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Andrews Holds Community Prayer For Their Youth After One Found Dead

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - The city of Andrews was rocked with one of their own getting slain allegedly at the hands of others in the community. Twenty-one year-old Ethan Cole's body was found in Martin County in late June.

"You always hear about this happening away and in bigger towns, that kinda stuff but this one hit home and it hurts," Greg Griffin, the founder of What Yeshua Can Do.   

As a result, Griffin's organization felt it was time to hold a prayer for all the lives impacted by young people dying and giving into vices.

Dozens of people of all ages attended the impromptu prayer held outside the Andrews courthouse. It was something planned in just a couple of days and in an effort to bring God back into the lives the citizens.

It was particularly aimed at "homegrown" teens on a path towards drugs or suicide.

"It's such a scar, such a menace to the community," Pastor Stan Brown of the local River of Life Worship Center said.

Some youth who showed up acknowledge that those problems exist, but that they may be hidden.  

"People don't like to talk about it but it does go around this town whether it's big or whether it's small or whether it's older people or younger people, it's everywhere regardless," according to 17 year-old Bianca Marquez.

There are reports that Cole's death had to do methamphetamine. But the details are unclear at this point. Even though the prayer came as a direct response to the death, the victim isn't the only one the town kept in their prayers.

"Andrews is exploding, but it's still small. Everyone knows everyone. So many people here know the young man that died and they know the people that were involved in his murder, and their families," Brant Fricker, a promoter for the organization said. 

Just like 18 year-old Gabriel Sanchez who went to high school with Cole. Sanchez said he didn't really know Cole, or talk to him, but "he always seemed really chill."

And that's what made it shocking to him, to hear about Cole's death.

"For an old person to pass away it's pretty normal, but for someone that young who has so many years ahead of them...it was a very tough day," he said.

Sanchez had secretly wanted to lead a prayer on Wednesday, but didn't want to ask for it. But as soon as he got there, he was approached for the task.

"And the first thing that happened when I got here was my youth based pastor came up to me and was like, 'Gabriel do you want to pray?' And I was like, 'Well, I guess that's a sign from God. If he puts it in your heart, just do it, and he'll open up a door,'" Sanchez said. 

But for multiple attendees, the message to cleanse the city starts with parents and community leaders setting the example.

"We're guardians of our youth, so it starts when we begin to pray for our youth," Brown said.

What Yeshua Can Do will be trying to hold these prayers more regularly. They also hosts concert series in the small town to use music to reach out to young people in Andrews. The next one will be in August.

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