another surgery, and possibly even more after that.

As they sat in the waiting room, Grady and his wife prayed — not asking for God to grant them a wish, but pleading for miraculous healing and divine understanding, regardless of the outcome.

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“I wouldn’t try to make excuses for God,” Grady told the Times. “God has a purpose, even in this. And he stands with you, and the people of God stand with you to cover you with love and grace and walk with you on this journey. It says ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death,’ not ‘stop in the valley of the shadow of death.’”

On Monday, Michelle’s breathing tube was removed. She couldn’t speak, but she did move her hands some. As she begins the long road of recovery, Grady said, “We will be here to try and dry the tears and let her know it will all be OK.”

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