HARLAN, Ind. (WANE) – She could’ve been resentful.

She could’ve sought vengeance, or she could’ve held onto an anger about what happened to her that day in Harlan and nobody would’ve blamed her. And how could they? Three people – one man and two teen boys – attacked her right in front of her small children as she and her family were at a picnic in the park, left her bloodied and tried to steal her car.

“I was on one side of the picnic table, and then the kids were on the other side so they watched it,” Renee Von Gunten said. “They just stayed in their spots, screaming and afraid.”

They left her with not just physical wounds, but emotional ones, as well.

Who could blame anyone for holding onto anger after something like that?

Von Gunten, though, took a different path, a path forged by her Christian faith.

“It was very much a constant reminder of all the things and ways Jesus has forgiven us, and none of us deserve it. It was an unspoken ‘of course we need to forgive them,'” Von Gunten said. “That doesn’t mean what they did was okay or that they should do it again, but it was really important that we spoke that [forgiveness] over them.”

Bronson A.D. Filler was only 18 when he and two others approached Von Gunten with the idea to distract her so they could get her keys out of her purse.

Bleeding profusely, Von Gunten was able to call police.

Filler, who goes by the name “Jordan” today to leave his past behind and focus on his newfound faith in Jesus Christ, ended up angry and hit Von Gunten in the head.

When officers arrived, they found Von Gunten with a large amount of blood on her face, according to Allen Superior Court documents.

They arrested Jordan and two teenagers shortly thereafter.

Jordan, being the one who committed the battery, ended up receiving the harshest sentence.

Then, Von Gunten spoke at his sentencing hearing.

“We showed up at court, and it was just surreal to just be able to look at him, this kid that I remember from only one other short instant, and be able to speak those words over him,” Von Gunten said.

Those words were words of forgiveness.

At the sentencing, Von Gunten also made an unlikely friend, Jordan’s mother.

“She came over and she was really tearful, and she was trying to put her words together,” Von Gunten said. “Just from a mom to a mom she said, ‘I want to tell you I’m sorry, I’m sorry you and your boys had to go through that.'”

Since then, Von Gunten has had no direct contact with Jordan. She said a protective order filed as part of Jordan’s case prevents that. Von Gunten has had regular talks with Jordan’s mother and has heard about the progress he has made in prison.

“His mom had mentioned you know that he just had this Bible that he had started reading and reading,” Von Gunten said. “I know through his mom that he found Jesus in prison.”

And while praying for Jordan’s growth and celebrating his changed life, Von Gunten thought of a great way to continue to encourage change in Jordan’s life.

The victim of a battery and robbery at the hands of three people almost four years ago, Von Gunten has not only connected with the mother of one of her attackers, but she is now organizing a book drive to give him Biblical literature in prison while he serves a 12-year sentence.

“We pulled people around us and put feelers out saying, ‘Hey, we would like to send books that are personal to you to send to him,'” Von Gunten said.

Von Gunten hopes to get books donated from her church family at Pathway Community Church and send them in parcels.

And despite what happened, she hopes to speak to Jordan again.

“I would love to … which is wacky,” Von Gunten said. “My husband and I have talked about it, it is definitely something that is the desire of my heart.”

Showing that a violent turn at a picnic table in a park in Harlan doesn’t have to be the end of the story.

“What was intended for evil, God intended for good,” Von Gunten said.