Church, school reflect on faith of 5 young adults killed in car crash: 'We praised God, said our last goodbyes'
The tremendous faith of the five young adults killed in a car accident on their way home from a Bible college was highlighted by their classmates and peers at vigils held at their church and school last week.
According to KARK, students and teachers at Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas, joined together on Thursday for a balloon release to honor the lives of the young adults who lost their lives in a fatal car crash in Wyoming on their way back from visiting Jackson Hole Bible College.
The deceased included Sylvan Hills High School seniors Susana "Suzy" Prime and Ava Luplow, Salomon Correa, 21, Maggie Franco, 20, and 23-year-old Andrea Prime, Suzy's sister.
Juan Silva, a student at Jackson Hole Bible College in Wyoming, revealed the students were visiting him and died on their way home. He described his friends as “good representatives of Christ and living like Christ.
“We went to go eat and we were talking about the Lord … how good and wonderful His plans are,” he said. “We praised God and said our last goodbyes, but I didn’t know it was going to be our last goodbyes.”
“What’s comforted me a lot is Psalm 46:1 and it says that God is our refuge and strength … very present help in trouble,” Silva added.
Isaac Riley, who was close friends with the students, said his hope is in God in the midst of the heartbreak.
“Although I’m mourning, I’m also rejoicing,” he said.
At a Monday night memorial service held at Faith Bible Fellowship in Little Rock, the church the young adults attended, Elizabeth Conway, an admissions officer at Central Baptist College, revealed that Luplow had just sent her a testimony for a scholarship to attend the college and Suzy Prime was working on hers as well.
"They both just had those leader personalities, that's just how they were, every single one of them," she said, according to Arkansas Online. "It's just a blessing — we've all been talking about how they all had some unsaved family members and they were always, each and every one of them, were praying for someone that was unsaved in their family consistently at church."
The five young adults were driving on Interstate 80 two Sundays ago when a Dodge Ram was reported heading east in the westbound lanes.
The pickup truck collided with a passenger car and commercial truck, forcing another truck to swerve into the other side of the road where the driver collided head-on with the students' Ford F-150. The truck and the students' vehicle were engulfed in flames, killing the five young adults and leaving others with critical injuries.
According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, 57-year-old Arthur Nelson was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired. He was charged with 11 crimes, five of which are for aggravated homicide by vehicle.
Conway said the grieving community is clinging to their faith and taking comfort in the fact that the young people knew the Lord.
"There's a different kind of peace that comes from ... we know for sure that every single one of them knew the Lord and that's just a blessing to know that they are probably dancing on streets of gold right now. It's definitely hard. We grieve with one another that they're not here, on Earth, they're not here for us to hug their necks and tell them how much they mean to us,” she said.
"Every single one of them just radiated the love of Christ so well," she said. "They were all examples to people wherever they went, people were looking up to them. They were an example of what it looks like to follow Christ faithfully."
Elizabeth Dilts, a member of the church for two years, revealed her daughter was in Andrea Prime's Sunday school class. She said that despite her grief, she knows that the Prime sisters, Luplow, Correa and Franco, are all where they need to be, "with the Lord."
"We're very thankful for people giving because it helps, I know to be able to do something helps yourself, like you feel like you can take part in the grief if you can help the family," she said.
"Prayer is definitely the thing we want the most though. I know people will say that, but it really is true because you get to the end of yourself where you're like, I can't even pray anymore, I hope somebody's praying for me. That's kind of how a lot of us feel is like, you just get so tired and you need someone to take that burden."
In a statement, the Bible college revealed the young adults had spent the week before the accident “sitting in on classes and getting to know this year's student body, as well as catching up with staff who were previous classmates to three of them.”
“All five attended Faith Bible Fellowship, a church of beloved brothers and sisters in Christ who we have come to love beyond words,” the statement said. “It is with inexpressible joy that we tell you that our friends had placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As a result, we know they are currently with Him, a reality we are quite envious of.”
Faith Bible Fellowship has set up a Cash App account for donations to the families of the deceased.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org