Frank Pomeroy, the Texas pastor whose 14-year-old daughter was among 25 killed when a gunman opened fire on the small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, said he believes the Lord left him on earth to continue fighting for souls.
Speaking to NBC News on Wednesday, Pomeroy revealed that at least three dozen people have told him they've reconnected with their faith in the wake of the worst mass shooting in Texas history,
"But even more so now that I know there's 26 more martyrs that have laid down their life for that battle and the Lord left me here, I feel, means that He wanted me to continue that fight for Him in their names as well," he said.
The pastor admitted it's "hard to cope" during the holiday season, particularly as Christmas was his daughter Annabelle's favorite time of year.
"But I know Annabelle would have still wanted that Christmas music on," he said. "She would want the holidays to proceed - it was her favorite time of the year."
However, he and his wife are still "celebrating this great country that God has blessed us with on Thanksgiving, and also celebrating the birth of the Savior at Christmas."
The pastor revealed that he knew shooter Devin Kelley, but did not suspect he was capable of such a heinous act.
"To be quite honest, I wouldn't have thought he would have the courage to try to do something like that," Pomeroy said. "He was not someone I put much faith or respect into even as a human being - much less as a man. He was just a very spiteful person."
While he hopes that no other pastor "has to go through the process of 26 funerals in a week," Pomeroy said such situations bring "the community together and draws them together, both as a community and a church."
The pastor, who has led the church for 15 years, was out of town when he got the news Annabelle had been killed. Addressing his church the Sunday after the massacre, he reminded his congregation that their slain brothers and sisters are "dancing with Jesus today."
"I know everyone who lost their life that day, some of which were my best friends, and my daughter," Pomeroy said, his voice breaking with emotion. "And I guarantee without any shadow of a doubt they are dancing with Jesus today. God gets the glory."
"We have the power to choose, and, rather than choose darkness, like that young man did that day, I say we choose life," he continued.
"I want everyone that walks in there to know that the people who died lived for their Lord and savior, and would want them to live as well."