The ShareJOY Run

Do you desire to help make a life-changing difference in other people’s lives? Many do, and most recognize that in helping others they too are blessed. In fact, Jesus said in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The ShareJOY Run is just such an opportunity to help others and be personally encouraged. It’s a 5K run and 1-mile walk campaign that helps to raise financial support for others in need, both globally and locally. Specifically, the donations help to build freshwater wells in third-world countries and financially support fire stations in our local community. The ShareJOY Team recognizes that Together Everyone Achieves More. One person certainly can make a difference, but thousands of people working together to promote the same cause can change whole villages and communities.

Globally, this year we have teamed up with missionaries in Cambodia and Burma who live and serve in these countries and who will oversee the water well installation projects. Locally, we will financially contribute to help fire stations in Upper Providence Township, Pa.

Will you join us on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Share the JOY? By running in the 5K or walking the 1-mile course, you’ll be helping others by providing life-giving water!

Not a runner, or not in town that weekend? No worries. You can give anytime at www.thesharejoyrun.org. Give once, give often. One drop of water doesn’t make much of an impact, but thousands of droplets can save a life, and tens of thousands can transform villages. Donate today!

With your financial support, a new well will bring fresh water and new life to a needy village and its inhabitants, as well as financial support to fire stations in our community.

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. —Jesus, as recorded in Mark 9:41

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. —Jesus, as recorded in John 4:14

Date and Location

The ShareJOY Run – Saturday after Thanksgiving – November 26, 2016, at Lower Perkiomen Park, Oaks, Pa.

Water = Life

Discipleship 101


I’ll call him George. I had never met him before that day. He walked through our church doors one late Sunday afternoon to “catch the evening show” as he called it. George managed a printing press crew that worked through Saturday nights and therefore he slept on Sunday mornings. That Sunday we met and started a friendship that would last the rest of his short life.

Our church was just inaugurating a discipleship ministry, and George was the first participant. We were challenged by the Scriptures to make disciples of Christ. Disciple means more than pupil or learner; it is an adherent. A disciple is one who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct. Our effort was not only to be followers of Christ but also to make followers.

What is Discipleship?

Discipleship is a distinctively Christian term. Culturally, we may call it mentoring or coaching (as in having a life-coach). The goal of our discipleship program is to help people learn God’s way of living as recorded in the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures, also called the Bible, is the manual for living that the Creator gave us. It teaches us how life is best lived.

A few years ago, I purchased a new and improved lawn mower, and it was delivered to my house with a comprehensive booklet titled Operator’s Manual. I read the manual and found instructions for running the machine, a preventative maintenance schedule, a parts list, and even a troubleshooting guide. After all, machines have mechanical problems. I could have run the mower without reading the manual because I know how lawn mowers basically work. However, following the manual will generally result in fewer mechanical problems and a longer lifespan of the equipment.

The same is true for life. Following God’s Operator’s Manual, the Bible, has tremendous benefits. God does not seek to minimize our happiness, but much the opposite, He desires to maximize our joy of living.

Christian Mentoring from A to Z

Our discipleship program is called Christian Mentoring from A to Z. It covers 26 key teachings in the Scripture—26 core lessons that can make life better. Those who participate are assigned a personal coach—man to man and woman to woman. The instructors are caring individuals who are simply further down the road in their spiritual journey.

George and I started the mentoring relationship unaware of what was soon to occur in his life. His progress in understanding the Bible was remarkable—not by baby steps but in quantum leaps. Life improved on all fronts—relationships with his wife, children, and co-workers, victory over addictive behaviors, etc. Yet decades of smoking had taken its toll on George’s health and eventually took his life. He didn’t blame God for cancer; he acknowledged his error of ignoring too many warnings by family, friends, and doctors.

God’s Instruction Manual for Life

Life contains many twists and turns, sometimes within our control but often beyond it. In each case, God’s Word provides instructions and/or answers. A discipleship relationship with a trusted confidant is a tremendous asset.

Jesus Christ chose 12 disciples to pour His life into. After He was ascended to heaven and the disciples were on trial for their faith, the verdict was reached, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John…they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Act 4:13). The disciples had learned from their Mentor.

If you desire to know more about our discipleship program, please contact the church office. We are ready to help.

Top 5 Reasons Your Child Should Attend Day Camp!

Fantastically Friendly

Our professional staff provides campers with a positive environment. We ensure personal care and attention with 1 Counselor to every 4 Campers! Counselors demonstrate sincere care for your child because they love being with kids!

Completely Clean

Our camp facilities offer complete amenities, including air conditioning and up-to-date equipment to ensure your camper’s time with us is memorable. Professional cleaning staff keep our buildings and grounds clean and safe at all times, and that helps make drop-off and pick-up easy and convenient for parents on the go!

Awesome Activities

Valley Forge Baptist Day Camp offers themed activities that aim to foster new relationships, promote teamwork, and build creativity. Our camp will have an impact on your child for a lifetime and give him or her memories to cherish forever. Activities include swimming, outdoor fun, games in our gymnasium, and field trips to exciting destinations.

Enthusiastically Engaged

Valley Forge Baptist Day Camp offers your child a break from technology so that he or she can be physically active. Your child will build creativity with real people, real activities, and real emotions. We include core values in many activities, demonstrating relationship skills such as caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Amazingly Affordable

Our “pay as you go” payment plan makes Valley Forge Baptist Day Camp doable for any budget, because you pay only for the days your child attends! The weekly cost is one of the most affordable in the area. The combination of our fantastic staff and modern facilities makes this a great value for every household.

visit http://valleyforgedaycamp.org for more information

Ray & Doris – Stories That Impact

Listen as Ray and Doris explain how friendships they have made through attending church have affected their lives over the years. Christ called the church a “body”, every person is important and has a part to play. Just as important is the fact that we forge lasting relationships to help build up and support our brothers and sisters in Christ.

For more information about Valley Forge Baptist, visit thecaringchurch.com

How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life

Sometimes in this thing we call life we need to go “back to the basics.” Vince Lombardi was one of the winningest coaches in National Football League history. He was a fanatic about fundamentals. Those who played under his leadership often spoke of his intensity, his drive, his endless enthusiasm for the game. Time and again he would come back to the basic techniques of blocking and tackling. On one occasion his team, the Green Bay Packers, lost to an inferior squad. It was bad enough to lose, but to lose to that team was absolutely inexcusable. Coach Lombardi called a practice the very next morning. The men sat silently, looking more like whipped puppies than a team of champions. They had no idea what to expect from the man they feared the most. Gritting his teeth and staring holes through one athlete after another, Lombardi began:

“OK, we go back to the basics this morning…”

Holding a football high enough for all to see, he continued, yelling:

“Gentlemen, this is a football!”

How basic can you get? The coach has men sitting in front of him who’ve been on the gridiron for 15 to 20 years, and he’s introducing them to a football! That’s like saying, “Maestro, this is a baton.” or “Librarian, this is a book.” or “Chef, this is a skillet.” Talk about the obvious! Why would Coach Lombardi state the obvious? Because he believed that excellence could be best achieved by working on the basics of the sport. His strategy for playing football was to know your position, learn to do the right thing, and then do it with all of your might. What works in the game of football works in life.

A new year is a time for a fresh start. Are there some things in your life that need improving, such as family relationships, finances, health? Someone said, “You’re never too old to learn!” That can be true of you in 2015! Suppose you were starting life all over. You’re now old enough to have learned some of life’s hard lessons—how to live, how to love, and how to forgive. The older you are, the more you understand that quaint but true saying: “The best things in life aren’t things.” For all of us, 2015 is a new year—a clean slate! How will you write the story of your life this new year?

An employee complained to his supervisor that he kept getting passed over for a promotion. In frustration, he said, “I have 10 years of experience!” His supervisor countered, “You have one year’s experience 10 times.” Sad to say, that employee was not growing in his work experience. So it is in life—we all want the quality of our life to grow. The apostle Paul wrote, “…but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” 2 Corinthians 4:16. God wants to give each one of us His strength, joy, and life.

Life is like a dollar bill; you can spend it any way you want to, but you can spend it only once. You have only two ways to spend money: you can waste it or you can invest it. That’s also true of your relationships, your time, and your finances. Whether you’re young or old, 6 or 60, healthy and wealthy, or puny and poor, you can make the rest of your life the best of your life…if you look to God and His Holy Word for guidance and strength.

Our new series of Bible messages for 2015 has been prepared to help you start the new year on the right foot. You can renew your soul and your relationships. If you want some encouragement on how to set the proper priorities in life and order your daily schedule, then join us on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. We will be learning how to apply biblical principles for renewing our walk with God and cultivating our most important relationships in life.

When we apply biblical priorities to daily life, we can learn how to balance all of the many demands we face each day. God’s Word can guide you on how to have a disciplined life and bring a fresh joy and passion to your schedule.

Here’s an overview of the messages planned for January and February:

January 18      Renew Your Daily Schedule

February 1      Renew Your Discipline

February 8      Renew Your Accountability

February 15    Renew Your Balance

February 22    Renew Your Love for God

March 1           Renew Your Prayer Life

March 8           Renew Your Passion

 

Come join us, and let’s be reminded together from the Word of God about the basics that make for a great life!

Happy New You

Happy New You!

People crave new things today:
• New phones, cars, clothes, hairstyles, and even a new face
• Plastic surgery to get a new nose, new ears, a new look, a new body

Especially during the new year, we set new goals, pursue new resolutions:
• Change our lifestyle, go on a diet, break a bad habit, create new and better habits
• Buy new furniture, take new courses, visit new vacation spots

If we could change everything, we would. Anything that’s external, that is. That’s what we can change. And it’s simple.

But we cannot change ourselves – the real you and me. I can change my clothes, but I’m still me. I can sport a new hairstyle, but I would still be me. No matter what I change outwardly, I carry with me the same old inward struggles, worries, fears…the same sadness and miseries. No amount of new gadgets, clothes, facelifts or tummy tucks, or other things can really give me what my heart longs for.

WHY? Because new things are not what each of us needs, but we all need a new life—a NEW YOU! We can have many new things but we cannot have a new life, unless we come to Christ.

The Bible says that only in Jesus Christ can we have a NEW LIFE—a NEW CREATION—a NEW YOU! It’s not an EXTERNAL change. You and I will still look basically the same. It’s an INSIDE job.

II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

What does it mean to become a “new creature”? Very simply, it means just what the Scripture says: the person actually becomes a new creature—his or her whole being, nature, life, and behavior change. Whereas the person previously was dead to God, as a new creature he or she becomes alive to God. Whereas the person previously had no relationship with God, as a new creature he or she is given a relationship with God. Before believing in Christ for salvation the person was not sure about God, but as a new creature he or she is absolutely certain about God.

How does a person become a “new creature”? Note the words of this passage: “[I]f any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” It is being “in Christ” that makes a person a new creature. When a person truly believes in Christ, God the Father places and positions him or her in Christ. The person who believes in Jesus Christ is identified with Christ; that is, he or she is counted and considered to be “in Christ.” That person’s faith in Christ causes God the Father to identify him or her with Christ.

To become a new creature—a NEW YOU—a person must receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It’s God that makes you “new,” not anything we or anyone else can do on our behalf. To become a new creature, you must:

First, realize that God loves you…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Second, realize that everyone is a sinner…

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

Third, realize that sin has a price that must be paid…

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Fourth, realize that Jesus Christ died to pay your price…

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Finally, pray and ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior, claim His promise of eternal life, and become part of His family!

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

What does the Bible say about Medical Marijuana

There is no definitive biblical answer to the question of whether Christians should use medical marijuana, because marijuana for medicinal use is not addressed in the Bible. However, after a review of certain clear Biblical principles, the answer to the question becomes clearer.

First, although many states have legalized medical marijuana, its use is still illegal according to federal law. Paul exhorts us to obey the law of the land under our government, Romans 13:1-2.

In addition to the fact that it is illegal, smoking marijuana can be extremely harmful to one’s health. The most potent argument against the use of marijuana to treat medical disorders is that marijuana may cause the acceleration or aggravation of the very disorders it is being used to treat. Smoking marijuana regularly (a joint a day) can damage the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decrease the ability of the immune cells in the lungs to fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells. For patients with already weakened immune systems, this means an increase in the possibility of dangerous pulmonary infections, including pneumonia, which often proves fatal in AIDS patients. The use of marijuana as a medical therapy can and does have a very serious negative effect on patients for which marijuana has most often been suggested as a treatment.

A study indicates that a marijuana user’s risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. The researchers suggest that such an effect might occur from marijuana’s effects on blood pressure and heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Additionally, the smoke from cannabis—the plant from which marijuana is derived— increases the risk of cancer just like tobacco smoke according to a recent study from the United Kingdom.  In laboratory tests, Rajinder Singh from the University of Leicester and colleagues found certain carcinogens in cannabis smoke in amounts 50% greater than those found in tobacco smoke. They noted that light cannabis use could possibly prove to be even more damaging because cannabis smokers usually inhale more deeply than cigarette smokers. Researchers found that the smoking of three cannabis cigarettes a day is equal to the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as a pack of cigarettes. In truth, marijuana causes short-term memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate and anxiety—and that’s just for starters. According to the Mayo Clinic, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke and has the potential to cause cancer of the lungs and respiratory tract. Clearly, this is contradictory to the Biblical mandate to keep our bodies pure.  “What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I  Cor. 6:19-20.

The Bible teaches Christians to be sound of mind (1 Peter 5:8). The Greek word translated as “sober” literally means “drink no wine.”  From this it derived a broader meaning of being self-controlled, free of confusion, clear headed, and of a sound of mind. From this verse, we can see that Christians are to avoid intoxicants that impair clear thinking.  Marijuana certainly seems to cloud thinking and reaction time. According to the Kaiser study, daily marijuana users have a 30 percent higher risk of injuries, presumably from accidents. A survey of 1,023 emergency room trauma patients in Baltimore found that more than 34 percent were under the influence of marijuana.  And a study showed 25% of all drug related fatal vehicle accidents in the U.S. involve marijuana.

Clouded thinking can lead to questionable moral choices. Habakkuk warns, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”  (Habakkuk 2:15). This refers to the ancient practice of adding herbs (or drugs) to wine to make its intoxicating effects more potent.

The printed Community Connection article picks up here!

Christians have a hard enough time battling temptations without making Satan’s job easier by taking drugs that alter one’s judgment and self-control. Use of intoxicants has also been closely associated with witchcraft and sorcery in the Bible.  The Greek word pharmakeia, translated “sorcery,” literally means “to administer drugs.” As with our English word “drugs,” the context must be considered to determine the meaning. In biblical times, pagans incorporated the use of drugs to induce altered states of consciousness, during which they supposedly communed with their gods. This would be similar to the modern-day practice of voodoo. The apostles strongly condemned the use of such drugs to produce altered mind states because the drugs lowered inhibitions and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8; 22:15). The Christian disciplines his body and keeps it under control (1 Corinthians 9:27), so that he is able to set his mind on things above (Colossians 3:2).

We must also consider the impact that the use of marijuana could have on others. A person smoking marijuana may be encouraging someone else, who may not have a medical justification, to use marijuana as well.  As Christians, we are called to avoid not only sin, but also any activity that may cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to sin (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).

Finally, Satan is the great justifier. He always wants to help us rationalize and justify sinning against God, almost making it seem like the right thing to do. The same games people play in using the Bible to try to justify many other sinful activities can used to justify smoking pot. Taking verses out of context, stating a verse means one thing when it clearly means another, and making assumptions the Word does not support are all tricks the enemy will use to try to justify smoking marijuana. We must never forget that Satan is a liar. We must guard against these tactics in our own lives. Over 90 percent of the marijuana used currently in this country is for recreational use. Although many of those users have medical marijuana cards, in many cases their marijuana has been prescribed by practitioners who are employed by the dispensaries, have never examined the patient, are not qualified to treat the conditions for which the marijuana is being prescribed, and have done nothing to validate the medical necessity of the prescription. Although many people may be deceived by such practices, God is not deceived. He will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7).

Medical marijuana – what does the Bible say? (n.d.). Retrieved December 12, 2014, from http://www.gotquestions.org/medical-marijuana.html

Is There More To Life?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Are you ever going to achieve that goal in life that you longed for the most? Or have you already received what you desired and then discovered it didn’t satisfy you as much as you had hoped?
Life is like a classic novel with some chapters that are energizing and others that are disappointing, leaving you with questions that are difficult to answer; perhaps the hardest question to ask is…

Is there more to life?

A man who won the most popular sport in America three times and was MVP of the championship twice, and is married to a supermodel, asked this very question. Is there more to life? In a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft, Tom Brady stated, “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me?”

God answers this question for Tom Brady and us.

The Bible, God’s Word, is very clear as to what our purpose is in life. Ecclesiastes 12:13 states to “… Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Solomon stated that the mission for our life is to honor God. We can’t truly honor God because we are flawed with sins and our fellowship with God is broken. Only by restoring that fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ can we restore our fellowship with God.

Is there more to life?

Yes, an abundant life is waiting for those who desire to please God.

……………………

Article by Lawrence Lartey

God’s Plans

The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD!  Psalm 118:14–17

Three surgeries in eight days. Thirteen days in a coma. Eighty-six days in the hospital; fifty-eight of them in the intensive care unit. Missed our daughter’s wedding. Written off by the doctors. Hundreds of people praying. At death’s door. But God had other plans.

What was meant to be a “routine” surgery quickly turned into an enormous trial. I entered the hospital with some stomach pain. The doctors determined that I had diverticulitis (inflamed intestines), and I needed surgery. Things did not go well. One surgery turned into three surgeries in a matter of eight days.

With literally hundreds of people praying for me from all around the world, on the day after four doctors told my wife that there was no hope for my recovery, Miracle #1 occurred. God woke me from my coma.

In just a few short weeks I walked out of the hospital, but my kidneys were still not functioning properly. I was told that for three days per week I would need dialysis. My kidney doctor met with me to tell me I needed a “permanent” port in my arm. He prepared me for a life of dialysis. But I told him that the God who “raised me from the dead” was going to heal my kidneys. My doctor said that I would need the port within four weeks. I told him God would heal me first. My doctor replied, “Son, your kidneys are nearly dead. No one in your condition ever gets off dialysis.” But Miracle #2 occurred. Three weeks and two days after our conversation, to the amazement of my doctor, I was off dialysis and my kidneys were functioning on their own.

Since these events of just three years ago, I have had the opportunity to share my testimony of miraculous recovery with literally thousands of people. My family and I created a post card titled “A Living Miracle” that has been handed out to hundreds of people. I had the opportunity to be on Christian television, where I shared my miracle story. The hospital even asked me to participate in its e-holiday card greeting, in which I shared my story with thousands of employees and others. In addition, I have shared my testimony with nearly every co-worker in the company where I now work.

God is good! He obviously had a greater purpose in mind for my trial that I may never fully understand, but I believe what Psalm 118:17 says: I SHALL NOT DIE, BUT LIVE, AND DECLARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD!

 

………………………

Dave Davis, choir director and Seasoned Saints class leader at Valley Forge Baptist

and chief financial officer for Schaedler Yesco Distribution

Kim Phu Phan Thi: Spreading the Message of Forgiveness

Article Re-posted with permission of The Pottstown Mercury

kimphuc

The worst day of Kim Phuc Phan Thi’s life was captured in a photograph.

“Someone began screaming, ‘Too hot! Too hot!” Kim Phuc, now 50, told the Valley Forge Baptist Temple congregation Sunday during a nighttime service. “That someone was me.”A South Vietnamese warplane mistakenly dropped four napalm canisters on 9-year-old Kim Phuc Phan Thi and other civilians — many of them children ­— as they ran out of the temple in Trang Bang they used for shelter.

The image of her running down the road, clothes burnt off, surrounded by her crying siblings and a cousin, was seared into the world’s consciousness.

Although Nick Ut’s photo shows the moments when her life changed forever, Kim Phuc embraces it.

“(It) touched people’s hearts,” she said of the 1972 photograph that won the Pulitzer Prize. “Some say it helped end the war.”

Kim Phuc is very concerned with people’s hearts. That’s why she tells her story, she said, and why she came to Valley Forge Baptist Temple for the weekend.

“That’s why (I speak),” she told The Mercury. “I can see the (trouble) people have in their hearts … how can I not come here?”

Kim Phuc, wearing a brilliant red and gold dress, spoke before the congregation in the church’s nearly full auditorium.

Audible gasps came when a video taken moments after the napalm attack showed Kim Phuc and her relatives’ skin hanging like loose socks or gloves from their feet and hands. Two of her infant cousins were mortally wounded in the attack and Kim Phuc suffered scars she still bears on her arm and back.

Kim Phuc’s voice was relatively quiet but confident during her talk. Engaging, she constantly smiled and made a few jokes.

Discussing the blazing temperature of napalm, she described how her skin could have burnt off.

“But my skin, my face, still beautiful, right?” she said to laughs, smiling and placing her hands on her cheeks.

Kim Phuc spoke of her wounds, which would require 17 surgeries, the last coming in Germany in 1984. She explained how Ut saved her life by taking her to a nearby hospital. She talked about how her parents went to the hospital and found her three days later, laying in the morgue because no one expected her to survive. She spoke of her father’s friend pulling some strings and sending her to a different hospital, where she remained for 14 months.

Not only that, she also talked about having her dreams of being a doctor derailed by the Vietnamese government who wished to use her as a “war symbol,” of being sent to Cuba, where she found her husband, then only being able to take a honeymoon to Moscow. Finally, she detailed her defection to Canada during an hour-long refueling layover, leaving behind all her possessions and money.

Above all, she talked of forgiveness and letting go of the pain in her heart from all her struggles.

“I did not one day wake up and say, ‘I forgive,’” she said. “(It) wasn’t easy at all.”

At one point, she held up a glass of black coffee, which she likened to her heart following the bombing.

Tipping the cup of coffee, she dripped a little into an empty glass several times.

“(I was) pouring out my hate, a little bit at a time,” she said. “At first, the cup would fill back up.”

But after time, she said, “My cup was empty.”

She credited her faith in God helping her on the road to letting go and forgiving. Ten years after she was burned, she said she was in a library and found a copy of the Bible. She’s been a devout Christian since.

Instead of hate and despair, she said God filled her heart with the good things in life.

In the 1990s, Kim Phuc met with a U.S. veteran who took part in the accidental bombing of Trang Bang. She showed a video Sunday in which the veteran tracked her down and she forgave him for his mistake.

“I found that forgiveness is much more powerful than any weapon of war,” she said.

“It’s amazing to know she survived and she escaped communism and escaped a life that would have been controlled by communism and false religion.” said the Rev. Scott Wendal, pastor of Valley Forge Baptist.

He said his church was “very deeply moved” to listen to Kim Phuc and her devotion to her Christianity.

Several veterans of the Vietnam War were in attendance Sunday night and a few shook her hand following the service.

“Hearing her meant a lot to them,” Wendal said. “To know her sufferings and challenges and to not become bitter, to choose a life of forgiveness, is a very healing experience for them.”

“I went through so much and I knew the value of forgiveness. I want everyone to understand the value of having a clear heart,” Kim Phuc said after the service. “I don’t have anything to give. I have a message of peace.”

Since the mid 1990s, Kim Phuc has run The Kim Foundation International, a non-profit which provides funds to children who are victims of war or terrorism.

With the infamous photo projected onto the church wall, Kim Phuc re-purposed it.

“I came through the fire and I am blessed to be here with you today,” Kim Phuc said. “When you see the photo of the little girl running up the road, try not to see her as crying out in pain … see her as crying out for peace.”

Meeting with members of the congregation after the services, Kim Phuc occasionally lifted the sleeve of her dress to show her scars.

“The napalm can burn my body,” she said after the flow of people slowed down. “But it cannot burn my dreams, it cannot burn my hope, it cannot burn my heart.”

………………

Article by Frank Otto
Reporter, Pottstown Mercury 
Read the original article here.