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Seminary-bound Wedgwood victim would have turned 24 April 11

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Although Kim Jones’ earthly light faded last Sept. 15 from the sanctuary of Wedgwood Baptist Church to the presence of the Lord, the light from her three-year walk as a Christian is still shining in those she touched.

Kim was one of seven people murdered by Larry Ashbrook at the Fort Worth, Texas, church. On April 11, she would have turned 24.

Kim, who was reportedly praying at the time of her death, was seen by friends as someone who was completely devoted to the Lord and service to him.

“She overflowed with the love of Jesus,” Kristie Harrick said of her friend. “God had control over every aspect of her life.”

Less than a month before her death, Kim had enrolled at Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to pursue a master of divinity degree with one goal: to serve the Lord who had rescued her from what she considered a life of sin and despair.

Her mother, Stephanie Jones, said Kim was always a happy child in love with life. Kim had made a profession of faith in elementary school. But her life was tragically altered in intermediate school when one of her friends accidentally shot his twin brother.

“I think that was a point in her life when she began hardening her heart,” Jones said. “She questioned how God could let that happen.”

Instead of turning to God, Kim ran away from him. She moved into what she termed a life of rebellion, seeking to find fulfillment in the world.

From the outside, she hardly looked the part of a rebel. She was a good student and popular. She was voted a member of Who’s Who at Klein High School in Spring, Texas, and she was elected vice president of the student council. Kim also ministered to people. First, she tried to help the friend who killed his brother cope with the tragedy. Later, she befriended a drug-abusing classmate who within a year was off drugs.

“At first I didn’t want Kim hanging out with him or bringing him to our house,” Jones said. “But she really helped him.”

Kim began college at Texas Christian University as a member of the Delta Gamma sorority doing typical college student things like partying, Harrick said.

Outside, everything looked fine. Inside, Kim knew something was wrong.

“The more I tried to find fulfillment in a life apart from God the more miserable I became,” she wrote in her seminary application in June 1999. “I then went off to college, determined to change myself. I desperately wanted to become a `better person.’

“By the time I was 20, I had made a huge mess of my life. When I looked in the mirror I was ashamed of the person I had become. I was empty and broken, chasing after the things of this world.”

In her search for meaning, she turned to Christ around Halloween of 1996. She prayed, “Lord, if you are real and you are true, then please, please change me.”

“At that moment, as I bowed before the throne of grace, I met Jesus and he changed everything about me,” Kim recounted.

After Jones accepted Christ as her Savior, her life totally changed, Harrick said.

“She completely surrendered every aspect of her life to the Lord,” Harrick said. “I’ve never met someone like her … . She loved Jesus incorruptibly.”

The Kim who had lived a good life in her own power became the Kim transformed by Jesus Christ.

“She was a person who desired to share Christ because God had so transformed her life that she wanted everyone to know,” Harrick said, adding that witnessing was Kim’s favorite thing to do.

Kim would go to the Clinique counter at a local department store to receive a makeover to share Christ with the makeup artist.

Last fall after sharing with one of the artists, Kim was concerned because she was unable to completely explain salvation in Christ before the makeover was finished. The next day, Kim went back to speak with her again but discovered she was not at work. Instead of just leaving, she left a note.

“Nothing seemed to make me feel happy or fulfilled until I asked Jesus to come into my heart and change me,” Kim wrote to the woman, describing the difference Jesus had made in her life. “My prayer for you is that one day you could meet Jesus and experience his love, peace and joy … and then one day I would see you in heaven.”

Just two days before her death, Kim made her last entry in her journal.

“I don’t want to ever lose the passion of being totally in love with you alone!” she wrote. “God, please continue to stir my heart, make me passionate now and always.”

Two years ago, after reading “Through Gates of Splendor,” the story of five missionaries martyred in South America, Kim told Harrick, “I think it would be the greatest honor to die for Christ.”

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  • Robyn Little