Dear Lord,

Father we know this has been one of the toughest weeks in the history of the Houston Fire Department. Dear Father please bless my fellow brother and sister firefighters through the memorial service and the funerals to follow.

Father there have been so many emotions expressed as I have spoken with my friends that were part of this tragedy, we know that our lives will never be the same. Father let us remember that you never change and that you are the same yesterday, today and tommorrow. Let us remember that your love runs deeper than our pain that we are feeling now and that which will be experienced in the days to come.

Father I pray that you will watch over all that will be travelling to this city to pay their respects.

I pray for strength for my brothers and sisters that they will be able to endure the times that will follow. Let my friends see Your light in this time of darkness.

We know Father that you know when we are to be born and when and how we will die. Help us to understand why we have to die so soon. We know you love us Father and you would not take us from this world if it was not for a Greater purpose. Help my friends to trust in you Father and to realize that this tragedy somewhere in time will reveal its grander purpose. O Father we realize that this may not erase the pain, but you have told us in your word that "My Grace is sufficient."

Father, most of all when the respects have been paid and the lives of Kim Smith and
Lewis Mayo III have been etched into the memories of our hearts let my friends not forget the great sacrifice and price they have paid for their fellow man.

Father I pray that you would instill in my brothers and sisters a desire to run the race that you have laid out for us and to realize that if we run with you Father the race has already been won. Yes this life is tough and the scars can sometimes seem overwhelming at times, but Father you never promised us that life would be easy, but you said in your word
"In this life you WILL have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world!"

Father plese keep the families wrapped in your loving arms and help them to feel the love that the city and firefighters across the world have for them. Help them Father to
be strong through this untimely tragedy in their lives. Provide for their needs in every way possible Father for we do love them.

Last of all Father we know there is a time on the other side of this tragedy when duty will call again even when the pain is still fresh in the minds of our heroes. Help my brothers and sisters to respond through the pain and the tears to answer the call. Father please give my brothers and sisters a renewed committment to press on as a testimony to the wonderful people that I understand Kim and Lewis to be. Father help them to understand that Kim and Lewis are not really gone because through their tragic deaths they have inspired and become friends of thousands of people they never met. They have helped us to examine ourselves and they have brought out the best in us. They have helped us to have more compassion, to love where there was not an opportunity to love before and to pull together like never before. They
have brought out the best qualities that you Father had placed in us since the beginning of Creation. If this was the reason for their untimely deaths to touch the hearts of thousands what could be greater than this?

I believe Father that Kim and Lewis are with you now, smiling and looking down upon us and realizing that their deaths were not without purpose. I believe Father that if Kim and Lewis had a chance to live their lives over again after seeing how they have touched thousands of lives in such a loving and inspiring way they would not change a thing.

O Father there will come a day when we will be able to see Kim and Lewis face to face some of us for our very first time. I cannot wait for that time Father it will be such an honor to meet these heroes!!

When the bell rings again Father help us to remember that we are not weaker because of this tragedy, but we are stronger because Kim Smith and Lewis Mayo III ride with us into eternity from this point on!!!

Brothers and Sisters of Houston Fire Department I love you for who you are and for what you do and for the greatness and goodness that you display each and every day.
Yes you have changed because of this tragedy, but you have changed for the better. Your lives will never be the same from this point on. Father bless them and keep them in your protecting arms each and everyday.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Matt Barna
Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department




[This message has been edited by Matt Barna (edited February 18, 2000).]