A Georgia pastor who lost both of his sons in a car crash on Sunday says he's walking by faith through his pain even though he can’t understand why his family has been hit by such tragedy.
"It's difficult for me to process as a father," Pastor Kevin Royston of OutReach Church in Newnan, told news station WSBTV of the death of his sons, Kahlil Royston, 17, and Josh Royston, 16, near the church. "If God allowed it, He's going to give me strength to go through it."
Reports from 11 Alive and WSBTV said Kahlil, who was driving with his brother in the front passenger seat, was on Smokey Road at about 1 p.m. when the accident occurred. They had just left church to get haircuts at the barbershop but Kahlil lost control of the car he was driving and hit two trees.
Georgia State Patrol said Kahlil was speeding when the car went airborne. Josh died at the scene while Kahlil succumbed to extensive injuries at the Atlanta Medical Center.
As Kahlil battled for his life Sunday night, his father desperately begged his friends on Facebook to help him pray for a miracle that would save his son.
“My son Kahlil Royston is in critical condition. Please pray that God does a miracle in His Body. He has body injuries and head injury. I've released my faith, please release yours. Thanks!” he wrote shortly before 10 p.m.
For two more days, Royston openly declared his faith, citing the promise of Scripture.
“I speak life to those things that do not exist as though they did. I speak a creative miracle over Kahlil now every part of his body is healed perfectly, and his brain is operating normally in Jesus Name! Roman 4:17,” he wrote in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
Several hours later Tuesday afternoon after Kahlil died, Pastor Royston remained resolute in his faith, thanking God for another miracle.
“We would like to thank everyone for all your prayers for Kahlil. Kahlil and Joshua will be missed dearly. God performed a miracle in a different way than we thought, but He still performed a miracle. Kahlil's organs will be used to be a blessing for persons in need of them. We have to have faith to change a situation but we also have to have faith to deal with a situation when God doesn't do it the way we thought. Continue to pray for our strength as we move forward,” he said.
Josh and Kahlil were both students at Newnan High School and their deaths shocked the school community.
“Please continue to keep the Royston family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Both Joshua and Kahlil will be missed dearly. We will share arrangements once they become available,” Principal Chase Puckett wrote on the school’s Facebook page.
Students like classmate, Tiah Lee who knew the brothers were devastated and remembered them fondly.
“I just loved Josh, I loved Kahlil. I loved both of them,” Lee said.
Joshua she said, loved music, always tried to bring cheer to others.
“You could have a bad day, and you come around him and he’d just have the biggest smile,” Lee said. “He just makes you happy. And Kahlil, he was like a big brother to all of us.”
Despite his pain over losing his two boys however, Pastor Royston says he is believing that God has a plan.
“Sometimes life will throw us blows that seem unbearable. But these are the times where we must make ourselves stay connected to the only source of life our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We move forward by faith, not by disappointment, grief, or misunderstandings - no ‘by faith’,” he noted on Facebook.
“That does not mean we don't acknowledge our pain, our disappointment, and our lost (sic) of understanding but we don't move forward from that place. We go to our source and we ask him how to move forward so our life will continue to bring him glory. We have to remember He's God and he has a ram in the bush,” he said.
A memorial service for the brothers will be held on Wednesday Jan. 30, at St. Smyrna Baptist Church at 68 Heery Road beginning at 11 a.m. A visitation will be held on Jan. 29 at Sellers and Smith, 168 Greenville Street from 5 to 8 p.m.