A church in Tennessee is mourning the loss of a child who was baptised the day before he was killed tragically.
Five-year-old LaVonte’e Williams died of gunshot injuries. Bishop Dr. Belita McMurry-Fite of Heaven’s View Baptist Church had just baptised LaVonte’e the day before.
The incident happened near the basketball courts at Lee Victory Recreational Park in Smyrna on Monday at 7:20 p.m.
LaVonte’e Williams accidentally discharged a handgun at the court. When they arrived, they reportedly rendered aid to Williams. He was transported to TriStar Stonecrest Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
Smyrna police say the gun recovered at the scene belonged to Williams’ father, and Williams had retrieved the firearm from his father’s backpack.
His death was announced on the Heaven’s View Baptist Church’s Facebook page: “Sleep In The Arms Of God My Lil Buddy LaVonte’e Williams 😭 I Just Baptised You Yesterday At Church…..😭 Please Keep The Williams And The Lawson Families, And Our Heaven’s View Church Family In Your Prayers!!!”
Bishop Belita McMurry-Fite, the pastor of Heaven’s View Baptist Church, told the Christian Post, “LaVonte’e Williams was a fine young man; always had a beautiful smile on his face, a very loving and respectful child”.
“He was a child who loved God. He loved working in the church and doing things in the church that made him happy. He would sing. He would help take up offerings in the church.” McMurry-Fite said.
Bishop Belita said she was “very honoured to have been able to baptise him”.
Before Williams was baptised, McMurry-Fite said she remembers the boy went up to her and said the words: “‘I want to be saved.’”
“I’m a pastor that doesn’t just baptise children just because children want to get baptised. It’s important to me to know that they know who God is and for them to know why they are doing what they’re doing; why do they want to get baptised and I’ve seen LaVonte’e for over a year or more loving God.”
She continued: “He comes from a family that knows God. For me, it was one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to baptise this young man. I heard God’s voice say: ‘It’s OK.’ And I knew that he was ready.”
“I had no idea that he would leave the next day. But I knew that there was something divine that was taking place that day with LaVonte’e.”
“A young man that just started life, but God had him on assignment. And we all are, some are short, some are longer. But to look at his life and to get something from him, we can see the peace of God. And I can honestly say that I saw that in him each time,” Bishop McMurry-Fite said.
McMurry-Fite told Christian Post that if it wasn’t for “the grace of God” she wouldn’t be able to stand strong amid the grief she is experiencing because of the loss.
Having had the privilege to baptise the boy in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit prior to his passing, is giving her great peace during this time of immense healing for herself, the pastor said.
The child’s mother posted a message online to inform residents in the community that she and other family members are experiencing some comfort in knowing that her son had been baptised the day before his death.
(Picture Courtesy: Heaven’s View Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee/Facebook)