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Attack in Nice Kills 84, Injures 202

Assemblies of God executive leaders call for prayer following the latest terrorist attack in France.

See the latest updates on this crisis at AGWM.com or at the AG World Missions Facebook page 

Bastille Day festivities in Nice, France, on July 14 turned to horror when a single assailant deliberately drove a semitruck for more than a mile through a celebrating crowd. With 84 people killed, including at least 10 children, and 202 injured, 188 people were reportedly rushed to hospitals after the attack. More than 50 may not survive.

Alain Fauchy, an Assemblies of God presbyter in southern France, learned that a mother and child from a Gypsy Pentecostal church were among the victims.

Bastille Day celebrates the storming of a medieval fortress to rescue political prisoners during the French Revolution in 1789 and is a significant day in French history. Now a national holiday, Bastille Day is celebrated with fireworks, parades and food, similar to the Fourth of July in the U.S. The attack began shortly after a seaside fireworks display.

Witnesses describe total mayhem at the scene, with people screaming while running in every direction and many suffering from catastrophic injuries. The country will observe three days of national mourning beginning on Saturday. A state of emergency in place since the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks on Paris last November has been extended for another three months.

Following this terror attack on their nation, France’s nearly 400 Assemblies of God churches are positioned to serve as lighthouses of God’s comfort and grace for their grieving countrymen.

However, churches themselves have not been exempt from attack. An AG church in Calais, which pioneered and maintains a strong ministry in a nearby refugee camp, was gutted by a fire earlier this week under suspicious circumstances following months of vandalism.

“Our hearts ache with the families of those who were lost, including our Gypsy brothers and sisters,” says AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis. “Pentecostals throughout the world faithfully respond when tragedy strikes. We pray for the Spirit’s guidance and empowerment as they serve as testimonies of Christ's love and compassion.”

“AG fellowships around the world join with our French brothers and sisters in praying for the people of France,” says George O. Wood, chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God. “May God’s comfort prevail in the midst of these horrific circumstances.”

Image used in accordance with CCY BY-ND 2.0 license. Photo credit: Furfante, Flickr

Kristel Zelaya

Kristel Zelaya is a freelance writer and editor with global experience. She served as marketing manager for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions and as a writer and editor for Assemblies of God World Missions. These experiences have led her to numerous countries and cultures — far from beaten paths — on behalf of many who did not know how deeply their stories matter. Zelaya is also a licensed Assemblies of God minister.