Western news outlets (here, here and here) are reporting daily on escalation of tension between the U.S. and North Korea. You can't avoid catching an image of dictator Kim Jong Un whether you get your news from screen or print, nor are displays of perceived military might scarce, especially transmitted via Korean state media (many project the weaponry carried on parade is fake).
And with this little bit of input, how easily we in the west settle into our armchairs and click through our favorite shows, confident that what we have absorbed from our news platform of choice is all there is to know about North Korea, the government or the people, and South Korea.
Into this dearth of understanding YouTube channel Asian Boss inserts itself as a venue for giving flesh and voice to the people of North and South Korea, providing a much-needed spotlight on real humans with real names and real souls, and provoking the conclusion that the issues are way more complex than a few minutes of prime time news can dissect.
Two recent videos posted to the channel ask the dual questions, "What do North Korean defectors think of North Korea?" and "What do North Koreans think of South Korea?" The first addresses the oppression the people of North Korea endure, including punishments and suffering from famine and lack of freedom. (It's a hard testimony to hear.) The second shows how vastly different culture and opportunities are in the two countries. Both are worth watching
I found two things I believe worth noting:
1) In the second video, the young man describes his journey from North Korea to China to Mongolia, where he was eventually permitted to travel to South Korea. At the 4:50 mark he emotionally reflects on the radically unexpected good-heartedness of the first South Koreans he encountered:
"Why were they nice to me? I was born in North Korea and stayed loyal to the country, but got treated like a criminal. I got abandoned by China because I wasn't their citizen, but the country that was supposed to be my enemy welcomed me with open arms."
A wise friend who knows that area of the world very well said: "What a beautiful illustration of God's grace."
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him. (Colossians 1:21-22)
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11)
2) Both defectors express that the most remarkable difference they've noticed between the people of North Korea and South Korea seems to be a matter of contentment. Even though North Koreans are poor, afflicted, and burdened, "There is always laughter. Everyone in the village is close to one another and knows each others' names." The driven nature of South Korean life, the competitiveness, the pressure to succeed and to accumulate, the access to more information and more experiences than any human could ever consume in a lifetime seems to have resulted in a group of people who hardly know one another, who are cold and unapproachable, and who are discontent.
Christians can learn from these observations and glean encouragement to regularly visit in prayer the concerns of hidden and easily forgotten people. Videos like these by Asian Boss lift the veil to reveal how desperately oppressed the people are in North Korea. It shows us how we in the west are not alone in our angst about a healthy balance between success and happiness.
But mostly, we are able to see how God is at work all over the world, even without being mentioned (as in the book of Esther). He is always and perfectly and steadfastly advancing his plan of redemption, perhaps in the lives of these young people as they encounter believers in South Korea.
Who knows how his purposes and promises will play out? We know the end, but not the when. And we rest confidently in his nature, knowing that nothing will thwart him in bringing it about. God will have -- God has -- a people of his own, set apart, bought with the blood of Christ, made new in faith and given an inheritance of immeasurable worth and eternal possession.
Pray for unbelievers in North Korea, South Korea, and all over the world that the Lord will include them in his redeeming work. That they will surrender to Christ, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, that he would be the founder of their salvation, and that they would be made perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10)
Finally, with fervency as we are called to do for the sake of our brethren enduring affliction and persecution (1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Peter 4:13,16,19), pray for believers in North Korea to entrust their souls to a faithful Creator, not to be ashamed, but to rejoice and to glorify God, confident in the truth of his promises.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.