Love conquers fear-a memoir from the Napalm girl

In war time Vietnam, 1972, 8 year old Kim Phuc Phan Thi almost died after being severely burned when a napalm bomb fell on her village. Many know her as the “Napalm girl”.

Even if you are not old enough to remember the war the United States fought in VietNam in the 1960s and 1970s, you likely have seen the Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the “Napalm girl” running down a dirt road, fleeing an attack that burned most of her body. Taken to a hospital, she was presumed dead.

But Kim Phuc Phan Thi survived and lived to lead a life worthy of being told. And she did, writing her memoir Fire Road-The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace

FIRE ROAD   by Kim Phuc Phan Thi

The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace

In war time Vietnam, 1972, 8 year old Kim Phuc Phan Thi almost died after being severely burned when a napalm bomb fell on her village.
Initially left for dead in a morgue, she survived after multiple surgeries on the burns which left her permanently scarred on much of her body. She was known as the “girl in the picture” the memories of which haunted her.
A devout follower of the Cao Dai religion, she lived  in shame, fear, pain, and despair, until she encountered Jesus in the Bible and dedicated her life to living for Him.
After years of  poverty and persecution in Vietnam, Russia, and Cuba, Kim and her husband  resettled in Canada where they tried to rebuild their lives.  But she still felt unease, with nightmares interrupting her sleep.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:14-18, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Romans 8, New International Version,
In her book, Kim wrote

“For many years I had lived in outright fear, knowing that I was always within two or three days’ time of being detained by communist minders. The incessant guardedness left me cynical and exhausted, and I had simply had enough. I determined in my heart that I would no longer live like that, always fretful over what the days might hold, always fearing the worst.

I went to Toan (her husband) and said that I would no longer live in fear, that I would practice the courage Jesus promises his followers all through Scripture. I recounted several Bible verses, especially the idea that we are no longer slaves to fear because we have been adopted into the very family of God. (verse 15, above)I will stop running from my fears, from my picture, from my past. Starting now I refuse to hide.The following morning I woke with fresh resolve, determined to simply live my life.”

Now Kim’s dedication to her Christian faith and to sharing her joy and peace takes her all over the world. She has met Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, billionaire Richard Branson, and the grand duke and duchess of Luxembourg. She speaks to business people, government officials, college students, and the news media. She has been awarded six honorary doctorates.
In her speeches and in this memoir she explains what compels her to leave her home in Canada several times a year to tell her story and urge the world to embrace forgiveness and love.

“My faith in Jesus Christ is what enabled me
to forgive those who had wronged me
to pray for my enemies rather than curse them
to love them, not just tolerate them, but to love them. “

Kim
Listen to Kim tell her story on PBS NEWS HOUR.
Her faith in action

Kim founded a non-profit organization KIM Foundation International to serve children who are disabled, disenfranchised, or displaced as she was as a child in Vietnam.

Kim’s message-Hope and Forgiveness

I found  Kim’s book riveting, challenging, and faith-building and I believe you will also. Kim’s belief in and reliance on the power of prayer challenges me to pray more for my friends and family and expect answers.

 Please let me know how this book speaks to you.

Follow this link to read the first chapter of Fire Road 

TRANG BANG, VIETNAM
WAR? WHAT WAR?

rice paddy with people in asian hats and a water buffaclo
a rice paddy in Vietnam, photo by Dr. Aletha “my husband served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and we have traveled there several times since. ”

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FAITH LOVE HOPE
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
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exploring the HEART of hope and healing

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Dr. Aletha

Before you go…

Consider reading this story which explains why my husband and I have traveled to Vietnam multiple times

a man and woman on a bench, looking at each other

Two Words That Still Change My Life

When I watched the war in Vietnam on TV news, I didn’t realize the doctor I had read about had worked there. I never imagined that I would ever go there. And I never imagined that war would help me meet my husband, and create a family that brings me joy every day.

Words for Fathers from Luke 15 

a story Jesus told about fatherhood, faith, and forgiveness

The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.

12 The younger one said to his father,

‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’

So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’

20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ‘

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.

27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 ” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “

via Luke 15 – NIV – Bible Study Tools.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.