Sandy Hook moms share God's love

by Allison Hurtado, staff writer
Sandy Hook mom

Back on December 14, 2012, families in Newtown, Connecticut, faced one of the most-tragic mass shootings in the history of the United States when a lone gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Among the 26 victims were Catherine Hubbard and Caroline Previdi, both just 6 years old. Pastor Travis Mitchell of First Baptist Church asked the mothers, Jenny Hubbard and Sandy Previdi, what God has done through the unspeakable tragedy. He interviewed them on February 7

“Our girls met when they were just peanuts. My daughter Catherine, a redhead, was as shy as shy could be,” Jenny said. “She and Caroline were in the same preschool class. Caroline came barreling over and said they were going to be friends. From that moment on they were two peas in a pod.”

The girls attended Kindergarten and first grade together. Their mothers would walk each morning and talk about their faith.

“On December 14 our girls went to heaven together,” Jenny said. “There is a comfort in knowing they are together. There’s no doubt in our minds. Sharing a similar faith and outlook through such a dark time, we now see that in those years leading up to Sandy Hook God’s hand was preparing us for what was to come.”

Jenny says the time the families spent together were crucial, especially for their older sons, who wonder why they are still here and their sisters are not. Sandy says Scripture continues to encourage them to press on. They praise God for bringing their families together.

“Even in the beginning, God was there to strengthen us every day,” Sandy said. “I remember I was on my knees two weeks after Caroline died, crying out to the Lord, ‘I need your help, Jesus, please help me. I have nothing left inside of me.’ And I had peace.”

Over the course of an hour, the women shared their story of strength, daily struggles and peace with the FBC congregation. The church was full to the brim, with 130 to 140 people in attendance. Mitchell is personally inspired by Jenny and Sandy, and wanted them to share their stories with his church in Brewster, located just 15 minutes from Newtown. A few of the attendees emailed him with their reactions. 

“If God can work in Sandy and Jenny’s lives like that, then he can work anywhere, including mine. What an uplifting and inspiring message,” said one congregant.

Since taking over the pastorate in 2014, Mitchell has made an effort to take the church outside of its walls and to partner with the community. 2015 was a great year for the church. Over half of the attendees were connected to small groups. First Baptist partnered with two other churches to sponsor an Easter egg hunt they typically do on their own, but this year they had 350 kids participate. The church also held a Christmas Eve service in a nursing home, attended by 40 patients. On Christmas Day, the church opened its doors and served 50 people a meal.

“I always ask myself, ‘Is there something God would want us to do that we can do better together to advance his kingdom?’” Mitchell said. “Ironically, I have asked myself that years before I got to know Converge.”

Last fall the congregation of 100 raised funds to translate the letter of Galatians for the Babanki people group in Cameroon. Mitchell partnered with Wycliffe to identify a people group who did not have the Bible in their heart language. He created an exhibit of each paragraph of the letter of Galatians, all 149 verses. All it took was $35 to get one verse translated. At the end of nine weeks, the letter was fully sponsored.

“This was a teaching moment for our church, and everyone responded well,” Mitchell said. “God’s Word transforms. To help people understand that God is personal, people need it in their heart language. Otherwise God is foreign to them."

The letter is currently being translated and should be in the hands of the Babanki people this summer. Just last week they sent around 20 soccer balls to the Babanki. While FBC already celebrated this past December, they will celebrate again this summer and even kick off a new project. Mitchell has lots of plans, including a year-long series teaching the church to read the whole Bible in a year.

“God is for Brewster,” Mitchell said. “We are for it and want to join God and his people by the power of his Word and Spirit to make disciples who make disciples. Pray that the way we serve our community and each other that God alone would get the glory.”

Learn why at Converge, we are better together.

You may also like:

1. Fear of deep water: When God turns your world upside down

2. Converge: A blended family

3. From Texas church plant to the Dominican Republic

    Point - September 2018

    Point Magazine

    Our official magazine, publishing captivating stories of God's work in our midst.

    Subscribe for free >