Keith and I just returned from Vietnam and Cambodia. Fire Road and Kim Phuc Phan Thi were on my mind the entire trip.
The Anti-American War (the Vietnamese name for the Vietnam War) is ever present there and in the scars of Kim Phuc. Yet, the same spirit that Kim Phuc demonstrates in Fire Road was apparent in the Vietnamese. They say they bear no grudge, “after all, we won.”
The Vietnamese welcome Americans and look to the future robust economy.
Kim welcomes the faith in Jesus that came through her fire road, and she looks to the future of people living a life of peace.
Fire Road adds the “spiritual stepping stones that, unbeknownst to me, were paving a path to get me to God,” (p. vii) that were absent in Denise Chong’s The Girl in the Picture.
From a carefree childhood to an instant of horror, from being left for dead for three days in the morgue to 17 surgeries and painful treatments, from minders tracking her every move to interruptions in her education, from Vietnam to Cuba, Kim’s journey was a walk through the agony of war, the control of the Communist regime, and the pain of napalm.
Yet, it is much more.
Kim’s story is a journey from “Why?” to “Who.” Why did the napalm touch her body? Why was she left for dead in the hospital morgue? Why was her education always being interrupted? Who is this God above all the gods she served in her Cao Dai temple?
The fact is we all are children of war, whether we have seen a single bomb fall from the sky. A battle is being waged inside of us, and the spoils are our souls. God was showing me that every person knows on some level what it is to suffer and strive, what it is to wear scars they cannot erase. ‘Tell them I will give them strength to bear their pain.’ the Lord has encouraged me daily (pp. 262-263).
Kim has many opportunities to give hope to others. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Culture of Peace, urging reconciliation, mutual understanding, and peace.
She established the Kim Foundation International to help bring physical and psychological healing to children injured in wars.
Through Kim’s journey, her family came to know God. From her pain, she is able to offer hope to others. Through Joseph’s pain, God brought his family together, and he offered hope and life to his family as well as all in Egypt.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20
Kim’s journey has been one of pain, and yet, the Holy Spirit has prompted her to see God at work in her life, bringing her to a point of forgiveness, hope, and love.
“We cannot change history.” I say at every UNESCO speaking opportunity I go to, “but with love, we can heal the future.” No matter the question posed, the answer, I believe is love (p. 242).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Father, You are a good, good Father. You chose Kim Phuc from before her birth. You used tragedy to bring about good. You gave her a spirit that wouldn’t quit. You gave her insight into Your work, and You gave her the ability to forgive and love beyond human capacity. Bless her work and her husband’s work. Bless all who read about Your work in her life. Bring blessing, comfort and hope to those she touches through this book and through her ministries. God, You are good … all the time. We praise Your holy Name! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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