My great grandfather was one of the first christians in a village nearby Pyongyang. God’s grace was poured over his entire family but they experienced intense persecution because of their faith. As a result of the persecution, his family “escaped” with his entire family from what it now known to the world as North Korea. My father was five during this time and the stories he shares don’t seem real. Not everyone in his family survived that journey southward that one chaotic night.
NK as some may know is one of the most isolated nations and subsequently, some of the gravest human rights violations and suffering go unnoticed – including approximately 200,000 Christians that are in prison labor camps simply because of their faith in Christ. This past weekend, Minhee and I had the privilege of spending some time with friends that left Seattle three years ago to go to Yanbian, China [via Singapore]. They left – with their three children – the comforts of home, family, and friends to act upon their convictions. The father recently relinquished his well paying job with full benefits to serve the people of North Korea – initially at the border of NK and China and in a few months, he’ll be [hoping to] receive his “resident card” that would allow him to enter to and from North Korea to do development work. There are no salary or benefits to his work as a “tentmaker.”
Who in their right mind wants to become a “resident” of North Korea?
It was humbling and inspiring.
When people ask us why we feel so compelled about starting and building the new global poverty organization, it’s because of these people and thousands more that are on the ground fighting poverty: serving people, enabling education, feeding people, building community development projects, digging water wells, distributing medicine, writing letters to governments, giving hope by restoring human dignity – and so many who do these and so much more – many who do so in the love of Christ.
Some day, I will return to North Korea. Some day, I will return to the birthplace of my ancestors; the birthplace of my father and mother. We still have family in North Korea…that is, if they are still alive. We do not know. Some day, I will return with my wife and children to not only proclaim and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ but the good news of human dignity that must be afforded to all people. 13 years ago, I climbed Mt. Baekdusan at the border of China and North Korea and prayed for an opportunity some day to return home. I echo that prayer again.
Some day, I will return to Korea.
But till then, I hope to be an advocate and activist for many around the world that have no voice. Did you know that, “Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific?”
Before I submit another entry in the coming days about some of my views about international policies with North Korea, I want to humbly direct you to an organization called Liberty in North Korean [LiNK] and their narrative of the situation in NK. Would you take 3 minutes to read about the story and suffering of my people?
[this post was written for Sojourners God’s Politics]