Kimberly Cooke is a volunteer through International Ministries serving at Nightlight in Bangkok. Kim is a social worker and works at the transition house for trafficked women. -- Annie Dieselberg
A woman in my care died. I was with her in the hospital. I slept in an icebox of an ICU lounge. I held her hand. I prayed for her. I spoke to her and stroked her hair. She was unresponsive. And now I sit calling her family, packing her things, writing her daughter a letter about a mother she didn't know. I spent a month with this woman. Now I'm writing a letter for this child to read five years from now, as if I was her best friend, offering her insights into this mystical woman; mother.
Let me back up.
"I thank God for my life. I want to go home." She says to me as we pray each night. And so we do what the Transition House does best - prepare her to go home. We offer nutritious food, a safe place to sleep. We are trustworthy people and she feels comfortable to unpack the story of her life, and home, and journey to Bangkok. We listen as she tells us horrible stories about humankind, and the overwhelming goodness of strangers. We are able to point out the miraculous works of God in her life. We worship with her each morning and pray with her each night. We talk about healthy relationships and how to forgive and change. We discuss the power of the devil and how Christ has overcome the world.
I see the twinkle in her eye as she speaks with her sister on the phone. These two best friends are chatting about her homecoming. Laughing, joking, she is so excited. Her daughter is now six, the last time they hugged was three years ago. The dresses she purchased from sleepless shame filled nights, carefully packed away. A token of a mother's love. Maybe her daughter will understand.
And the preparation continues. Going to the doctor to see about health, sharing her story to the police and other organizations helping with funds and logistics for the return home. But at the doctor's office, test results are not good.
So we accelerate the process of her homecoming. We look to book tickets quickly. She needs to go home. To see her family. To begin treatment at home.
But life doesn't turn out the way we plan. And here I am helping the staff and other woman at the house say goodbye and process grief.
"If only she could have gotten home in time to see her family one last time." Sure, she was looking forward to seeing her daughter. How many times had she told us that the Transition House was an answer to her prayers? How many times had she said evidence of God's love for her - was us? Her body was in so much pain. She had so many worries. She just wanted to go home. And here we are, kind, caring, accepting, willing to assist on her journey home.
We prepared her to go home. Just not the home originally imagined. We did our job, lovingly and well. She died in peace. She died in comfort. She died hearing her favorite Scriptures read over her. She died surrounded by a loving God.
I imagine her homecoming was spectacular; more delightful and rewarding then she ever dreamed. And now, she's dancing with Jesus on streets made of the purest gold. No pain, no worries. God's favorite child has finally arrived home.
Transition House Manager
To provide support for NightLight and the Dieselberg's other ministries, go to -- www.internationalministries.org/teams/62-dieselberg