A Credit Card Thief's Eternal Debt Is Paid

Forgiveness has stolen the heart of a thief.

Elena, an employee at Netgate, an Internet café in Florence, Italy, discovered a credit card left by a customer. After fraudulently charging nearly $1,000, she was wracked with guilt and called the cardholder, asking her to come by the café.

Gina Erickson, an American missionary with Campus Crusade, was relieved by the call. Sobbing, Elena confessed to Gina that she had used the credit card, promising to pay the charges. Anticipating anger, Elena was dumbfounded by Gina's forgiveness.

Gina's fellow missionaries at the University of Florence encouraged their teammate to initiate with Elena further. Reluctantly, Gina stopped by Netgate and invited Elena to lunch. She accepted immediately.

"I feel like my heart is an iceberg," she told Gina. Recoiling from the recent loss of her father, Elena longed for relationships. Gina listened intently, but she didn't anticipate the question that followed: "Do you have anything you'd like to share with me?"

Gina explained how God desired a personal relationship with her. Elena received the gift of salvation, and God paid the charge.