Title: Fire Road
Caption: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace
Author: Kim Phuc Phan Thi
What’s it about?
Fire Road is a truly inspiring autobiography from the woman who’s life was changed by the Vietnam War and by the photo of her running from a Napalm attacm that spread quickly across the world. It’s full of real suffering, amazing hope and true joy. Kim traces how God has been at work throughout the entirety of her life, even when it seemed she was utterly alone, and when the pain of her burns was so unbearable. She has challenged me, inspired me, comforted me and encouraged me. I cannot reccomend this book enough
‘Fire Road is a story of both unrelenting horror and unexpected hope, a harrowing tale of life changed in an instant. In this stunning first-hand account of struggling to find answers in a world that only seemed to bring anguish, Kim ultimately discovers her strength in someone who had suffered himself, transforming her tragedy into an unshakeable faith.’Back Page – Tyndale House Publishers
Why I read it: I simply stumbled across this book in a (10 of those/good book company) magazine and immediately recognised the photo on the book’s front cover. We had been shown it during our GCSE history module on the Vietnam War and the image stuck with me. And my interest and passion for Vietnam is far more than faint recollections from history lessons. Vietnam is a huge focus for our church. We pray often for the church in Vietnam and for missionaries there. And last year a group of us had the chance to go on a short term mission trip to Vietam ourselves. It was an amazing trip and you can see much more about it in a few of my older blog posts. I have a big heart for the people of Vietnam and was really excited by this book. Rather than using the famous photograph to introduce an overview of the Vietnam War, this autobiographical book would give me a valuable insight into the experience of one individual’s experience. And even more exciting,the girl in the picture had become a Christian and she was writing of Herbert own journey to putting her trust in Jesus.
Three ways in which this book inspired me:
Hope through suffering – One thing that really struck me as I read this books was the constant joy that was evident in Kim’s writing, even as she looked back on years and times of severe suffering and horrible pain. Both in physical agony and deep depression, Kim looks back and sees God at work. Right in the heart of pain she continues to look to God and find joy in his promises.
Encouragement to pray – Throughout Kim’s journey as a Christian I was really challenged by how much and how often she turned to prayer. When faced with an array of suffering, challenges and life altering situations, she was, in everything, dependent upon God. She understands her need for Him and she understands what it is to wrestle in prayer. Across many years she was faithful to the truth that God would answer her prayers and the hope that those she loved would come to put their trust in Him. She prayed knowing that her God is powerful, that he is listening and that he will work out for good all the lives of those who trust in Christ.
Learning to Forgive – There aren’t many times when I’ve had to forgive. And even then, they were minor issues compared to what Kim has experienced. Kim faced many injustices, she had many to forgive and much to forgive them for. And yet, as we read through her autobiography, we see how God has worked in her to give her the power to forgive those who brought her so much pain. The impact of forgiveness on her faith and her life is inspiring. Our Heavenly Father, the one who has freely given us forgiveness for every ounce of our sin, shows us how to give something of that same forgiveness too. We see in her writing the freedom that comes with forgiveness, and how the grace of God is so beautifully reflected in her life.
A few of my favourite quotes:
If this Jesus was indeed who he said he was, and if he had truly endured all he said he had endured, then perhaps he could help me make sense of my pain and at last come to terms with my scars.
…how God simultaneously brought birth and rebirth to my home and family, marking that years-long era of disconnection, disunity, and distance with blessing and grace… and love…
…There is no power like the Lord’s power. There is nothing as good as the goodness of God.
I my heart, I knew the answer. Those bombs led me to Christ. Armed with that information, my passion soared for helping others make the same connection between their pain as God’s ultimate plan.
The decision to pick back up my pain was never worth it. Forgiveness is always the better path…
…the darkness remained receded and I was being filled up with something good. It was peace. It was light. It was understsnding, compassion and love. And all of it was from the Lord; he was refilling me with clear, perfectly pure water.