Tricia stepped shyly through the backdoor with Julie.
"Mom, can Tricia stay with us for awhile? Her mom and dad are breaking up, and they lost their house they were renting…and she has no place to stay."
Another stray. How many children Lord are you going to send to this home?
"Yes, Tricia may stay for as long as she needs to."
A small smile appeared upon Tricia's face. She was only 15 years old and such a tiny thing. Her long beautiful black hair flowed half-way down her small back. She had beautiful almond shaped brown eyes. She truly was a gorgeous little thing.
Tricia stayed in our home for many months. And because one of the rules in our home was that if you were living with us, you went to church with us, she soon got in the routine of going to church every Sunday.
I don't recall if Tricia had ever been to church before, but in her quiet way, I believe she enjoyed the services and youth group.
One Sunday, as the pastor presented the alter call, sweet Tricia went forward to accept Jesus as her Savior. It was an exciting day for all of us, and we saw what we thought was the biggest smile we had ever seen her wear. Of course as a mother, I was ecstatic to know that our family had been a part in bringing her to Christ.
One Sunday morning in January after returning home from church, we received a phone call. I had to take the phone from OUR daughter Trisha (Trisha with an "sha" not a "cia") who was hysterical.
One of my daughter Julie's friend's mom was on the phone. She was telling me words that would not register. Finally, the words sunk in. The police had found Tricia and her boyfriend dead in a garage. Apparently because it was cold outside, they had parked at the boyfriend's workplace in his van and had the car running. They had no idea that the carbon monoxide would fatally overcome them and they would both lose their precious lives.
Tricia was supposed to be sleeping over a girlfriend's house. Now, instead of coming "home," the next day, she would not be coming home at all. This would be one of the most difficult times in my family's life. It had been just awhile ago, we had celebrated a Sunday of her conversion and now this Sunday we were in shock mourning her death. We could not believe that Tricia was gone -- her sweet, shy smile and warm big almond eyes.
Never in our wildest imagination, would our family have anticipated that our hospitality would not only give Tricia a "home" on earth, but also a "home" in heaven for the short time she stayed with us.
It's been over ten years now, and every January we especially think about her. She will always be dear to our hearts, and we look forward to the day when we will again be able to see her smile and those big brown eyes, when we meet up with her once again in heaven.
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