November 14th last year, was not a normal day like any others for Rebecca. Her husband, Peniel who works with the World Council of Churches was on work travel in Taipei and Rebecca remained In Geneva with their sons.
That morning, Rebecca prepared their sons Ebenezer (10 yrs) and Cleon (6) for school and left for work at the Lutheran World Federation. Little did she know that some people had been trailing all her family movements.
On return home that evening at around 18.30, she inserted the keys as usual to open the door. Unlike other days, the entire lock unit came out. Someone had intruded into her home. “Mama, someone must have broken into our house”, said Ebenezer. Confused and in a state of Shock, Rebecca quickly walked into her house and dashed into the bedroom where she safely kept one of her favorable gifts – a wedding necklace known in her language as Mangalasutra [Literally ‘wedding chain’ which in some South Indian traditions a groom ties around the bride’s neck during marriage symbolizing the bonds of marriage]. This was a necklace given to her by Peniel’s parents during her wedding in 2004.
“The entire house was upside down, they had pulled everything down, things were scattered, computers on the floor, glass from the broken door splintered all over,” she narrated to Geneva Lutheran. The wedding necklace was missing as well as other valuable items. Burglars had struck and robbed her off her sense of security.
“I felt unsafe, I was shaken, didn’t know what to do or where to start as Peniel was away” she says.
I Saw God through my son.
Rebecca stayed numb as multiple thoughts crossed her mind. Unaware of what to do or procedure to follow, she sat on the stairs confused. “Mama, let’s call the police and Vanita [a member of our congregation]”, murmured her son. Outside and in confusion, Ebenezer true to his name became the rock of help. “He took the phone called and narrated the ordeal to the police”. With not so good French, Rebecca watched in awe, as her son explained to the police in French what had happened. The police instructed them to stay out of the apartment and not to touch anything as they made their way to the crime scene.
Next person to be called was Vinita, who was equally helpful to Rebecca at that point of brokenness and loss.
The police got onto their investigation work after a few minutes of their arrival, she narrates. As they waited on the stairs for the police to conclude the dusting of fingerprints, Ebenezer encouraged the mum assuring her that everything would be okay.
“He was so calm and composed” she says. He suggested who to call for help and offered comfort.
“His strength gave me hope”.
“God was with him and gave him courage to comfort us”. “He was empowered because at that time I was scared and couldn’t think straight,” confessed Rebecca.
After the police had finished with all the forensic work, they were both allowed into the apartment.
Although they were relieved to get back their apartment after hours of police work; the long journey ahead of coping was doubtful. The feeling of insecurity and constant thoughts of what had happened a few days ago, traumatized everyone. “I was traumatized, the boys were so afraid” she lament. “The three of us slept in one room, for we were so afraid to separate from each other”, says Rebecca. For two nights and two days, Rebecca stayed in, locked in her room. She was afraid to leave for fears that someone would sneak in. Peniel arrived home on the third day and thereafter, life normalized.
With the assistance from WCC, she managed to get insurance compensation for most of the lost items. The experience she went through gave her life lesson she shared with Geneva Lutheran:-
• Be aware of what is happening around you, secure your locks.
• Change your routine, for one might not be sure who is watching.
• Keep receipts of valuable items, for they make compensation process easy.
• Talk about own experience with other people, for others may have encountered the same and could give better advice or show compassion.