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Ella and Aranza Payne
Ella and Aranza Payne | Photos provided

Teenage sisters, church youth group members, die in Texas car crash

One victim, age 18, was hours away from beginning the Adventures in Missions program

A Wednesday night collision in rural West Texas claimed the lives of two teenage sisters, both members of a Church of Christ.

Eighteen-year-old Wendy Ella Payne and her 16-year-old sister, Aranza, died in a three-car collision around 11 p.m. on Texas Highway 84 near Anton, Texas. Another sister, Sarah, was taken to a hospital with multiple injuries, according to members of the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas. Five additional people were injured.

As you wake this morning you might have either gotten a text, seen on social media or other avenues. Ella and Aranza…

Posted by Sunset Youth Group (OFFICIAL) on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Police said that Jasmine Nicole Burman, 28, of San Angelo, Texas, was driving an SUV in the wrong lane and struck the car Ella Payne was driving. Another car, driven by John Howard Aasen, 72, of Richmond, Texas, then rear-ended Payne’s car, KLBK reports.

The Paynes were members of the Amherst Church of Christ, about 50 miles northwest of Lubbock. Just hours after the wreck, Ella Payne was scheduled to begin her first day in Adventures in Missions, a ministry training and apprenticeship program sponsored by Sunset International Bible Institute.

Well I’m officially accepted into AIM I can’t wait for this journey God is taking me on. And the people he’s taking with…

Posted by Ella Payne on Friday, March 15, 2019


The Institute and the Sunset Church of Christ youth group will host a 9 p.m. vigil to pray for the Payne family, the others involved in the wreck and the Amherst congregation, said Timothy A. Burow, who will be inaugurated as Sunset International Bible Institute’s third president on Aug. 12.

“We are also going to have counselors standing by to help people process this event, emotionally and intellectually,” Burow told The Christian Chronicle. “It has been the focus of thoughts and prayers through the day as we continually hurt over lives cut short and family torn apart.

“We know that God’s grace is sufficient even in a horrendous event like this, but it is hard to see and feel it in the midst of the fog that darkens our way. We pray that the light of Christ will soon lift it and bring healing to the many who are bewildered and confused by their aching hearts.”

Amherst, Texas, USA

UPDATE: A GoFundMe account to help the family has expired. Those wishing to donate can send their donations to:

Payne Family

c/o Amherst Church of Christ

1533 CR 248

Amherst, TX 79312

Filed under: Adventures in Missions car wreck National Partners Sunset International Bible Institute West Texas youth group

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