A Pollyanna story that’s true
My high school participated faithfully and joyfully in the American Field Service Exchange program, which has grown into the study-abroad movement. And I was a foreign student from New Jersey when my family moved to Tulsa, OK. From 9th grade, I identified with the AFS kids and went out of my way to talk to them. I also applied to become an exchange student myself, but didn’t make it. Then I wanted our family to host an AFS student, but Mom said our house was too small.
As a senior, I was overjoyed that one of my closest friends and her family would host an AFS student, though. From Vietnam in 1967. Nguyen Thi Kim became one of my closest friends, too, so I would have hated to see her go home in any case, but I learned a lot about war that year from Kim’s home room teacher, Mrs. Rosenthal. Despite the drumbeat of news from Vietnam and my fear for her safety, Kim determined to keep her promise to AFS and return to her homeland after graduation. I didn’t hear that she had arrived safely or anything else. This photo was all I had, and I kept it in my jewelry box so I would see it from time to time, renewing hope that the war in Vietnam would end so we could be together again. I heard nothing about Kim for three decades after the war ended, but I held onto my Pollyanna-ish hope that she was OK.
Tuesday after the Easter just past, an email from a high school friend landed in my Inbox with “A message from Nguyen Thi Kim” in the subject line. She described her solo battle against the Covid-19 virus and her recovery, but what she really wanted her old friends to know was how it feels to be shunned out of fear.
Kim lives in Seattle now, so I can’t reach her any other way than by phone, but that has been enough to know what a strong Christian woman she has become. God had been covering my friend with eagle’s wings all along.
Carol Frey Miller
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)