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What Do a Devouring Bug, the South, Faith, and a Colorado Theater Shooting Victim Have in Common?

Rhett Barbaree : Jul 22, 2014  Christian Newswire

"That little bug was a curse. It placed the South in a hardship like it had not experienced since the Civil War, but if you follow the story you will clearly see God's hand of providence being revealed through people, including George Washington Carver, and how He used them to turn something that was so devastating into an enormous blessing." -Rhett Barbaree, author of "Thank God for boll Weevils"

Co. shooting victim(Enterprise, AL)What does a monument erected to an insect in Alabama in 1919 have to do with a young lady from Louisiana who was injured in the Colorado theater shootings in 2012? As strange as it seems the two became entwined when a soon to be author, Rhett Barbaree had a providential encounter with Bonnie Kate Pourciau of Baton Rouge, LA three months prior to the theater shooting.

"We met at Panama City Beach" Barbaree noted, "her mother introduced us and as soon as I heard her 'southern sounding' first name I informed her I was going to use it for a character in the book I was writing at the time."

True to his word Barbaree created a character named Bonnie Kate for his novel, Thank God for Boll Weevils. Then just three months after their introduction Barbaree read where Bonnie Kate and a friend who were traveling through Aurora, Colorado attended the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. There Bonnie Kate was shot in the knee by the same gunman who wounded and killed a number of others. Since that time she has undergone a series of surgeries to correct her injuries and it was while keeping up with her through various news reports that Barbaree began to realize how providential their encounter was.

"I began searching and reading stories about Bonnie Kate and the incident. There was one where she was quoted as saying she had forgiven the gunman for what he had done to her. And then in another she was expressing her steadfast faith, knowing how God would take this tragedy in her life and turn it into something good. I was moved to tears and also shocked, realizing I had met someone who was exemplifying with her words the very themes God had inspired me to write throughout my novel, which are; The importance of forgiveness and also how God can turn even our worst tragedy into a blessing." Barbaree admitted it was not only through writing his novel but the faith Bonnie Kate was expressing that he began to understand why his book would be important to those facing tough times like the people across the South did in the early 1900's.

"That little bug was a curse. It placed the South in a hardship like it had not experienced since the Civil War," he said, "but if you follow the story you will clearly see God's hand of providence being revealed through people, including George Washington Carver, and how He used them to turn something that was so devastating into an enormous blessing."

This was done once the farmers around Enterprise, AL, and then across the South began growing peanuts to replace the cotton crops that were ravaged by the insect. In Thank God for Boll Weevils, Barbaree uses both real and fictional characters to tell his story which climaxes with the monument being erected and what it truly means. The statue which remains on Main Street in Enterprise to this day, is of a woman with her head slightly bowed while she holds a boll weevil up to the heavens. Barbaree said when he began writing his book God spoke specifically to him about the monument telling him, "This is what My people must do. If they will lift up their heartaches, their adversities and their broken dreams to Me I will take them and turn them into a blessing."

Since the publication of his book by Tiger Iron Press, Barbaree has been contacted by numerous people who have shared with him the healing and freedom it has brought to their lives and felt everyone should know the story behind the real Bonnie Kate and her faith in regards to the tragedy she suffered that night in Colorado.

"She is an amazing young lady." He said "The faith she shows during that situation is exactly what God asks us to do and it perfectly expresses what that monument symbolizes."







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