Sunday's shootings have hit close to home as one of YWAM's largest training facilities is located right here in East Texas. A local YWAM writing teacher recently spent time in Arvada, Colorado and remembers the love she received from one of those killed. She also remembers the other victim who once sat in her class and had so much potential.
Janice Rogers has been teaching at YWAM in Smith County for more than 40 years. Last May, she was asked to teach a writing course at Arvada, Colorado's YWAM where she says she met two promising young leaders.
"She was just a real blonde bubbly girl from Minnesota," said Rogers. "She was a real lovely girl." Tiffany Johnson, 16 was a staff member for YWAM working in hospitality, something Rogers says Johnson was great at.
"She wrote me ahead of time to know what kind of diet needs I had, anything she could do to make my stay more comfortable," said Rogers. It wasn't until she saw Philip Crouse's picture, Rogers says did she realize she knew the second victim.
"It instantly hit me because I taught about 35 people that week in writing, but he stood out in the classroom," said Rogers. "He was, I call him a dreamer. He loved to write." Learning of their deaths, Rogers says was heart breaking, knowing both Johnson and Crouse had their whole lives ahead of them.
"It was just a sick feeling, just like someone hit me you know," said Rogers. "These are young people that can make a difference. They are living their life for that. They are not working for money, or working up the career ladder. They are doing what they feel God is wanting them to do." Rogers says she does get comfort in knowing those affected by this tragedy will not be alone.
"They have a family of thousands and thousands of people all over the world that are part of Youth With A Mission that are all praying for them right now," said Rogers. Rogers also says Arvada's YWAM has a very strong presence in their community and knows they will show support. This morning, Rogers says she and her students held extended prayer for the victims.