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The evening news continued on, "A young woman, Kim Abrams, has been shot in the back of the head and transported to the hospital in critical condition. She remains nonresponsive at the time of this report." Suddenly, my ears perked up. It was as though God had said, You will have contact with this person in the future. Puzzled, I assumed that I had simply misunderstood my heart, for she was taken to another hospital across town. However, she eventually ended up in the department where I worked as a staff nurse.

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Medically unstable upon admission, Kim appeared on our unit with a tracheotomy, intravenous fluids, urinary catheter, multiple surgical incisions, Jackson-Pratt drains and a peg tube for continuous feedings. Since the bullets entered the back of her brain, she showed impaired speech and movement, a reduced visual field and altered mental capacities. Confused, combative, pulling at her tubes and continually trying to get out of bed, we had to restrain Kim to protect her from herself. The nursing staff marveled that she survived.


Since Kim had been transferred to us from another facility, we received little information on her personal life. However, we did know that this was not her first brush with violence. She had been hospitalized before with stab wounds inflicted by her pimp. The shooting that precipitated this admission resulted from a botched drug deal.


Over the next thirteen weeks, Kim slowly regained her mental functions, although her responses to questions continued to be only yes or no. During this period, all of her tubes were removed, she regained her ability to feed herself and learned to transfer from bed to wheelchair with little assistance. Even though Kim had made overwhelming progress, she would not be able to function on her own upon discharge. No family members were willing to care for her. Her pimp, Chris, disappeared when it was apparent she would no longer be normal. She was scheduled for transfer to a state home by the end of the month.


I was assigned to Kim for the last week of her hospital stay, and we slowly developed a working relationship. Kim communicated well through facial expressions, gestures and eye contact. She seemed to understand what was going on around her and responded well to directions.


Three days before she left, as I was washing my hands in her room, I sensed God asking, Aren't you going to witness to her? I did not want to deny hearing his voice. I dried my hands and sat at Kim's bedside, determined to begin a serious conversation. I explained that we all have to make life choices, and that I knew she did not chose to be shot. Her expression communicated that she did not understand what I had told her. I discovered that, even after all this time in the hospital, no one had explained to her what had happened. I told her about the drug deal, the shooting and the causes of her present state of health. She shed silent tears.


I continued telling Kim she still had choices to make in life. She could choose to go to heaven when she dies. I asked if she had heard the story of Jesus. She put her arm out in front of her, turning her hand up and down as if to say, Kind of.


Kim listened with interest as I told her about Jesus. Afterward, I asked her about her life. Did she want her sins forgiven? Did she want to go to heaven? Did she want to discover that Jesus is the light of the world, and those who follow him shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life? She nodded yes. Since her only response to questions and conversation were nods or shakes, I knew she could not pray aloud, so I asked her to repeat in her mind the words I was going to say. Then Jesus would forgive her and come to live in her heart forever.


We prayed together. "Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins. I now invite you into my heart and life. I want to follow you as Lord. Amen."


She wept during and after the prayer. I can only imagine how God must have touched Kim's heart, erasing all her sins, taking away years of pain, filling the loneliness of an empty life and giving her hope in an apparently hopeless future.


Later, I reinforced Kim's understanding of the decision she had made by showing her the Jesus movie, distributed by Campus Crusade for Christ. She watched it twice and cried both times. I pointed to the cross on the wall, suggesting she focus on it and I gave her Scripture passages to remember. We rejoiced together each day.


Kim was transferred a day earlier than expected. I did not get to say goodbye or offer a final prayer with her. I think of her often and hope she will hold on to her newfound love for God through his Son, Jesus. I have faith, though, that God will continue to send Christians into her life as he had sent me.