Texas pastor loses daughter, son-in-law, grandson in Holy Land crash

Scott Riling, Sophie Rosetsky
Pastor Scott Riling and his granddaughter Ruthie (R) along with his late daughter Sophie Rosetsky and her 2-month-old son, Itay (L). |

A Texas pastor is now grieving after losing his oldest daughter, her 2-month-old son as well as his son-in-law after a tragic crash that occurred as his daughter was feeding her newborn on the side of a road in Gedera, Israel.

Steven Miori, a communications representative of the multi-campus Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, confirmed with The Christian Post that their pastor of discipleship, Scott Riling, is now racked with grief in the Holy Land after losing his 27-year-old daughter, Sophie Riling Rosetsky, and his grandson, Itay, on July 11. His son-in-law, Rodrigo Rosetsky, 35, who was an officer in the Israeli Air Force, died on Saturday after being critically injured in the accident and placed in an induced coma.

“Sophie married Israeli soldier Rodrigo. They’ve been living in Israel. They got in a very bad car accident and Sophie and their boy Itay were both killed in the accident and Rodrigo went into a coma and he actually passed away couple days ago,” Miori told The Christian Post Monday.

“Their other child, Ruthie, who was left unharmed, thankfully, now left without parents and without her brother. It’s a pretty tragic situation. Scott is in Israel. They had the memorial service for Sophie and Itay a few days ago and they had Rodrigo’s service I believe yesterday and he’s still over there."

According to Kehila News Israel, police theorize that on the day of the accident, the pastor’s daughter and her family had pulled over safely and were parked on the side of the road so she could breastfeed the baby. A truck then allegedly crossed several lanes and hit the family’s car, which was on the shoulder, and dragged it several meters. 

One friend of Sophie’s in Israel recalled her strong faith.

“She was an amazing woman who loved her children and loved her husband, her family, respected everyone and was so caring,” the friend who was not identified said. “She loved to tend to her garden and talk about it. We had so much to talk about when we would meet about homeschooling our children. The last time we met I told her we will talk more about homeschooling next time … I’m so sad that we won’t get to meet like I wanted to.”

Family friend Angie Baker Dugi, who is a former congregant of Riling’s, said the family told Ruthie last Tuesday that her mother and brother had died.

“Our hearts break... The family just told Ruthie that her mommy and baby brother are in heaven. Pray for little Ruthie and that God’s peace like a river would flow over every member of this family in Israel and in Texas. I pray that each one feels His tangible presence in the wake of this devastating tragedy,” she wrote on Facebook.

“This has shocked and gripped all who loved the Riling, Boulet and Rosetsky families. I cannot even begin to imagine their shattered hearts as they take one painful breath at a time, processing this heartbreaking loss. We knew Sophie when she was a younger, always smiling. You can see a gentle peace and God’s grace all over her beautiful face in these pictures. Sophie loved Jesus with all her heart. Life is precious. Not a one of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Our eternity is secure only if we have called on the name of Christ and believed in Him to save us.”

The accident has generated significant media attention in Israel as Sophie’s husband was a member of the small Messianic community in Israel who acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. At least one media outlet correctly translated the name of Jesus as Yeshua, while another outlet used the commonly used Yeshu.

Sophie was buried with her son last week while Rodrigo’s funeral was held on Sunday in a military and Messianic ceremony with hundreds of people in attendance, including Air Force Major General Amikam Norkin, Kehila News reported.

“Four years ago, my father passed away, and after the funeral I received a hug from Carmen and said we were next in line. But we were wrong,” Rodrigo’s father, Mario, said as he wept while eulogizing his son. “God took Sophie, Itay and Rodrigo.” 

He continued: “Rodrigo was our special son. It seems they are so good today that God took three angels to him. Rodrigo, we will keep Ruthie, your baby, there is no doubt that you are playing with Little Itay in the Garden of Eden.”

After Rodrigo’s funeral Saturday, Pastor Riling expressed in a message shared by Dugi that though he doesn't understand why this happened, he has hope in God.

“Rodrigo joined Sophie, the love of his life and Itay, his baby boy in eternity today. He loved Sophie, Ruthie, and Itay with every fiber of his being. He was a man of incredible character and strength. He was respected by subordinates and those in authority over him alike as a Major in the Israeli Air Force and countless people from his community. He loved Yeshua and was bold in his testimony. We are broken hearted, but not without hope! We don’t understand God’s ways and most likely never will on the earth. However, we don’t have to understand everything to know that God is true, He is merciful, and He is love!” he said.

To give to Ruthie’s future, friends and well-wishers are being urged to make out a check to Scott Riling, and mail to:

Champion Forest Baptist Church
Business Office 15555 Stuebner Airline Rd
Houston, TX. 77069

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