Five years after the tragic October 1 massacre, Las Vegas residents remember how they helped their neighbors
Eddie Rojas remembered the scene as if from the worst possible movie imaginable at Sunrise Hospital the morning of October 2.
After learning of the mass shooting, Rojas, a cardiovascular registered nurse, rushed to the hospital and started a 16-hour fight to save lives. After numerous days of helping victims, Eddie received a call from a fellow Jehovah’s Witness. “He asked me, ‘How are you doing?’” Then he gave encouragement through the Scriptures and provided a listening ear. “That was important to me,” said Rojas. Soon after, Rojas and his family were offering the same comfort from the Scriptures in their door-to-door ministry. “People were scared. There was a need for them to get some hope, to get some kind of good news.”
“As I would go out to the ministry, people would talk about what happened, how sad they felt and how it affected them,” said Rojas. “The Scriptures were like a soothing medication to them.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses quickly acted to ‘soothe’ their community after the horrific event. Nathan Lundholm, another local congregant, remembered how the tone of their message changed. “The focus now became providing some comfort and hope for our community,” said Lundholm.
Helping others has long been linked to better emotional well-being in psychology research. The book “The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others” describes powerful effects, even for helpers who’ve experienced trauma themselves.
Nathan Lundholm said that spiritual aid in times of crisis “is a stabilizing influence for all of us as the world changes.” When tragedy strikes, brotherly love moves Jehovah’s Witnesses to care for their communities. That was the case five years ago when Las Vegas was rocked by an act of senseless violence and continues to be the case now.
For more information on the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses, visit their website jw.org, which has content available in over 1,000 languages. There you can find practical articles to help families cope with suffering, such as “Can You Find Words of Comfort in the Bible?” and “Where Can I Find Hope?”