Earlier this week, graceconnect.us reported the death of Christianna Ringler, a student from Ashland, Ohio, who had attended Momentum Youth Conference earlier this summer, and who was involved in a fatal car accident on August 15. Today, the staff at Momentum sent this message about a decision that changed Christianna’s life in the days prior to her death, which is repeated here. Continue to pray for Christianna’s family. Visitation is today at the Grace Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio (Dan Allan, pastor), followed by a service this evening. Click here to read her complete obituary.
This is the second year in a row that a student who attended Momentum has died. In September 2013, Greg Frey, a member of Grace Church at Willow Valley, Lancaster, Pa. (John Smith, pastor), who had attended Momentum at Indiana Wesleyan University, died while on a fishing expedition.
On August 15, 2014, Christianna “Christi” Ringler passed away as a result of a tragic car accident. Christi had attended Momentum 2014 and since then, people had seen marked changes in her. Attending with Ashland Grace Brethen Church from Ashland, OH, Christi was one of the group’s students who stood to make a decision for Christ while at Momentum.
In a letter to our Momentum staff, an Ashland GBC staff member wrote that after Momentum, “she (Christi) began making serious changes in her life (who she was hanging out with, music she would listen to, the words she would use, her time commitments, etc.) She was making stands for Christ and taking all kinds of persecution for it. She wanted to be a student leader in our youth group, and became very close with our students over the last couple of months.”
According to Ashland GBC staff, “God used Momentum to convict and radically change her life. She was making stands for Christ, and sharing Him with her friends and family any chance she could get. All she wanted was for her friends to know Jesus and have eternal life. Through this accident, and her tragic death, all of her friends have and will continue to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a youth staff we spent many long hours at the hospital, the family’s home, and in prayer and counseling times with students. Many of her friends came to our church youth service this past Sunday, including the driver of the car. We are hurting badly, and so sad to lose her, but her testimony remains as this (according to one of her peers):
“During our final conversation, she shared with me that she had recently went to a youth conference called “Momentum” and that it had completely changed her life. She explained that she was truly letting God take control of her life, and that she could feel the Holy Spirit giving her guidance and direction. She said that she hoped to go into the military. When we finally said goodbye, I don’t think she knew it then, and I wish more than anything that she did, but her kind, encouraging words, her passion for Christ, and her excitement for the future left me completely moved and amazed by her. God knew in that moment when I ran out to stop her, that it would be our final conversation. But little did I know that just two short weeks later, my sweet friend would go home to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While my heart aches and is completely and utterly broken by this horrible tragedy, I will forever be thankful for that last conversation, the deep care and compassion she shared with others, our close friendship, as well as the beautiful memories she left me with. And though I struggle to make sense of this, I find great joy in knowing that she is now in the arms of God, singing with the angels in heaven, and that on one glorious day, we will meet again. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4”
May Christianna’s sudden passing be a reminder to us that we are not promised tomorrow, this week, or another year. As this is the second year in a row that a Momentum student has passed away following conference, it is always a stark wake-up call to think that some of us won’t be here come the next Momentum. The Bible says that our life is like a vapor – here today and gone tomorrow. Please pray with the Momentum staff that through this tragic accident, many will hear the good news of the Gospel and will find the hope and peace that only the Gospel can bring. Please also pray with us for the family and friends who are so deeply affected by this event. We are celebrating that Christianna is with Jesus and that her life and death are bringing glory to Him.
Friends may call Wednesday, August 20, 2014 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at Grace Brethren Church, 1144 W. Main St., Ashland. Funeral services will follow at 7:00 p.m. at the church conducted by Christianna’s youth pastor, Greg Summers. A private family burial will be held in Adario Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the family for a scholarship fund that will be named in her memory.