Ashlynne Mike remembered at prayer service

Hannah Grover

FARMINGTON – The National Day of Prayer took on a somber tone Thursday as people throughout the community remembered the 11-year-old girl killed earlier this week near the Shiprock pinnacle.

The annual prayer service at the Farmington Civic Center started with a moment of silence and a prayer for Ashlynne Mike and her family.

Prior to the service, Eric Fisher, the master of ceremonies, said Ashlynne's abduction and kidnapping was "something in our own backyard, really hard to handle."

Pastor Robert Tso of Victory Life Center in Shiprock speaks during the National Day of Prayer on Thursday at the Farmington Civic Center.

He asked the community to "pray for the hope and healing that we know only God can provide.""We have a hurting community right now," Fisher said at the start of the ceremony.

Randy Joslin, the lead pastor of Oasis Ministries' Farmington campus and an organizer of the service, said Ashlynne's death led to adjustments to the planned prayer service.

One of those changes was in the prayer for families. Rick Quevedo, the CEO of Desert View Family Counseling, was unable to attend the service because he has been at Ojo Amarillo Elementary School, where Ashlynne was a student, providing counseling services. Instead, Roger Kittle, the pastor of Fruitland Baptist Church, prayed the prayer for families.

People sing songs and pray during the National Day of Prayer on Thursday at the Farmington Convention Center.

"This is a tragedy that has affected our entire community," he said.

Kittle said during the prayer that mothers and grandmothers in Fruitland have come to him and told him they have slept in the same room as their children and grandchildren since Monday.

A handful of Fruitland Baptist Church members met Wednesday night, and the congregation will pray for the family of Ashlynne Mike.

Vallie Tom of Kirtland, center, and a crowd of others gathered to sing and pray during the National Day of Prayer on Thursday at the Farmington Convention Center.

"My main prayer is that the peace and wisdom of God will prevail with each person," he said.

Lynn Love, a member of the Farmington Community Relations Commission, expressed condolences for the Navajo people and Ashlynne's family.

"We, too, feel their hurt," he said during his prayer. "We, too, feel the pain. Little Ashlynne was our neighbor, and we'll miss her."

He also prayed for her brother, Ian Mike, who was also abducted Monday and later found walking along Navajo Route 13. Love prayed for comfort for the 9-year-old boy "as he grows throughout his life with this tragedy."

"We, in times of crisis, go to God, and I pray that we will do that now," he said.Tim Kienitz, principal of Farmington High School, prayed for students, teachers, counselors, staff members and bus drivers at Ojo Amarillo Elementary School.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.