A WOKE DEVIL IS LOOSE! The Most Difficult Thing a Pastor Has to do is Eulogize his Beloved Granddaughter and Bury her. Pastor Kenneth Thomas Sr. of Prince George’s, Washington, D.C., Had to do That After his Granddaughter, Ashlei, an 18-year-old College Student, Was Shot on New Year’s Day in a Hotel Room.

Daniel Whyte III says this is another painful tragedy. In the words of Mrs. Ruby Gooding, “This is a Praying Time.” Everybody pray for this family, as well as other families, that are grieving and mourning at this time.

The Rev. Kenneth Thomas Sr. stepped through the double doors of the hillside church in Prince George’s County. He wore a black suit. In one hand was a briefcase, and draped over his arm was a garment bag with his pastor’s robe inside. A purple pin with the smiling face of his granddaughter, Ashlei Hinds, was pinned to his shoulder.

Funeral goers dressed in purple and black parted to the left and right of the entryway as he shook hands, then hugged and kissed their cheeks. A soft smile lit his face as they gave his arm a comforting squeeze. The smell of lilies and roses filled the air.

“You know we’re with you,” a woman said. “Need us to hold your bag?” a man asked.

“No, sir,” Thomas said politely. A deacon ushered him down a hallway and out of view.

Thomas, 71, the pastor of Johnson Memorial Baptist Church in Southeast Washington, was also the grandfather of Ashlei, 18, a college student raised in Prince George’s. She had been fatally struck by gunfire inside a D.C. hotel room on New Year’s Day, a stranger to the shooter, police said. Her killing made her D.C’s first homicide victim of 2024 in a city that has pledged to end gun violence but seems unable to do so.

Thomas was now tasked with the unthinkable: delivering the eulogy for the granddaughter he adored. He had to provide comfort to hundreds of people — including his own grieving family.

He had to get the words right.

He couldn’t break down.

People were depending on him.

Two days earlier, Thomas sat at his desk in his study and prayed. He thought hard about what to say: Should his words just be about his granddaughter? How she had a personal relationship with God?

But the words wouldn’t quite match what was in his heart. “That was my struggle,” he said.

Ashlei was Thomas’s biggest fan. She called him “Poppi,”; he called her “The Ash.” When he got his preacher’s license, she made sure everyone knew. She had asked him for a Bible to study with her younger sister. And when she was anxious about taking some tests during her first month or so at Louisiana State University, she called him for encouragement.

Ashlei was close with her grandfather. When she was nervous about taking some tests at Louisiana State, she called him for encouragement.

Thomas’s eulogy would come at the end of the service, held at the New Mount Nebo Baptist Church of Capitol Heights.

First came the viewing of Ashlei’s open casket. Weeping filled the sanctuary. So many people had packed the church that a handful had to watch on a screen in a separate room.

When it was time for Ashlei’s mother, sister and grandmother to approach, Thomas walked down the aisle with them. He looked down briefly, shaking his head.

Then he took off his glasses and wept. He left his family’s side and walked to the dais. His knees shook as he sat. Those who spoke before him acknowledged his struggle:

“I know you’re going to miss her.”

“I can only imagine having to eulogize your grandbaby.”

“One of the hardest tasks he’s ever had to do.”

Thomas stepped to the pulpit. “Ashlei was a special child.”

He paused. Inhaled.

“I loved Ash more than anyone will ever know,” Thomas continued, his voice cracking. “I was so proud of her.”

At 3:30 that morning, he said, deep in prayer, he felt the words finally come to him.

“At that moment, I heard Ashlei tell me that it was not about her, it was about the other people … it’s about the others who are still walking in darkness,” Thomas said.

Towering over the pulpit, he recited from the Book of James: “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

“Everybody that came in contact with Ashlei left differently,” he said, his voice rising. “Why? Because she was full of love.”

Ashlei was in heaven, he said, and had brought together those gathered on this day. Would anyone be willing to believe in Jesus and love others, just as his granddaughter had?

“Will there be one?” he said with his hands outstretched. Someone walked down the aisle, and then another person, and another. The church rang with applause.

Thomas took a purple towel and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Praise God,” he said.

Then he went back to his seat, let out a “Whew,” and leaned back.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-d-c-pastor-s-granddaughter-was-killed-he-had-to-give-her-eulogy/ar-BB1hv0jq?ocid=msedgntp&pc=U531&cvid=18c77e6b3e074dffb25294dc4c097fbb&ei=38

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