Grace in action

James 1:27
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

On a February evening in 1998, the secretary of Living Springs Assembly of God Church in Glendale, Arizona got a call from a needy family; a request for food. When volunteer Trudy Calabrese found out there were 4 children in the home, she decided that the need was crucial enough that she go alone, so she got in her truck and went to the home of John and Kara Sansing. This is what happened next in the words of John Sansing:

“I grabbed on to the church lady who brought
me food to help my family. When I grabbed the lady, I
crossed the line. It was like no turning back.” Next,
Sansing tied her up, raped her, robbed her and
murdered her. Kara Sansing helped restrain Calabrese
as his children listened in a nearby room. He then
dumped Trudy Calabrese’s body behind his house.

John and Kara had been smoking crack cocaine at the time and robbing Trudy was a way to get more, but then it all went terribly out of control. During the attack, when John left for awhile Trudy pled for her life, to be let go. Kara refused.

I remember when this happened. John and Kara have been in prison now for years, John on death row. But this is the part of the story I didn’t know until recently. A family in the church stepped up and formally adopted all 4 of those precious children, the boy now in college.

The wife of my co-worker was best friends with Trudy and usually went with her on home deliveries. She didn’t go that night and it still haunts her even now. He shared all these facts with me one day when something came on the news about the case when we were at work.

Trudy served in the military, but she died on a very different battlefield. She will be remembered, is still remembered. No doubt it would have made her very happy to know that the family who adopted those children kept them all together. They wanted to give them every chance for a somewhat normal life. I honor that family today. I pray that the scars that these children had to bear from what they witnessed and heard, have been healed over with the love and grace of God and this family. I honor Trudy today, I pray for the ones in her family left behind, that they may have continual comfort knowing she is safe in the arms of God.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7,8

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