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A review of my book, "Shepherd of My Soul" by Minako

It took me a long time to write a review for Reaksa’s book. I am not sure why, but I think because it is so raw. In a world of quick fixes and easy answers, Reaksa openly shares about his struggles, and how long it took to fully heal due to such a horrendous and difficult past. And I needed time to let it dwell in my soul and ponder it. And quite honestly it is difficult to comprehend how anyone can heal. My husband and I have lived in Cambodia for the past 7 years and we feel honoured to call Reaksa and his wife, our friends. Although Reaksa and Phaly came back and lived in Cambodia for 20 years, they never once visited the grave pit where his family was murdered. However in January 2019, they invited my husband and me to go on the holy journey back to the place where there was so much pain, to go through the town where his family was so humiliated time and time again, tortured, used as scape goats and brutal examples to ensure adherence to the Khmer Rouge and then eventually where Reaksa’s family were brutally murdered,. It was the first time Phaly, his wife, had gone to where the grave pit even though it was only 2 hours away from their home. To visit the place that was so filled with pain was hard. To be able to return and call it redeemed and made holy was healing. While we were on the trip, Reaksa pointed out the termite hill and the tree, where he said his last farewell to his father and his brothers and then where he watched their brutal murder; the tree where the bird was on forty years ago as it led Reaksa away from the grave pit. As we retraced his steps, he would stop and say “this is the bamboo bush where I hid” next to the watermelon farm. And I remember being incredulous that he would remember the exact bush, or the exact tree, forty years later. I remember thinking, how would you remember that? But I realized later, that is PTSD. Reaksa had continual nightmares, unwanted flashbacks, for close to twenty years. Those trees, those bushes were etched in his brain night after night, day after day. And now I realize why he would never want to go back there. What if returning to that place brings a new onslaught of nightmares and flashbacks? But Reaksa is healed. And Reaksa does return there. By God’s grace and by continually leaning on our Saviour, Reaksa was able to forgive those unforgivable acts that happened to him and his family. And he was able to heal so that he no longer suffers from PTSD. Both of those are miracles. Anyone who knows Reaksa, knows how much he loves fishing. In fact he built a huge fish pond in an eco-tourism type location in Puok, Siem Reap, Cambodia. We catch it, his staff cooks it and then we get to eat it! Quite fun! However, I had no idea that his love of fishing came as an answer from God, and fishing was a place of refuge and relief from flashbacks and nightmares. Through that, God made Reaksa into a fisher of men, using his story to help the afflicted, have hope that they can heal too! This third book, Shepherd of my Soul, is Reaksa’s personal account of how God healed him. Using Psalms 23, Reaksa talks of surrender, a call to trust, listen, and to follow, restoration, a call to courage, for transformation, facing and forgiving your enemies, a call to bless. I would highly recommend reading this book for anyone who is struggling with PTSD or wants to understand the effects and to read about one person who healed! Thank you Reaksa, for being open and honest and sharing your journey with us. Minako Polischuk The book will be released in July.

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