Energy filled the one-room tattoo shop on Bank Street. Individuals displaying ink and newcomers to the permanent art waited anxiously for a turn in the chair.
Talis Marez clutched the needle and leaned over the subject.
“28” — to remember to live life.
“28” — to remember to show love.
“28” — to remember to trust God.
For three hours on Sunday, Marez tattooed “28” on the hands, feet, necks and wrists of teachers, preachers and hairstylists. Some were larger than an inch; others were barely noticeable. Some stood alone; others showcased a cross.
No matter the size, place or style, the tattoos served the same purpose.
“This is an outward expression of an inward change in all of us that was inspired by Justice,” said Glenn Mitchell-Thwing, who organized the mass tattooing on Sunday.
The event recognized the first anniversary — dubbed an “angelversary” — of the death of Justice Micah Perry.
Born on Sept. 30, 2011, Justice underwent open heart surgery hours after his birth.
“We knew something was wrong with his heart. Troy, my husband, and Noah, our older son, both have heart conditions, but Justice’s was entirely different,” Sara Perry said. “Noah didn’t have surgery until he was 15 days old. We weren’t even allowed to hold Justice. The first time I got to hold Justice was after he took his last breath.”
In his 28 days, Justice went through more than 50 procedures.
Troy and Sara created The Pray for Justice Micah Perry Facebook page to keep family and friends informed. The couple, then associated with Epic Church, shared the next 28 days of Justice’s life with family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers and strangers.
They never imagined the impact Justice’s story would have.
Thousands of viewers followed every post, celebrated the ups, mourned the downs and witnessed the unwavering faith of Troy and Sara.
“From the time I got pregnant with Justice, I felt God saying I needed to trust Him,” Sara Perry said. “Trust seems so easy. I didn’t understand what it really meant until day 29. I knew He had all the power to heal Justice. I also knew if He chose a different outcome, He was still good and it would still serve His purpose.”
Stories of people touched by the Perrys emerged. There were tales of broken marriages healed, families reunited and relationships established with God.
“They endured one of the hardest things anyone can endure and their faith did not waiver. They had a child pass on to heaven and their love for God remained,” Jessie Crishon said. “We were lucky enough to be part of the journey.”
“I watched his parents praise God every step of the way. And I have been forever changed by this family,” Mitchell-Thwing said. “My ‘28’ will be a daily reminder to walk in complete blind faith everyday and that one person can truly impact the eternity of many.”
Troy, who is planting Story Church in Madison, Tenn., with Sara, baptized two people who found God through Justice.
“There are still a lot of questions, but this is what I know. I know God’s love never fails, He will never forsake or leave us and what Justice did in his 28 days is more than I have done in my 28 years,” she said.
And Justice’s story continues.
The “28” tattoos invite conversation and an opportunity to share the story of a baby named Justice.
“A mom couldn’t be more proud to see the impact their child had. People are already asking what ‘28’ means,” Sara Perry said. “I can already see the ripple effect this will have and the multitudes that will come to know Jesus.”
Twenty-four people got the “28” tattoo on Saturday. Three more, including Sara, plan on getting the “28” on Friday. With Troy, who displays “28 days” on his forearm, the number of people with the “28” tattoo will be 28.
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|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|