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Durham pastor in good spirits despite violent robbery

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Rev. Farleyson Tarley

The physical wounds are tough to miss, but Rev. Farleyson Tarley says his emotional wellbeing remains as strong as ever.

"I got hurt, but I got life," Tarley quipped to ABC11. "How wonderful is that?!"

Tarley, 56, is an associate pastor at People's Christian Church on Durham's east side. Originally from the west-African nation of Liberia, Tarley arrived in Durham in 1990 and has since graduated college.

The alleged crime took place on Friday around 9:30 p.m. near the reverend's home in the Oxford Commons complex. Tarley explained that he had just driven home from church and was confronted by three black men with guns who demanded money. The suspects ran off with several hundred dollars Tarley said he needed to pay for car repairs.

He was also hit in the face.

"I didn't scream," Tarley added when remembering the attack. "I simply recited [Psalm 23]. My wife showed up a few minutes later."

Durham police officers told ABC11 there have been a series of armed robberies in the city lately and they don't appear to share any commonalities except for being crimes.

Reverend Tarley spent a night in the hospital but was back on the pulpit on Sunday. Today, he says he's grateful for a second chance at life and offers a message of hope to young African-Americans - including the alleged suspects in his attack.

"We, as a people, shall not get the best out of life by killing one another, hurting one another, or robbing one another. The Lord is calling on us to good deeds, not evil. They ought to remember, there are trouble times ahead and we shall not go through these times by doing evil to one another. God has a good plan for them, but they ought to pursue it. I have forgiven them, but I pray they do not hurt someone else."

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