Monica, a woman raised in the traditional native Hopi way had married young and began a family. Bright with hope for her two children, she made a home. When one day, the bottom fell out of her life when her husband decided to leave and abandoned them all. She turned to alcohol in her grief and soon it took control of her life. She began to search for love in all the wrong places and her family was worried for her.
She was seeking relief and wanted to change so wandered into the Christian Hopi Camp Meeting. The music sung by the Jackson's moved her heart to consider Christ's love for her and in one night, and one decision, she gave her life to Christ! She did not hesitate to start her new life and entered into a rehab! When she finished she began attending church with her family and after a few months even got her new boyfriend to attend as well. Her son was graduating soon and her daughter was an "A" student and a good athlete!
On Mother's Day weekend, to the shock and horror of her parents, it was learned that she was stabbed multiple times and then buried by the river bed still alive. The police brought her parents to her lifeless body 3 days later to identify what was found and to claim her. Shaking and sobbing, they agreed that it was her. Crying out over and over, "why God? oh why God?" They were led home, weak-kneed and sick from the sight of their beloved daughter! Yet entrusted with the care of her surviving children and overwhelmed with their own grief and trauma!
We were called and together with their local church we wept with them and helped them just carry out their activities of daily living that became unbearable during their grief. At the funeral, her father took a stand for their shared faith in Jesus Christ as one who was saved from the darkness he felt as a snake dancer among the Hopi traditional religion.
There was a growing outcry among the Hopi against such a horrible act done among them and an anger towards the domestic violence. We explored the community resources for any help for victims of partner abuse and their survivors and there was none. So we began to make available the HOPE Response to Loss, Pain and Grief to the family and community with sharing groups ongoing for 6 months. In time that resulted in the Hopi Women's Coalition being birthed to raise awareness and take action against this and for the victims with this family being central to its progress. A year later, a prayer vigil was called together by her mother, to honor her memory but also to cry out to God for justice for the trial still to be held for her murderer. Their hearts grew even closer to God as they understood that God too hates murder. It was for these sins that Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty as our substitute for God's righteous judgment against such acts. Yet the greatest struggle came when the sentence was less than just and surrendering it into God's hands as His word says "vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!"
A pain like this is never forgotten and yet there is comfort that God alone can give when we cry out to Him. It depends on our response as 2 Cor. 7:10 describes a worldly sorrow that leads to regret and death but a godly sorrow leads to change and life. Her parents did not turn to alcohol or suicide to stop the pain and their response brought them comfort that has also led to life being given to others by their trust in Him!