She was a bright, bubbly, beautiful and loving 15-year-old girl who worked hard in school and pushed her friends to succeed. She had her whole life in front of her and was full of purpose, promise, and potential. She had a smile that lit up every room she walked into. She was the type of child every parent would want, the type of student every teacher would love to have in their classroom, and the type of church member every pastor would desire to have in their pews. She was described as real, genuine, authentic, ‘more precious than rubies,’ and a ‘walking angel.’ She was energetic and loved music, the arts, and life. And she had an “inner light” that shined in her relationships with her friends and brightened the lives of so many others.
She was an honor student and a majorette in prep school and her goal was to go to Harvard University to study pharmacology and journalism. In the sixth grade, she made a public service announcement denouncing gang violence. She took part in basketball, volleyball, mentoring programs, and cheerleading. She loved visiting new places, and after traveling to Washington D.C., she had her eyes set on Paris, France. However, just eight days after she marched in the inaugural parade in front of President Obama, she was shot dead while talking with friends at a park in Chicago.
According to her biography printed in the funeral program, she “accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal saviour at Christian Covenant Baptist Church, where Reverend Silas is the pastor. As her family was guided by God’s divine providence they joined the Greater Deliverance Temple Church of Christ where Rev. Courtney Maxwell is the pastor, in October 2007. Furthermore, she gave her stewardship to ministry by being a member of the youth and teen ministry. She was involved in Greater Deliverance Temple Teen Praise Dance, worked in the church nursery, and brought her friends to church with her. Her mother said, “I’m not worried about where she’s going. I know who has her…I’m not worried about her soul. I know where she is.” As one pastor put it, “There is a new name written in glory.” Her name is Hadiya Pendleton and she will always be remembered as a “beautiful gift” to those who know and love her.
This is the “Chief of Sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. The “inner light” that made Hadiya the happy, loving girl that she was is the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Hadiya now rests in Heaven in the arms of her Saviour. I do not feel sorry for her; I envy her. If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, if you are not sure that you will go to Heaven when you die, may I encourage you to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour today.