A 28-year-old pregnant pastor's wife, mother and pastor's daughter who was shot in the head during a home invasion in Indianapolis on Tuesday died Wednesday despite a desperate attempt to save her life with medicine and prayers.
Amanda Blackburn, the departed wife of Pastor Davey Blackburn of Resonate Church, is also the youngest daughter of Pastor Phil Byars of First Baptist Church, Elkhart in Bristol, Indiana.
She and her husband had moved to Indianapolis in January of 2012 to start Resonate Church with the help of megachurch Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina.
According to the church's website the church was planted "with a dream and a calling to start a life-giving church that would connect with people who normally wouldn't connect with church."
The dream became a nightmare on Tuesday when her husband came home from the gym to find her shot in the head. She later succumbed to the injury. The Indy Star said she was 12 weeks pregnant.
"Yesterday, our pastor Davey Blackburn came home from the gym to discover someone had broken into his home and his wife, Amanda, had suffered a gunshot wound. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she later died from these injuries," said Resonate Church in a message on its Facebook page Wednesday.
"Please join us in prayer for our pastor, his son, Weston, and their entire family during these hard days ahead. We have extremely heavy hearts and although we are hurting tremendously, we are still hoping and believing that great things are still yet to come."
Blackburn, according to Resonate's website, had spent four years on staff at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, under Noble. He served as a youth pastor, production director, and associate campus pastor before NewSpring helped Resonate plant in 2012.
In a statement Wednesday, Blackburn called Amanda his "very best friend" and despite his pain, hoped "good things will come of this."
"It's impossible to communicate all the emotions my heart has been forced to process. My wife was such a beautiful, gracious, loving woman of God. I have not only lost my ministry partner and support but also my very best friend. There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstances like these. As deeply as I am hurting I am hopeful and confident that good things will come of this," he said.
"I rest in the truth of Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose," he continued.
He said he would be taking the next few days to grieve and noted that he will not quit working to build Resonate Church because he believes that is what his wife would have wanted.
"Thank you for understanding my desire to take these next few days to continue to grieve for Amanda Grace. My focus right now is to let The Lord minister to my heart as I continue to shepherd little Weston's. I'll be taking this time to focus on being a great follower of Jesus, dad, family member, and pastor to our growing church," he said.
"Amanda made it her life's calling to love and serve everyone she knew. Even more, she has made it her life's mission to see as many people as possible come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. I know that in her death and legacy even more people will come to a saving faith in Christ. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt her desire for me would be to continue what we've started here in Indy," he added.
Police told the Indy Star that Amanda was shot and critically injured around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday inside the couple's home in the 2800 block of Sunnyfield Court in the Wynnedale-Spring Hill neighborhood, near 38th Street and West Kessler Boulevard, North Drive. The also confirmed that the shooting is being investigated as a robbery but provided no further details such as possible suspects. A FOX Carolina report noted that Amanda died fighting. Her young son, Weston, was unharmed.
First Baptist Church Elkhart also called for prayers for Amanda's family in a statement on Wednesday.
"Amanda Grace Blackburn has entered the presence of her Lord and Savior. Please be in prayer for her family as they grieve this great loss," the statement said in part.
Reacting to the news of Amanda's death Wednesday, Noble said he was heartbroken and called on his followers to prayer for the Blackburn family in a statement on his blog.
"With a broken heart, I want to ask you to please pray for our former staff member Davey Blackburn. Yesterday, Davey came home from the gym to discover a home invasion had taken place at his house, and his wife, Amanda, had suffered a gunshot wound. She was immediately rushed to the hospital. We've received more devastating news today that as a result of her injuries, Amanda has passed away this morning," Noble wrote.
"During his time on staff, Davey married his beautiful wife, Amanda, and in 2012 the Lord laid on Davey's heart to plant a church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Their dream was to create a place to connect with people who normally wouldn't connect with church. As a church, we were so proud of Davey and believed in this calling on his life so much that we supported him and Resonate Church financially," he continued.
"At this point I am talking with Davey consistently and trying to determine how our church can best help him and his family in the coming days. Right now I'm asking our church family to pray. Pray for Davey, his family, the investigation, and that justice will be served," he said.