AMES, Iowa — Eden Montang was walking in to worship at a church near Ames when she was shot and killed outside of the sanctuary last week. On Wednesday, her funeral drew loved ones inside the very same church to honor her life.
Hundreds of people filed into Cornerstone Church for Montang’s memorial. The 22-year-old Iowa State student and Army National Guard veteran was remembered as an enthusiastic, faithful woman who tried to find the good in every situation.
“She truly felt like a little sister to me,” said Danielle Voda, who completed basic Army training with Montang. “She filled a big hole in my heart because I’ve never been able to have that kind of relationship with my own sister.”
However, her bright personality made her death harder for some mourners to comprehend.
“How can we or anyone make sense of this?” said Cornerstone Church pastor Mark Vance. “There’s something about our pain that draws God’s poignant presence in a way that the easy days of life somehow don’t.”
Montang’s last journal entry, read aloud at the funeral by her brother Ethan, illustrated both her fear and her faith in her final days.
“I want to strike reverence into the hearts of my enemies, but I feel like I’m surrounded by enemies,” Ethan read. “Use my heart so that I can be victorious. Spare others of the pain in my heart, and keep them grounded in your persistence.”
Although Montang is gone, her loved ones hope to keep her legacy alive as best as they can.
“Thank you for being the glue that has held our family together,” Ethan Montang said. “We’re just getting started, and me and your sister are going to make you proud.”
Cornerstone Church will also host the funeral for the other victim of the shooting, 21-year-old Vivian Flores. Her memorial takes place at 2 p.m. Thursday, with visitation starting at 10 a.m.