When a gunman stepped into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Rosanne Solis was sitting near the back. Within seconds, she was on the ground, under a pew with a bullet wound to her shoulder.
In those moments, Solis said she was certain she would die and prayed she could live.
“I said, 'No. I want to live. I want to see my family. I want to be around my grandchildren,'” said Solis.
As difficult as it was to face death last Sunday, survival has been tough too.
“I’m afraid to go out to places,” said Solis. “I’m just looking around to see. I’m scared to even be anywhere there’s a crowd.”
Church seemed out of the question, considering what she’d been through. Solis planned to stay home and study her Bible.
But, Solis decided to go back the following Sunday. The church service moved to an empty field near her home and Solis felt strong enough to go.
“I didn’t want to go. But this morning, I woke up and I’m ready to go, you know, put the past behind me,” said Solis. “I’m ready to go to church.”
Solis went to the 11 a.m. Sunday worship service held in a temporary location, a tent a few blocks from the church building. The congregation, typically made up of around 50 people, swelled to at least 700.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his 14-year-old daughter, told the worshipers who were gathered that he knew where their friends were at that moment.
“I guarantee you, beyond any shadow of a doubt, they are dancing with Jesus today,” said Pastor Pomeroy.
He also told the worshipers to keep on fighting.
First Baptist of Sutherland Springs plans to continue future Sunday services uninterrupted, holding next week’s services inside another tent on church grounds.
Former Associate Pastor Mark Collins, who returned to assist the church after the shooting said there are plans to build a new church.
For now, the old sanctuary will serve as a memorial for the victims of the shooting. The sanctuary has been cleaned and repaired. Contractors patched the bullet holes, pulled up the carpet, and painted the room white.
Chairs representing the victims will remain in the sanctuary. Audio recordings of some of the victims reading scripture in church played on the sound system.
“Some don’t want to step foot in this building again and others said I need to,” said Collins.