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Sophia And Rita
by Stephen A. Peterson
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Sophia And Rita

Stephen A. Peterson

Sophia Licavoli was in her room at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house on the campus of Oklahoma State University eating a double cheese/pepperoni pizza while listening to Brahm’s Symphony Number 1 on the radio from the school’s radio station KOSU. It was at this time a sudden wind stirred her room’s curtains. Just as quickly as the wind had come, it was gone.

“Sophia!” said softly an unnamed voice. “Sophia, I want you to stop what you are doing right now, take the rest of your pizza over to Willard Hall and talk to the girl in room 129. I want you to be her friend.”

“Sophia shook her head, turned down her music and then took a drink of lemonade.

“Sophia. I want you to visit with the girl in Willard Hall and be her friend,” said the voice a little louder than before.

“Who is this? What is going on?” Sophia said in a frighten voice.

“I’m Jesus Christ. The Lord your God.”

“What? How can that be? Why would you talk to me? I’m not really a good person at times.”

“Sophia, I know you. I know your heart. And yes, I know your sins,” responded Jesus. “You are not dreaming you actually hear my voice.”

“Oh, my!” said Sophia. Then she laughed so hard that she nearly choked on a piece of her pizza. “But Lord, I’m a very busy student. I’m just taking a break between studying for a real tough Physics exam. Lord, I pray daily and ready Your Word. I also ask for forgiveness of my sin. I try real hard to do what you want me to do.”

“Very well, Sophia. I want you to go over to Willard Hall and visit with the girl in room 129. I want you to be her friend.”

“Room 129. Who lives in room 129? Willard, room 129. Who lives there? Oh, my! That’s where Rita Santos lives. That girl is a slob and she’s a Mexican! She smells to high heaven. I don’t like that girl. I can’t be seen with that girl. Lord, I’ll lose my real friends if I’m seen with that girl.”

“Jesus, Jesus where are You?” Jesus was gone. Sophia looked around her room then paused to determine if Jesus would speak to her further. For roughly two weeks, Sophia expected to hear from Jesus. Anytime the wind blew, things fell or the doors would open without a person initiating them, she would react. Yet Jesus did not speak to her again. Sophia never heard from Jesus for the remainder of the academic year 2004-2005.

During the summer of 2005, Sophia and her family were on their way to Europe for their vacation. While on a train leaving Madrid, Spain to Paris, France, five men and woman pulled out their guns, knives and other explosives. The train was being hijacked. Everyone on the train was terrorized. Everyone, that is, except Sophia, was asleep.

“Wake up,” said her father.

“What?” Sophia said in a low sleepy tone of voice. “What’s going on?”

“Terrorists have taken over the train, Sophia her father said in a low tone of voice.”

“What are we going to do dad?”

“The only thing we can do. That is, to pray for safety and deliverance in this most difficult situation.”

Sophia began to pray along with her family. The Licavoli family could be heard praying by a businessman, engineer, elementary school teacher and a ship builder. Then without warning, one of the terrorist walked through the car where the Licavoli family was then shouted, “We’re going to need a hostage or two. Then we will let the rest of you people go.”

Some of the people in the car breathed a sigh of relief. But they wondered how the terrorists would select their hostage or hostages because the Licavoli family could be identified as Christians. A number of passengers suggested the terrorists take them as hostages. The terrorists agreed. The family was taken to the front of the car, tied and ordered to get on their knees. For three days and three nights Sophia and her family remained in the car at gunpoint.

Sophia remembered Jesus’ visit with her months earlier. “Lord, I’m a sinful person. If I get out of this, Lord, I’ll go back to college and be a witness to Rita Santos.”

At that moment, Jesus appeared to Sophia. “Sophia, I didn’t say anything about witnessing to Rita Santos. I commanded you to be her friend. You were to come to learn her culture and learn not to disregard people because they are socially or culturally different then yours. You continue to break my command to love your neighbor as you do yourself. Just because Rita Santos is Mexican is not reason to treat her as a non-human. Or someone to disregard as an alien, a non person. Rita Santos is my child who I love unconditionally.

“Lord, I’m so sorry for my sins against you. Forgive me,” Sophia prayed.

Following Sophia’s prayer, Spanish police officers unknown to the terrorists boarded the train, captured all six members, and then took them off to prison. When Sophia returned to school at Oklahoma State University, she sought and found Rita Santos. By the end of the Fall semester, Sophia was able to introduce Rita as her friend. She learned the beauty and uniqueness of the Mexican society and culture. Within time, Sophia and Rita were inseparable friends. They prayed together, went to Church together and read the Bible at every opportunity they had. At the beginning of the Spring semester, Jesus visited Sophia.

“Sophia, good evening!”

“Yes, Lord! What would you have me to do?”

I want you to be a friend to Donna Tiger, a Native American girl and Crystal Rhodes, an African-American girl. Is there a problem?”

“No, Lord! I will do as You command.”

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