You may remember the March 20th stand-off in Friona that began when Robbie Lynn Vaughn led police on a chase through several counties. Vaughn broke into the residence of Mark Stovall in Friona and took mark, his wife, and their teenage daughter hostage. The Lubbock SWAT team was called out to assist in the situation. Fortunately, the Stovall family escaped unharmed after police shot and killed Vaughn.
A small church in north Lubbock was the scene of a very special reunion Wednesday night. From the pulpit of the Skyline Baptist Church, Pastor Mark Stovall didn't give a sermon, but he did share life changing details of that night in Friona as well as a special thank you to the men he says saved his life.
"That night was a very difficult night but it was a very precious night because I could see God very much at work," says Stovall who faced those frightening hours in March with the most powerful weapon of all...faith. "I felt like God had brought them there on purpose I felt like he desperately needed help," says Stovall.
While most people would have panicked or fought off the intruder, Stovall's instinct was to lend a helping hand to a troubled soul. "I prayed for him and I asked him if I could and he said I need you to and prayed for everything I knew to pray," says Stovall.
And as Stovall prayed for the intruder, the Lubbock SWAT team surrounded his home. "There was a circle of friends around me. Friends indeed that came to my rescue," says Stovall.
And now 2 months later, "This is a chance for me to say thank you to the Lubbock SWAT team for coming to our rescue," says Stovall.
Stovall got a chance to thank those brave officers face to face. "I felt like the police department and the swat team did I feel like I owe my life to them in many ways. They put themselves in peril so that we could be safe and I greatly appreciate that."
But its these officers who say Stovall's the real hero. "This speaks so highly of him as a pastor but this went so much farther than that," says Dale Holton, Assistant PoliceChief, LPD.
He not only viewed it as a situation where he could be harmed and in danger he viewed it as an opportunity to witness to this guy and that speaks very highly of mark. Instead of seeing the danger, Pastor Stovall saw how he could use that day to bring officers and pastor together in what he calls a spiritual awakening.
Now there were numerous other agencies who assisted in the Friona standoff. Pastor Stovall would like to extend his thanks to all of those who came to his aid that night. Stovall also says he'll continue to use this frightening experience to bring others closer to God.