CHATTANOOGA — The tragic death of a 10-year-old girl who attended Vacation Bible School at Morris Hill Baptist Church here is a reminder of the fragility of life, said Pastor Bill Mason.
Zoe McDonough was attending VBS this summer at Morris Hill Baptist as a guest. Her parents are members of Christ United Methodist Church.
Approximately two weeks after accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at VBS, Zoe and her grandmother, Susan McDonough, died on July 8 when high winds flipped the pontoon boat on which they were riding on Chickamauga Lake, trapping them underwater for several minutes, according to a report in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
Ten other people on the boat were able to get to shore safely.
During VBS at Morris Hill Baptist, Mason said he presented the gospel to each class on Wednesday night of VBS. Children checked off the decision they made and then trained counselors in leading a child to Christ spoke to each child individually, Mason related.
One class had seven girls. Six of those girls accepted Jesus as Savior, including Zoe McDonough, Mason said.
Mason noted that Zoe made her decision public the following Sunday at nearby Christ United Methodist Church where her parents are members.
Mason noted that the McDonoughs have three children who have attended VBS and participated in the church’s Upward (Basketball) programs for the past few years.
In a written statement provided to Mason, Zoe’s mother, Leah McDonough, noted that it was her daughter’s experience at VBS and “the moment of her public commitment to Christ at Christ United Methodist Church that gives us the most comfort.
“Those moments confirm that her death was in God’s plan, and that it is His way of providing reassurance to us that she is with Him.
“The days immediately following VBS, she talked nonstop about Jesus and heaven,” her mother recalled.
Leah McDonough said her daughter wanted to know everything and that she wanted to share her decision with others, as God would have wanted.
“I heard her tell one of her girl scout friends that she had made the most important decision that anyone could make during their entire lifetime — that she was saved.
“I thank God to have let me witness that conversation,” her mother said.
Mason said the impact that Zoe’s death had on the VBS workers at Morris Hill Baptist “will be seen for years.
“Our workers realize how important it is to share the gospel, not just with children, but with anyone.
“We are not promised tomorrow,” the pastor said.