miracle of 2009 update: the bravery continues
It has been a while since I last updated readers on Rosario’s post-miracle journey. She has been doing well – better than well – since the last post over a year ago. Rosario moved back to the Los Angeles area last October, after just over three years of recovery at the family home in Michigan. She had gone to LA several times for the trial and sentencing. She always knew she would live there again; she wasn’t going to let the shooting scare her away. Around the time she moved, Rosario began speaking more frequently about her journey of healing and forgiveness. From her website: Rosario is sharing her miraculous story and speaking about her journey of healing through the sacraments, finding her worth and dignity as a daughter of God, the power of prayer and the freedom of Forgiveness.
I thought moving back to LA was brave of my sister, as was/is continually confronting the events and aftermath of that fateful night by speaking about her experience and healing. I also thought it was brave of Rosario to volunteer for the Burrito Project which took her to downtown Los Angeles (at night) to deliver food to the homeless. But I was floored last month when she asked for prayers as she was about to speak to gang members. Yup, that’s right. A woman who had been shot because of a gang initiation bravely stood up in front of hardened gang criminals and shared about how their lifestyle affected and nearly took her life.
Here is what Rosario said in a follow-up email to those she asked to pray:
The ‘Call In’ for Operation Cease Fire with the LAPD in Mission Hills was a powerful experience. Knowing that I was about to speak to hard core, gang criminals and that they were all repeat offenders was intimidating and a little scary but knowing that you were praying for me gave me a lot of peace and confidence.It was held at a Catholic mortuary which is neutral ground since the gangsters are all from different gangs. It’s also where many of their friends and relatives have already been buried.Six different members of the law enforcement spoke first for three minutes each. Then five people spoke as ‘Community Voices’ for five minutes each. I was the fourth person to speak as the ‘Voice of pain’.I shared with them the pain of my lungs collapsing and my esophagus tearing. I described the painful procedures the doctors performed on me to save my life in the ER as well as the eight hour surgery. Most of the men and (two) women had tears in their eyes as I spoke about my injuries. I then shared with them the words I spoke to the young women who shot me when giving my ‘Victim’s Impact Statement’ to the judge. I told them how I told her that I forgive her and pray for her everyday that she may come to know the incredible Love, Mercy and Forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ. I told them that I encouraged her to take responsibility for her actions and start making good decisions for her life. I encouraged them to do the same and that I believe that they CAN make better decisions. I closed telling them that God loves them and there are people in this world who love and care about them as well and that Love, Mercy and Forgiveness is there waiting for them.As I finished several of these tough men wiped tears from their eyes. I have to admit I was surprised to see such hard core criminals listen so intently and have such an emotional reaction to the words I spoke especially since most of them for everyone’s else’s presentations stared straight ahead, looking very angry that they had to be there. But then I reminded myself that you were praying and that clearly God’s love can move the most hardened heart.I ask that you join me in continuing to pray for April, the young woman who shot me and these gangsters who were there that night.Words cannot express just how grateful I am for your prayers. There definitely was a grace there that evening!