Josh Powell’s pastor is speaking out in a statement e-mailed to FOX 13.
Pastor Timothy Atkins of the First Bible Church was among those who received an e-mail from Powell just before he killed his two children and then himself in a fire on Sunday. Atkins forwarded Powell’s e-mail to FOX 13, which said simply: “I’m sorry. Good bye.”
He released this statement:
“We are all greatly impacted by the news in our community of the suicide of Josh Powell and the murder of his sons, Charlie and Braden. This has been a very difficult time for all of us as we look to the Lord God for His strength and hope. My family has been deeply affected because of my relationship with Josh as a neighbor, a pastor, and a friend. My wife and I have four children, three of whom attended school with Charlie at Carson Elementary School.
Although we had questions about the disappearance of Susan Powell, we made efforts to minister to him through giving counsel in making needed changes in his life and by speaking about the truth of the Gospel with him, showing him how he might receive salvation through Jesus Christ. We often quoted in our discussions the truth of Romans 10:11-13 “For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed . . . Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
In October 2011, I helped Josh move from our neighborhood into the house in Graham. In November 2011, Josh asked us to assist him with child visitation by supervising visits with his sons. We were supervising weekly visits in our home for The Department of Social and Health Services between Josh, Charlie and Braden. Our children would play together during these visits.
I spoke with Josh on the phone Thursday night last week, and like so many others it seems, there was no indication of a problem or a change in his outlook. Josh spoke with me during that phone conversation about seeing him Sunday evening following the Sunday afternoon visit with his sons. We are continuing to be in prayer for the Cox family and the Powell family that they may receive mercy and find grace to help in this time of need. We are asking for the Lord’s strength in our lives and the lives of all of us who need His help because of these shocking events.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Looking to the Lord Jesus,
Pastor Timothy Atkins”