Read The Devil in Pew Number Seven Online
Authors: Rebecca Nichols Alonzo,Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
“What if someone were to do something unimaginably horrific to you or your family?
The Devil in Pew Number Seven
is a riveting true story of one woman’s journey of forgiveness, the depths of which most of us will never experience. Ultimately, Becky’s harrowing account serves as an inspiration to us all, especially to those who are struggling with forgiveness in their own lives.”
Dr. Tim LaHaye
President, Tim LaHaye Ministries; coauthor, Left Behind series
“As little girls, we’re all scared of something. For five-year-old Becky, it was a bomb-setting madman in her daddy’s church—with her family as the target. Against the odds she survived and has had to learn that ‘forgiveness is the language of heaven.’ This is must reading for anyone struggling to forgive.”
Point of Grace
“As Christians we often pray, ‘Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.’ It’s a lot easier to ask God for forgiveness for our own failings than it is to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Becky’s story shows us that, with the Lord’s grace, forgiveness and healing are possible, even in the most horrific of situations.”
James D. Daly
President and CEO, Focus on the Family
“Becky has reached a level of forgiveness where few will ever have to go. In going there herself, she leads us on a path of freedom that is both riveting and revolutionary. We loved every page.”
Ron and Lynette Lewis
King’s Park International Church, Durham, North Carolina Morning Star New York, New York City
“Without a doubt, this is one of the best books I have ever read. I believe Becky’s story will be greatly used of our Lord to change the lives of countless numbers of people.”
Sherrill Babb, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Philadelphia Biblical University
“Becky relives the ‘shop of horrors’ in which she grew up, as her pastor dad and family were the target of vicious attacks. You will be dumbfounded and heartbroken over the extent to which evil can be perpetrated by bitter hearts. You will be vexed by the apparent triumph of injustice and perplexed by the seeming inactivity of God at times. And you will marvel at the grace of God to enable His children to forgive their enemies, overcome evil with good, and hold fast to hope that a day is coming when He will right all wrongs and vindicate His own.”
Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Revive Our Hearts
“Forgiveness seems so unnatural. For the offended to be able to remove the debt of the offender can only be a ‘God thing.’
The Devil in Pew Number Seven
proves that point very well.”
H. B. London, Jr.
Vice President, Church and Clergy, Focus on the Family
“At the heart of solving most of our relational conflicts is one all-important word—
. Becky’s remarkable story will unlock multitudes from their past and propel them into a life of freedom, success, and peace. I highly recommend this book.”
Author and Speaker
“Get ready to be captivated and inspired by Becky’s testimony. We simply could not put the book down.”
Sam and Kathi Katina
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The Devil in Pew Number Seven
Copyright © 2010 by Rebecca N. Alonzo. All rights reserved.
Cover background photo copyright © by Katrin Solansky/iStockphoto. All rights reserved.
Cover photo of man copyright © by Claudia Dewald/iStockphoto. All rights reserved.
Cover photo of man’s face copyright © by Joan Vicent Cantó Roig/iStockphoto. All rights reserved.
Cover photo of town used by permission from Rebecca Alonzo. All rights reserved.
Vintage photo artwork on all chapter and afterword opening pages copyright © by iStockphoto. All rights reserved.
Chapter 13 photo copyright © by Joe Nesbitt/Wilmington Morning Star. All rights reserved.
Chapter 15 photo copyright © by David Molnar. All rights reserved.
All other interior photographs used with permission from the personal collection of Rebecca Nichols Alonzo.
Author photo copyright © 2009 by Keith Thomas. All rights reserved.
Designed by Ron Kaufmann
Published in association with the literary agency of WordServe Literary Agency, 10152 Knoll Circle, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Alonzo, Rebecca Nichols
The devil in pew number seven / Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with DeMoss, Bob.
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
ISBN 978-1-4143-2659-7 (sc)
1. Alonzo, Rebecca Nichols 2. Nichols, Robert (Robert F.) 3. Nichols, Ramona. 4. Free Welcome Holiness Church (Sellerstown, N.C.)—Biography. 5. Victims of violent crimes—North Carolina—Sellerstown—Biography. I. DeMoss, Robert G. II. Title.
To Mom and Dad for being servant-leaders, for showing God’s endless love to the unlovable. Thank you for writing your memoirs so this book could be written. Our journey together continues through the years.
To my brother, Daniel; you were not only an answer to Mom and Dad’s prayers but mine as well. Without you, I would have been a lonely only child.
To Aunt Dot, my constant guide and number one fan. I’m grateful for your love and wisdom. Your devotion to our family knows no bounds.
To Kenny, my husband and best friend. Thank you for all of the years of love and devotion, for being a man of integrity, and for holding my hand through the smiles and tears. You continue to amaze me.
For Kolby, my valiant warrior; your mighty heart toward the Lord and love for justice bless my life.
For Katelin, my delicate rose; the love of God is a sweet-smelling fragrance from your tender heart and is precious to me.
Let me be clear about one thing.
The story you’re about to read actually happened, every last detail of it. As the plot unfolds, my hunch is that you’ll need to remind yourself of this reality more than once. If you’ve ever required evidence to prove the adage “Truth is stranger than fiction,” look no further. To be redundant, this
a true story.
In a way, I wish it were not. And at times I’m glad it’s true.
Some of what transpired occurred before I was born, which, for obvious reasons, means I have no firsthand knowledge of those events. Likewise, there was a time when I was too young to comprehend the events swirling around me. However, my parents wisely kept thorough personal journals, thick family photo albums, stacks of newspaper clippings, an 8 mm film reel, and a priceless cassette tape narrated by my father. (Some of those photos appear on the opening pages of the chapters in this book. A list of captions is included
in the appendix.
As if these items were not proof enough that this story actually occurred, as I wrote, I had at my disposal my memories, a federal court transcript, and crime scene reports and photographs. I also conducted numerous interviews with those witnesses who are still alive today. These invaluable resources provided a trustworthy road map through the minefield that was—and is—my life.
I don’t share the following pages because I am looking for sympathy. Far from it. Rather, I invite you to travel with me to the very end where we discover perhaps the most disturbing part of the story: you and I have no choice but to forgive others . . . even if they are the monsters next door.
After all, forgiveness is the language of heaven.
Walking, Crawling, Dead or Alive
My bare feet pounding the pavement were burning from the sunbaked asphalt. Each contact between flesh and blacktop provoked bursts of pain as if I were stepping on broken glass. The deserted country road, stretching into the horizon, felt as if it were conspiring against me. No matter how hard I pushed myself, the safe place I was desperate to reach eluded me.
Still, I ran.
Had a thousand angry hornets been in pursuit, I couldn’t have run any faster. Daddy’s instructions had been simple: I had to be a big girl, run down the street as fast as my legs could carry me, and get help. There was nothing complicated about his request. Except for the fact that I’d have to abandon my hiding place under the kitchen table and risk being seen by the armed madman who had barricaded himself with two hostages in my bedroom down the hall. I knew, however, that ignoring Daddy’s plea was out of the question.
And so I ran.
Even though Daddy struggled to appear brave, the anguish in his eyes spoke volumes. Splotches of blood stained his shirt just below his right shoulder. The inky redness was as real as the fear gnawing at the edges of my heart. I wanted to be a big girl for the sake of my daddy. I really did. But the fear and chaos now clouding the air squeezed my lungs until my breathing burned within my chest.
My best intentions to get help were neutralized, at least at first. I remained hunkered down, unable to move, surrounded by the wooden legs of six kitchen chairs. I had no illusions that a flimsy 6 x 4 foot table would keep me safe, yet I was reluctant to leave what little protection it afforded me.
In that space of indecision, I wondered how I might open the storm door without drawing attention to myself. One squeak from those crusty hinges was sure to announce my departure plans. Closing the door without a bang against the frame was equally important. The stealth of a burglar was needed, only I wasn’t the bad guy.
Making no more sound than a leaf falling from a tree, I inched my way out from under the table. I stood and then scanned the room, left to right. I felt watched, although I had no way of knowing for sure whether or not hostile eyes were studying my movements. I inhaled the distinct yet unfamiliar smell of sulfur lingering in the air, a calling card left behind from the repeated blasts of a gun.