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A Woman's Place

Phan Thi Kim Phuc: A Story of Forgiveness
Date: Tuesday, 1 July 2008, 10:37 am

Phan Thi Kim Phuc (pronounced Fook) became famous as a child because of a Pulitzer-prizing winning photo from the Viet Name War that shows her as naked little girl running down the road screaming in pain after being hit with a napalm bomb. I listened to her speak on a a local NPR interview yesterday. She immigrated to Canada, where she be came a citizen.

Kim is touring North America and speaking about her experiences as a child, growing up in Viet Nam after the war, and her conversion to Christinaity. It's a very moving story of true forgiveness--the kind that comes from having met the living Christ in a profound way.

“The question I always asked was, ‘Why me? Why did this happen to me?’” she tells Faith Today. “I was living with anger, with bitterness, and I saw my life as a burden. I hated my life. I didn’t want to live anymore.”

However, as crocuses spring from mud, so seeds of faith were planted during Kim’s darkest hours. “Deep down in my heart I really wanted to find the truth and the meaning behind why I suffered, and why that little girl was still alive. And, thank God, I got all that answered when I was 19.”

Due to her inability to attend school, Kim engrossed herself in the library. It was there that she came upon the Bible. “I couldn’t stop reading it.” Her curiosity drove her to church, where “I heard the Gospel explained to me for the first time. The love of God changed my life. I knew that Jesus died on the cross and paid for my sins. So I asked God, ‘Do you forgive me?’”

From that point on, her cry was no longer, “Why me?” but, “Please help me.”

Kim says, “My life was like a cup of coffee. Very dark: with hatred, anger, bitterness, sorrow…” After reading the Bible, she asked God, “How can I clean everything in my heart if it’s full of coffee?” The answer, she explains, was in letting her cup be poured out every day, “until it became empty and God spilled His love into my cup.”

As she turned into an overflowing vessel of love for others, Kim says she garnered spiritual gifts: “peace, wisdom, patience, then compassion.”

The link at the bottom of the page (under the pic of Kim with baby) is to her Foundation, which reaches out to children affected by war.


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