More information is emerging about a traffic collision which claimed the life of a well-known pastor and church planter in the US state of Texas at the weekend.
John Powell, a husband and father of four young children, had pulled over to help a stranded motorist whose vehicle had caught fire following a crash on Saturday. A well-known handyman, Powell grabbed his safety kit and headed over to the blaze along with another motorist. Shortly afterwards, a semi-truck came careering towards the group, its brakes locked and they were unable to stop in time. In those final moments prior to impact, police say Powell had the presence of mind to push at least one other person to safety, before being struck by the vehicle and killed instantly.
The driver of the car that caught fire was transported to hospital and is expected to survive.
In the wake of his death, tributes have been pouring in for the Powell family, with many remembering John as a tender-hearted, wise and compassionate leader. It has also been revealed that in his final sermon at Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Caney, where he served as the lead pastor, Powell spoke about reaching out to care for others.
"How could we pray that God would have compassion on those that need it while not having compassion on them ourselves?" he asked his congregation. "It would be like praying for someone who got robbed and beaten and thrown into a ditch alive while we pass on our way to wherever we’re going.”
Just thirteen days later, John was killed while putting this Biblical advice into action on the side of a Texas highway.
"John Powell died exactly how he lived," said fellow pastor Phillip Bethancourt of Central Church in Bryan. "Sacrificing himself for the sake of others, just like Jesus called us to do."
A GoFundMe has been set up to help support the Powell family at this devastating time. So far, almost $230,000 has been raised.
"It is impossible to imagine the heartbreak of this young family in the death of their husband & father & of this church in losing their pastor," tweeted Al Moher, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "But John Powell loved Christ, preached Christ, trusted Christ. Our hearts break for them. This is why we sing that all we have is Christ"