kelsey lynne

In The Midst of Tragedy.

Mar 31

I don’t even know where to begin.

This week, our church and our community felt the shock waves of tragedy. Our pastor, Pastor Ed Pohlreich and our missionary to Uganda, Pastor Scott Volz, along with a Ugandan Pastor, Steven Kaweesa were killed in an automobile accident in Uganda, Africa.

There are not many words to describe the emotions felt at this time. Shocked. Heartbroken. Devastated.

All three men have beautiful families that are mourning the loss, as well as are our church, our community, and the people in Uganda.

I had the privilege of working under Pastor Ed for 2 years at our church, and have attended Generational Hope for the past 14 years. I have heard him preach, I have played cards with him, I have gone on family vacations with my family and his, I remember his laugh, and I remember how much he loved people.

I help out with our church’s social media accounts and in the midst of all of this, I have been getting the notifications for the comments, shares, and posts. And I keep being overwhelmed.

These men made an impact.

The comments and words posted by people around the country, and even around the world have been pouring in. It is sobering. And it is evidence of one thing.

Our love, our kindness, and our encouragement are the things that will last.

They are the things that will be remembered. 

People have been posting photos, from trips to Africa with these men, to family photos, to photos at a Christmas party or summer BBQ. They have been posting memories from their time with these men. They have been writing about the ways that each of them have impacted their lives. Whether with encouragement, a sermon preached, a hug, or by speaking about their character and lives.

When I heard the news, I sat on our bed and wept. I called my parents, my friends, my family and told them what had happened and made sure they were okay. I want to hold them close. I want to hold them so close during this time.

These men leave behind such a legacy. Their lives create a ripple effect. They loved their families well, they loved people well, they encouraged, they challenged us to dream big, take risks, love hard. And I am so grateful to have been one person that has been affected by the way they lived their lives. When I look at social media, I see that the reason there is such a deep sorrow, is because these men were heroes. They changed the atmosphere of the places they went with their joy, their strength, and their lives.

In the midst of this, I know many of us are feeling confused, broken, and grief stricken. But I also know that it has allowed me to take a minute to be grateful for the impact they have had. It also encourages me to tell the people I love, how much I care for them, to hug my family and realize that life is such a precious gift.

It makes me want to honor them by living my life in the ways that they lived theirs.

By loving people, even when it is not easy.

By caring for the people around me.

By being brave, and bold, and generous.

By creating some ripples that will affect the people who I come in contact with.

Please keep the wives and children of these wonderful men in your prayers. May they know the comfort and peace that only Jesus can bring. If you also would keep our church and community in your prayers. There are many affected by this loss.


comments +

  1. Margi Wills Deffenbaugh says:

    Very well stated Kelsey!! Will be praying for peace and comfort for all!!

  2. Peggy Drury says:

    Very well said! Thank you Kelsey for taking the time to put it in writing what we all feel.

  3. Tyandgail Forsberg says:

    Well written. Prayers for all. Thank you Kelsey.

  4. Katie Selby Gamble says:


  5. Debra Burrow Dilldine says:

    So well said! I had the honor of spending time serving Jesus alongside Pastor Scott and his beautiful family in Uganda.. his wife and children family but also some of his spiritual Ugandan family.. I saw 1st hand the amazing spiritual legacy his lifes work has left behind and I too want to be a better, stronger, bolder child of God just because of spending time around Pastor Scott and his amazing family. All my love and prayers to your church, to Brenda and to all the people of Uganda! God’s grace abound!

  6. Fran Stone Bandelman says:

    This is a beautiful tribute, to men and families, much like the trees in the picture. Thank God for those who stand tall and straight amongst us, and point the way!

  7. Erin Ramos says:


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