Having just returned home from a mission trip to Haiti, where she was preparing to adopt a baby girl, and with plans to work for a non-profit overseas, the 26-year-old Jamilyn Renee Hull faced a very bright future. She was a talented photographer and had traveled around the world, looking for ways to help women become more self-sufficient and capturing that in images. During one visit to Israel, she wrote, “I was walking places where Jesus walked, and getting my eyes on places I had only read about in my Bible.” She was flourishing, doing what she felt called to do, using her God-given talents to live out her faith.
But the day after her homecoming from Haiti, over the Father’s Day Weekend in 2015, while going home late at night following a visit with her father, she was killed in an automobile accident. Just like that.
At the time, her parents David and Jennifer Hull – he of the family of John Andrew and Susan (Pletcher) Miner of Somerset County, PA – were living in Humble, TX, where he was executive pastor of small groups for the 15,000-member Woodlands Church. The family’s emotional devastation wrought by this senseless death was so personal and so overwhelming that it could not be captured in any manner of words, except ultimately for just three – “We say yes.”
David and Jennifer, with their deep Christian faith and trust put to a severe test, first questioned “Why?” They sought an answer in scripture and prayer. What they received in response, as unimaginable and irrational as it may sound to some, was that this tragedy was part of God’s plan for their lives, and that they must surrender their all to it and obey. On a moving and intimate video the couple later recorded, David says “If God will give you comfort at times like that, in the worst moments of your life, and when you lose a child, you have to make hard decisions and see situations that are very tough, and if God will do that for parents, what can’t God do?”
The Hulls’ steadfast belief that God is in charge led them to make a move to Heartland Church, an interdenominational, multiethnic place of worship in Indianapolis, where today he is executive pastor of ministries. And in a permanent step of faith, he had a single word “Yes” tattooed on his hand, so that in moments of doubt, darkness or despair, as well as in rejoicing, he always would be brought back to his and Jennifer’s relationship with a living God whom they believe is all loving and merciful. Be sure to check out the website JamilynHull.com.