ROCKFORD — Six years after a Rockford woman tragically lost her daughter and two grandsons in a quadruple homicide, she says she’s chosen to forgive the killer.
“By the grace of God, he has given me peace,” said Rolanda Collins, who spent the anniversary of their death last weekend surrounded by family. There was no special memorial or tribute, just a place of love, she said.
Collins’ daughter, Martia Flint, was at home with her two sons, Tyrone Smith III, 6, and Tobias K. Smith, 4, and her boyfriend, Demontae Rhodes, on Dec. 20, 2014, when all four were shot to death.
Calvin L. Carter, 28, who has ties to Rockford and the St. Louis area, was convicted of the killings and sentenced to four life terms plus 280 years in prison.
Since the trial ended in 2017, Collins has relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she has joined World Outreach and Bible Training Center. Her new church home has provided support and comfort over the years, and that’s where she found the strength to forgive Carter.
“There’s a group at the church called the Healing Clinic. I ended up going there one day because I needed healing. It was imparted to me that I needed to forgive my daughter’s murderer in order to become free. “I decreed and declared, ‘I forgive you Calvin Carter, for what you took from me, for what you did to my daughter and my grandchildren.’ I said it and I said it from my heart. My life has not been the same since. I have found so much peace and I’ve developed a deeper level with Christ.”
What wasn’t contained in this article was the appearance of the “Healing Rooms” for which I founded and led a team who were leaning healing ministry. On this night when Rolanda declared healing over the murderer, she came into the clinic in desperate need. About 5 years had gone by since the quadruple murder. I sat at the end of the conference table that facilitated prayer and conversation. I asked her why she was here this night and she replied with the story you already read. The team began to jump in and gave her scripture. That was good, but I knew she already had 5 years of counseling and nothing worked so far, what could we say or do to help now?
Once she completed the story and the team chided in, I listened giving each and opportunity to help her. With 10 minutes left for the clinic I stood from my seat and walked over to her and declared to her that tonight this oppression and anxiety leaves you.
You know there has to be a place in us when “enough is enough.” Before saying that I already knew Jesus wanted to appear to her but I did not know how. My wife got up also to assist me. She knows the look on my face when God is up to something.
I knew this would not take long if Jesus shows up. I also knew most counselors are more interested in what “they know” compared to what Jesus can do. My (our) job is to bring heaven to earth as believers. Then we follow His instructions and things get “done.” What we seldom understand is that Jesus wants to do this stuff more than we want too. He also does not like wasting a lot of time.
I saw in my mind an image of a big wooden door while Rolanda sat in front of it. I took my knuckles and knocked twice on the wooded conference table and asked Rolanda if she could see the door? She said “no.” I knocked again on the table and asked again, “can you see it?” This time she said yes! I told her to open the door. She paused reluctantly. All of us wondered what would happen. She used her hand to turn the handle and pull the door open. Without any of us being able to see what she saw, the room was filled with crying and weeping. I knew Jesus was going to appear to her but I did not know who else would be there. I asked again, “Rolanda what do you see? Tell us! She told us the that her grandsons and daughter were there They were talking to her and saying, “we are OK? We are having fun here.” Her daughter also said, we are fine Mom, don’t worry about us! A pause was needed so we could all cry as Rolanda told us what she saw. Then I asked, Rolanda look up, what do you see? She said a bright light, it’s the glory of Jesus. I further instructed her to invite Him in and tell Him you need a long hug. They both did that. Next I knew she needed to forgive the killer. I asked if Jesus was speaking to her and she said “yes, he wants me to forgive Calvin, the murderer. Rolanda blurted out forgiveness to him, although he was not there.
Following that you could feel the room get light. All the anxiety and oppression left Rolanda. She was free.