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'Darkest moment'

"'Darkest moment'" Continued...

Other campus groups are crying out to God as well. Campus Crusade for Christ lost four students connected to its organization, according to director Jim Highfield. Baptist Collegiate Ministries did not immediately confirm reports that it lost two students. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship leader Wes Barts said everyone in his group is accounted for, but several students are dealing with the loss of friends.

Local churches organized prayer meetings, and churches as far away as Maryland sent groups to offer help with grief counseling and support.

Meanwhile, students who visited the drill field chapel the morning after RUF's service found something very different than the night before: pamphlets with "prayers of the ten major world religions." The guide included Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish prayers, as well as a Native-American prayer that began: "Oh Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you."

As the Virginia Tech community grasped for answers to its grief, law enforcement officials grasped to discern motives for Cho's evil acts. Two days after the killings, authorities got a stunning deluge of answers from the gunman himself. After the shootings in West Ambler Johnston Hall, Cho apparently mailed a grotesque packet of photos and a self-made video to NBC before killing 30 others in Norris Hall. NBC received the package on Wednesday morning.

The material included chilling images of Cho brandishing guns in violent poses, a 23-page written statement, and a video in which the killer lashed out at "rich kids" and other unknown subjects, declaring: "You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul, and torched my conscience. . . . Thanks to you I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and defenseless people."

Haiyan Cheng says she'll never forget how weak and defenseless she felt the morning Cho stalked outside her classroom door. She clings to the hope that "God is in control." And she says she'll never forget how God spared her life. "I was so close," she says, "so close."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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