Eugene Cho

the testimony of one north korean girl

You need to watch this. In fact, you must watch this. Please watch this.

While I wasn’t personally able to attend the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Capetown, South Africa (Nov. 11-18), I tried to catch some of the events via the web. While there were numerous webcasts, the one that caught my attention was the testimony of a young 18-year-old Korean girl. I believe, with intention, her name wasn’t released but she was born in North Korea, lived in China, and now resides in South Korea.

I want you…in fact, I urge you…to take about 10 minutes: 8.41 minutes to watch the video and the remainder, 1.19 minutes, to lift a prayer for the people of North Korea. Here’s the video. It wasn’t available on YouTube so I uploaded it here:

If you watch the video, you’ll get a glimpse of her story but I wanted to share her closing remarks:

I look back over my short life and see God’s hand everywhere. Six years in North Korea, 11 years in China, and a time of being in South Korea. Everything that I experienced and love, I want to give it all to God and use my life for His kingdom. I hope to honor my father and bring glory to my heavenly Father by serving God with my whole heart.

I believe God’s heart cries out for the lost people of North Korea. I humbly ask you, my brothers and sisters, to have the same heart of God. Please pray that the same light of God’s grace and mercy that reached my father and my mother and now me will one day come down upon the people of North Korea… my people.

I am familiar with North Korea for numerous reasons but hearing her story – a story I’ve heard in various forms – convicted me of my forgetfulness of my people; a forgetfulness to pray; a forgetfulness that God loves the entire world and the invitation to share and live out the Gospel is still dear to His heart.

God is indeed on the move and I want my life to be a part of His movement rather than trying to fit God into my ambitions.

God is not only moving but moving in diverse ways and for that, I’m grateful and thankful.

For those that don’t know, 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.

North Korea, 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.

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. 16 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 for now, I must pray and raise awareness. Please join me.


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15 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Josh Roberts, Dave Baldwin, Aaron Chang, Chuck Eklund and others. Chuck Eklund said: RT @EugeneCho: PLEASE watch this & share. | The heart-stirring testimony of an 18-year-old North Korean girl: http://bit.ly/cdAnrk #fb […]

  2. Scott says:

    Thanks for introducing me to her story! I find myself looking for heroes and mentors in many social spheres. Recently I bought a Ray Lewis football jersey. Despite my hope-filled allegiance to the Chicago Bears after NFL Films’ “The Ray Lewis Coaching Tree” I was inspired.

    When I watched I felt Ray Lewis’ passion.

    His successes and his shortcomings were discussed. He spent time in jail. He works a violent job. He seems self-centered.

    As I watched I felt motivated to remember:
    – Be careful with my passion, it can hurt people.
    – Lead by example and raise the level of the people around you.
    – Embrace what’s true and inspire others with it.

    So, when I saw a Ray Lewis jersey for a great price on ebay I asked if I could buy it for my birthday. I’ll wear my jersey to remind me that appearance don’t matter except when they do.

    Scott Volltrauer

  3. BL78 says:

    Thank you for sharing this video clip. IHOP-KC (International house of prayer in Kansas City) has a korean dept that is praying for North Korea weekly.

  4. Justin says:

    Hey Eugene,

    Thanks for this post. I too will lift up a prayer tonight. I recently went to the DPRK this past summer… went to Mt. Baektu to pray over the country. My mother’s side is from the North. I join you in praying and raising awareness.

  5. David Kim says:

    Praying together with her, you, and all the believers.

  6. That was one of the most powerful moments at the Lausanne, Eugene.

    May the Lord shine into North Korea and produce the changes in people He is known for!

  7. Our prayers are for you and your family, the people of North Korea, and your call to return. May it be so.

  8. Josh Roberts says:

    Thanks for sharing your story and the story of this young woman. My heart breaks for the North Korean people and will continue to pray for their freedom and access to the gospel. Although I do not have a natural connection to the people of North Korea, I too long for the day to share the love of Christ in word and in deed in this great land.

  9. Jeph Mercury says:

    I don’t want to sound like a douchebag here, but I think it would’ve been better for her to have given her testimony in Korean, translated in to English, I just think it would’ve been much more powerful message instead of speaking rather awkwardly in English. Delivery of message is important in all cases, and heavy accents I think have diminished the potential power of the message this would’ve had.

  10. Hi I understand the message completely, I’ve often heard the Lord speak during my prayer time regarding North Korea, and the words keep echoing back, ‘my people are suffering,’. I have started a blog purely for the same reason. Wanted to ask you if I could post a link to ur blog for the same? God bless you

  11. jchenwa says:

    If Timing is right, as He usually is, you will be more than welcome to stay at Trophy Condos in Yigo, Guam, http://www.trophy-condos.com .

  12. I agree–this was truly one of the most gripping moments of Lausanne 2010. She poured her heart out and cast a much bigger vision for how we pray. Thanks for re-posting this!

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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