COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Stephanie and Rachel Works were opposites in some ways.

Stephanie, 18, liked chess and writing long letters, while Rachel, 16, loved drama and text messaging.

But nearly 2,500 people who gathered Wednesday remembered the sisters for what they shared, including a love of travel, fostering deep friendships, their strong faith – and how they were gunned down together while leaving services at New Life Church nearly two weeks ago.

The Rev. Brady Boyd said the sisters, who went on mission trips to Brazil, China and Mexico, lived passionately and didn’t take anything for granted. He reminded church members that Stephanie and Rachel were now in their true home.

“Can you imagine the reception they got last Sunday? There must have been a party in heaven,” Boyd said.

On Dec. 9, 24-year-old Matthew Murray opened fire on the hundreds of churchgoers streaming out of the Sunday service. The girls’ father, David Works, who was wounded in the shooting spree along with two other people, was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Works was pushed into church in a wheelchair surrounded by his wife, Marie, and daughters Laurie – Stephanie’s twin – and Grace. He spoke briefly in front of the stage decorated with poinsettias for Christmas, saying he took new comfort in the words of Psalm 23, which hung on the wall of his grandparents’ Colorado cabin: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

At the close of the service, Boyd told David Works, who was shot after he got into the family van, that he was a good father and did all he could the day of the shooting. “It was so sudden. It was a crazy chaotic scene,” Boyd said.

A volunteer security guard shot and wounded Murray before he killed himself. Twelve hours earlier, Murray had killed two staff members of the Youth With a Mission missionary training center in Arvada, about 65 miles away, and wounded two others.

Connie Schertel, who met Stephanie when she lived in Whitefish, Mont., said she remembered them both laughing and giggling during many of their phone calls. She said Stephanie was “in tune” with God and was quick to offer to pray for her or offer insight with a Bible verse.

Aimee Donahue of Winchester, Va., who met Rachel on the Brazil trip 2½ years ago, said that her friend had been set to visit her this week and that she regretted not being able to give her a Maori necklace from New Zealand or show her how she looked now that her braces have been removed.

She said they both dreamed of living in New Zealand and helping teens struggling with depression there. She vowed to pick up Rachel’s “torch” and help fulfill some of her dreams.

“I have to finish some of my pages and maybe some of hers, too,” said Aimee, who gave the necklace to the youngest Works daughter to wear.


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