LITTLETON, N.C. (WNCN) — A church community is in mourning the death of their beloved pastor’s wife who was killed in the couple’s North Carolina home Friday.
Dozens of people came together Sunday to pray at the church where John Alford preaches.
John Alford, who lived with his wife near Lake Gaston, has been the pastor of Sanford Memorial Baptist Church in Brodnax, Virginia for more than a decade. His wife Nancy taught Sunday school at the church.
Those who know the couple say there was not an ounce of hate in their bodies.
“They’d give you the shirt off their back,” Deacon Buck Gittman said of the couple. “Why would they be subject to such a heinous act? All they had to do was ask and they would’ve been given keys to the Mercedes and the Suburban.”
Authorities say on Friday the couple came home to find two burglars inside their Littleton home. The burglars forced Nancy to drive to a nearby bank and take out $1,000. The burglars then forced the couple inside the home and set it on fire.
Police say John Alford was badly beaten by the thieves but still managed to escape. However, he couldn’t save his wife who died in the blaze.
“This was an evil thing that happened and John and Nancy were such (that) I can only imagine while they were going through this terrible ordeal that John Alford was trying to save these people,” said one of Nancy’s Sunday School students.
The couple’s church community is heartbroken but knows Nancy is in a better place and believes John still has more souls to save.
“It’s a lot of grief that we’re not gonna have her anymore, but of course, knowing that she has a home with Jesus and she will finally get her questions answered that is a comfort,” said Deborah Cox, one of Nancy’s students at Sunday school.
Members of the congregation prayed for the Alfords — and also for the thieves responsible for the crime.
“We know Satan is evil and we’re not gonna let that prevail and overcome us,” said Gittman.
The two suspects stole the couple’s car, a gray 2010 Mercedes-Benz. Authorities are looking for that car.
John Alford is in the hospital and in stable condition. He is being treated for severe burns as well as smoke inhalation.
The members of Alford’s congregation are confident their pastor will return back to their church.