A November Note from Pastor Rich


Well, I drove down the highway on my birthday listening to the news about what had happened that very day in Roseburg, Oregon. I couldn’t believe my ears at first and then it settled in; murderous evil had hit again at Umpqua Community College. I began to weep and could barely drive. My heart broke for an entire community. All of us have watched the events unfold around Roseburg as the stories came out. Oregon Pastor Randy Scroggins spoke poignantly to his congregation in that devastated community three days later. From his pulpit at New Beginnings Church, Scroggins referenced his daughter who was in the classroom where most of the killings occurred. He then turned his attention to the shooter and said, “I don’t focus on the man. I focus on the evil in the man. He is dead, and evil is still alive. So don’t focus on him; there is something far worse, the evil that controlled him.” Addressing the evil within us is of much greater value than cursing the evil that is all around us, and that can only be done through Christ.

Allow me to tell you just one story. This involves Lacey Scroggins, Pastor Randy Scroggins’ daughter. The first thing Lacey heard was a pop from outside the classroom in the college’s Snyder Hall. Then the shooter entered the class and fired two shots into the ceiling. At that point Lacey realized her teacher was down. She went to the floor thinking this was some kind of drill. Suddenly, she knew the teacher was dead and this was no drill. She lay on the floor, waiting for what she thought might be the inevitable. She had her eyes closed thinking, “O God, this is the day I am going to die.” She put her head down, lying in a prone position, her arms in front of her and her head in her arms. She remembers the shooter picking out a student by the color of his clothing. He said, “You in the orange shirt, stand up.” She remembers him asking “What religion are you? Are you a Christian?” and the student said “Yes.” She heard another pop and a thud as his body hit the floor.

One by one, the shooter told other students to stand and asked each one the same question. If they answered “yes,” Lacey, who had her eyes tightly shut, heard the pop and then the same thud. If they answered “no,” she heard the pop and then a scream of pain, because he only shot to injure them, and then the thud.

One of those that answered “Yes” was Treven Anspach. He had celebrated his 20th birthday in September. He shifted his dying body and covered up 18-year-old Lacey Scroggins. Lacey knew Anspach from a previous high school she had attended for three years. She didn’t know him well, but she did recognize him. At one point, Lacey opened her eyes and watched Treven’s blood come down under her arm and soon she was covered with his blood. She heard a gurgling sound coming from his throat and realized that he was dying. The shooter said to another person, referring to Lacey, “Is she dead?” That person said, “I don’t know.” Then Lacey heard him say, “She must already be dead,” and passed over her. It was because she was covered in so much of Treven’s blood.

The horror in Snyder Hall only ended when police stormed the room. It was later revealed that the gunman took his own life after exchanging fire with police.

Lacey, who has dreams of becoming a surgeon, was on her fourth day at Umpqua Community College. Now Lacey, a caregiver at a senior living center in Roseburg, Oregon, is convinced that she owes her life to Treven Anspach.

Have you ever heard anything like this before? One man covers another person with his own blood so the latter may be saved. Not only does some good come out of tragedy, but it is the picture of the Gospel itself. “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:9)

Serving Christ Together,
Pastor Rich