Togetherness binds their wounds
By TAMARA LUSH, Times Staff Writer
BRANDON -- The Womble family lived through a grenade blast and an around-the-world journey. Through brain operations and hearing loss. Through the terrifying possibility that their youngest son might die.
Through it all, Jeff and Cindy Womble kept their faith in God. On Thursday night, their family gathered under the same roof for the first time in six weeks.
"Truly God has answered so many prayers," Jeff Womble said. "God is our refuge and strength."
The Wombles, along with their 7-year-old son, Samuel, were injured by a grenade blast inside a church in Islamabad, Pakistan, in March.
Samuel suffered head injuries from the shrapnel, and Cindy's leg was severely wounded. Both Cindy and Jeff have hearing loss because of the blast.
After weeks of surgery and rehabilitation at a hospital in Europe, the Wombles returned home April 22.
Samuel and Cindy were treated in local hospitals, and Cindy was released Tuesday. Samuel, who had two brain surgeries, was released Thursday afternoon. He is expected to recover fully.
"It is very appropriate that our family is all together again on this, the National Day of Prayer," said Jeff Womble, who spoke to reporters during a news conference at his church. "Our goals are to embrace healing both physically and emotionally."
During the church's National Day of Prayer service, the Wombles addressed the congregation and thanked the members and the pastor of the Bell Shoals Baptist Church for their support. They attribute their quick recovery to the power of prayer.
"We think it's a miracle," Cindy said.
The congregation clapped and cried at the sight of the Wombles.
The couple was working for a humanitarian aid agency in Pakistan when they were injured. On March 17, they attended a church service. Their other two children went to another part of the church for a youth service. Their youngest son, Samuel, had a stomach ache, so they kept him with them.
A young man heaved a grenade inside. Five people, including the terrorist, were killed in the attack.
The Wombles, who said they would consider returning to Pakistan, say they are not angry at the man who threw the grenade.
"Jesus said love your enemies," said Jeff Womble. If Muslims and Jews "came together to know Christ," he said, then there would be peace in the Middle East and around the globe.
"That's the only answer."
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