Noi’s hands skillfully tie the rope. Her chipped, pink fingernails work in muscle memory as she shows how she made a noose that one day — that one day that was supposed to be her last.
She was at the end of her strength. Bills were piling up. The doctor in her hometown in Thailand said there was nothing more they could do for her sickness. She was responsible for taking care of her granddaughter, but she couldn’t afford the basic needs like food and clothes. Her husband wasn’t much help. He was a cold, unaffectionate alcoholic.
“I had so many burdens,” Noi said in an interview by Reach Beyond. “I felt so discouraged.”
Suicide isn’t uncommon in that area of the country. The area hospital notes that her hometown has one of the highest rates in the country.
On that one day, Not set out walking to a nearby farm with the intention of hanging herself. She took a radio so people could find her body after she was gone.
“That very moment when I thought of ending my life, I turned on the radio and heard the announcer say, ‘Don’t commit suicide. Don’t add to the statistics. Why add to the number of deaths,’ ” Noi said. “When I heard that, I stopped everything.”
It was a Christian radio station started by missionaries. The speaker knew about the suicide problem in Thailand and was begging them to stop killing themselves.
Noi called the radio station to tell them she was going to hang herself and gave them a location where they could find her body.
Instead, she got to learn more about these Christians who said they loved her. The radio host that day was a local pastor who invited her to come to the church. She stopped by later that day and learned about the God who can give her the strength to go on.
It wasn’t long before Noi’s desperation turned into salvation.
There’s a parallel at this part of Noi’s story: At first she wanted to die out of pain and sadness, but soon she wanted to die to her sins out of hope and redemption. She was baptized in a pool outside the church, her white choir robe floating around her in the water.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country with high rates of sex trafficking. The country is 43rd in order of suicide rates, coming after war-torn countries like South Sudan. More than 13 people out of every 1,000 in Thailand will commit suicide.
But today, there is one less death. There is one less number to add to the statistic, and for that, we are thankful.