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By Vittoria Allen

Years ago Licia was faced with a scenario straight out of a horror film. A masked gunman approached her and her boyfriend and told them to go down the cliffs where they were standing. The gunman ordered them to pick up their blankets so no one would know they were there and in that moment Licia felt like she would be dying that night. She was able to escape and later an officer explained to her that they were attacked by a serial rapist who had not yet been caught.

Years later, Licia became a litigation attorney and was eventually connected with Sammie. Sammie was finishing up her sophomore year as an undergrad and already knew with confidence that she wanted to be an attorney so she eagerly met with Licia to discuss her future and opportunities in the field. 

After about 30 minutes of chatting, Sammie expressed her desire to become a criminal prosecutor. "I felt compelled, I felt this small voice come to me say, 'You can share what you've dealt with and what you've been through.' I decided to tell her about my biological father." So Sammie shared with Licia how her father, who was a former police man, was convicted of being a serial rapist and had been in jail since she was about 1-year-old. 

Licia asked what his name was and was floored. Sammie was the daughter of her attacker.  Heartbroken at the fact that his young woman never had a relationship with her father, all she could do was hug Sammie and say "God bless you." God turned something in Licia's life that was painful and fearful, and turned it into something full of hope. 

Sammie felt like it was God speaking to her that day, telling her to share her story and was blown away that they now shared this connected experience together. Not long after their meeting, Sammie and her mother decided to visit Fort Rosecrans in Point Loma where her grandfather was buried. On the way there they saw the Rock Church building and Sammie expressed that she'd been wanting to go there. Her mom, devoutly Catholic, reluctantly agreed. As they walked into the 7PM service, Sammie's mom couldn't believe who the pastor was. 

She turned to Sammie and said, "This is Miles McPhereson." 

"Who is that?"

"Sam, he visited your biological father when he was in jail." 

Years before, Pastor Miles was asked to visit a the wife of a former officer who was sent to jail. He saw this photo of a little girl, maybe 1 year old and his heart broke. About 18 years later, that wife and her daughter found themselves at Rock Church, waiting to speak to Pastor Miles after service. Overwhelemd with joy, Pastor Miles looked at Sammie and said "I'm your Uncle Miles, meet my family." That started a relationship with his entire family that became very powerful and eventually, Sammie married Pastor Miles son. They now have a son of their own.

God took both Sammie and Leesha and weaved their stories together for a beautiful and eternal purpose. "Sometimes you wonder 'why me', but at the same time I can see why. Because I was able to meet Licia." 

Together, over 20 years after a tragic scenario, Licia and Sammie were brought together to help heal each other's wounds and to share a testimony of God's faithfulness, even in the darkest of times.