CBF Field Personnel / Field Personnel Columns

This is Soul Work

By Tina Bailey

Over the past few years I have written several times about Anne. She is one of the women I have mentored over the years in the prison in Bali.

Well, Anne was freed (sort of) on February 21. I say sort of, because she really is not free yet. As I write this it is April 1, and she still has not been able to return to her home country of Thailand. She is in an immigration detention center waiting for a ticket to fly home on one of the 2 direct flights a month right now to her country that she can take. The process of freedom is always a complicated one…but with the world in the turmoil of COVID it is even harder.  

Embassies short staffed, PCR tests, fit to fly letters, and long quarantines upon arrival…This I feared would delay her return home, and all of it has. But she also had yet another set back, one that was not her doing but has made it all much harder brought about from the selfishness of others.

Two others also being held at the detention center carried out an escape rather than being deported to their countries. This action has made it harder for everyone else being held. 

So Anne waits, and I wait with her helping however I can, by communicating with her family and jumping through the complicated hoops to see her. I am grateful to see her even though I only had 15 minutes with her. I held her and she cried. She is fine she says, but so ready to be home. Some of her wait is necessary…but some is not.

When will we all realize that we are our brothers and sisters keepers? 

Selfishness harms. Sometimes desperation blinds people. But sometimes people simply do not care, they will do whatever it takes to get whatever they want and take no heed of the wake they leave behind them. This is the situation that has impacted my friend Anne.

What I do in the prisons has opened my eyes to so much. In a very large way selfishness is an outcome of fear and a blindness that comes from the need to survive brought about by trauma. It is a complex hungry beast. It only sees it’s own needs, in some ways it is the worst of addictions because as long as it is in control it is never satisfied. Yet I find hope because there are those like Anne who find healing and begin to find restoration. They face themselves becoming honest about their own conscious of unconscious selfish behavior.

This is soul work. We all must do this work to be truly free.

So Anne waits, not in anger, but in hope that she will be home soon. She has already faced so much. She is a realist but she is tired. My hope is that she will be one the next available flight. if she is I will be at the airport to see her off. It is her time now. 

Tina Bailey is a CBF field personnel serving alongside her husband Jonathan in Bali, Indonesia. Lean more about and support their ministry at www.cbf.net/bailey.

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