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Elkhart church mourns the death of pastor's daughter

Many in Elkhart are mourning the death of a beloved pastor’s daughter.

Indianapolis police identified Amanda Blackburn as the victim in a shooting that happened inside her home.

She was the daughter of Phil Byars, First Baptist Church of Elkhart’s lead pastor.

Wednesday, the church opened up its main sanctuary for the congregation and members of the community looking to send the pastors’ family prayers.

Those prayers were also for traveling mercy as Pastor Byars hit the road Wednesday morning to be with his family in Indianapolis.

According to police, Blackburn suffered a gunshot wound to her head Tuesday.

Police say they were called to the home after her husband found her unconscious.

The couple has one child, a toddler, who was home at the time but was not hurt.

Neighbors told WRTV she recently announced she was pregnant.

The church confirmed Wednesday morning her passing in a statement on Facebook saying in part:

“Amanda Grace Blackburn has entered the presence of her Lord and Savior.”

Davey Blackburn, the pastor of Resonate Indianapolis Church and husband of Amanda released the following statement Wednesday night:

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. 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.

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.

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. I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come.

-Davey Blackburn

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