It was spring 2012, and my daughter Caitlyn (Kate) had just gotten back to our home in Wisconsin from her mission trip to India and Nepal. While in India, my daughter and her best friend AmyJane, both contracted an illness that dared to kill them both. Doctors thought for sure that Kate had malaria and they were doing all they could to make her well. At the same time, AmyJane was battling the same illness and was trying to recover at her home in Oregon. Both girls were so sick and it broke my heart to see them so ill. I felt completely helpless as to what to do. Finally after contact with the Center for Disease Control and many local doctors, it was determined that my daughter Kate had a rare type of food poisoning, which was resistant to the antibiotics that the doctors had been using. After the 4th round of antibiotics, my daughter Kate was finally made well. Soon after my daughter Kate was healed, we were relieved to hear that AmyJane had been cured as well.
We were excited and feeling blessed that the girls were finally going to be okay, and yet this was not the case. Yes my daughter Kate would be spared. However, by August 2012, after being cured from her illness, AmyJane (only 19 yrs. old) was brutally attacked and murdered at a motel where she had recently begun to work as a housekeeper. We were devastated when the news arrived and couldn’t fathom why God would take such a beautiful young girl who had only been seeking to do His will and live for Him.
A year later, another woman (Karen Lange), was targeted by the same man who had killed AmyJane. Karen was attacked in a similar way, and although she came close to death, she amazingly survived the attack and lived to tell her story. It was through her attack, that authorities were able to track down the man that had killed AmyJane. I was surprised when I heard Karen’s story in an NBC Dateline special. Karen’s reaction showed how God really does give us the ability to forgive, even in times when the act against us seems unforgivable. She is a true woman of faith and through her testimony, many have been blessed. Her story reminded me of Corrie Ten Boom and her courageous story of love and forgiveness despite the torture she faced during WWII.
There is always a lesson to be learned in every experience we have. Finding the light in a dark place can be so hard at times, but not impossible. There was a light in AmyJane that could not be extinguished and her memory lives on in this video that I wanted to share with all of you. Never stop for a moment to show your love for others, for in a single second, their life could be taken from this world. We love and miss you AmyJane… May your beautiful spirit live on, and may others always remember you as a rare and beautiful light who shared her compassion and love without hesitation. We will never forget you!
“I remember you so often even in the little things. I’ll feel the wind, step in the grass, or even just look at the stars and am reminded of you. Still to this day you are my inspiration. When I’m having a hard day, I just remind myself what you would say or do because not many things ever got to you. You were content in the hardest of situations. I know God placed you in my life for a reason. Even though your gone, your light still lives among so many people and keeps shinning hope for us all. Beloved friend you are so missed by many. This video is for all your friends and family so that they too can have the amazing memories that I have of you. I love you forever.” ♥ ~Kate Cook