Maria is a woman whom we met very briefly. She came into our trailer and took our phone and my handbag one afternoon while David and I were lying on the bed, watching home movies on the computer.

Acting on instinct, David leapt out of the trailer and gave chase, not knowing who or what or why he was running. When he pounced, he found himself jumping over Maria, causing her to roll on the ground, landing harmlessly. His phone flew out of Maria’s hand, and this was the first time David realised that she had attempted to take something from us.

When I emerged, I discovered David picking Maria up off the ground and apologising for knocking her over. I approached her, still not comprehending what was happening. David waved his phone at me, but I didn’t understand then that she had tried to steal it.

Soon, the story became clear as Maria confessed to me. She said she was a drug addict and was just feeling desperate for a fix.

Embracing Maria, January 2012
As we talk over things, we embrace again and again until we both stop shaking. Maria apologises for what she attempted, and I reassure her that she has our forgiveness.

Maria’s a mother of two children and felt shame that she had targeted us because we obviously have kids as well. I kept reassuring her that I didn’t blame her for what had happened, that we weren’t angry with her, and we weren’t going to call the police.

Finally, we said good-bye to each other. Maria went off to see if she could score from a friend — she had her father looking after her children in anticipation of getting high — and I returned to the trailer to marvel at the encounter with David.

We are amazed at how David reacted from instinct, leading to the full recovery of our belongings. We still don’t feel like like this was a close call or that our belongings were at risk. Rather, we had this encounter with Maria as an experience to enrich us all.

Nothing has been taken from us. We are safe — always — and we have nothing to fear. This is our testimony.