By Mark Ellis –
All children growing up in North Korea are trained to hate Americans. So when four refugee children from the highly restricted country visited the U.S. during the Christmas holidays, they were surprised by what they saw.
The children visited Los Angeles and New York, where they attended a worship service put on by Koreans in Carnegie Hall. They saw the skyscrapers, the elms of Central Park, and department stores bursting with holiday traffic.
One North Korean youngster was surprised by the warmth coming from the people he met. “The people in America are so nice,” he told Cornerstone Ministries, his hosts for the visit.
“In North Korea he was taught that Americans are baby killers and baby eaters,” says Peter Kim with Cornerstone. “But he did not see any baby killing Americans; instead he saw kind Americans. Many Americans hugged them and showed the genuine love of Christ which they had not experienced before.”
A 13-year-old North Korean girl shouted, “I am free,” as she stood at Niagara Falls.
She said coming to America was very stressful, not knowing what to expect in the “enemy” nation. “She wondered whether she would be punished or hated for being a North Korean,” Kim says. “She did not know whether she would be welcomed or rejected. As she was greeted by kind Americans, she felt real freedom.”
“Now I know the real freedom in Christ,” she told her hosts.
One of the boys on the trip woke up in the middle of the night, terrified by a nightmare related to his past. “He felt he was still in North Korea. His body was shaking as he feared being chased by someone. He was sweating profusely. One of our workers got up and held him tightly until the boy felt loved and safe,” Kim recounts.
There are more than 2,500 North Korean refugee children living in South Korea. “Many of them came to South Korea with only their mother,” Kim says. “We do not know how many North Korean children are in China, nor do we know how many children were born by North Korean women who were sold to Chinese men as slaves for less than $500.
“Only a few escape and are able to reach South Korea,” he notes. “We are able to help only a handful of North Korean refugee women.”
Cornerstone will provide vocational training and inner healing seminars to help the women find new vocations and avoid the path some have taken toward prostitution.
“Please pray that God continually provides teachers for these North Korean children and counselors for these women.” He hopes more North Korean children will be able to visit the U.S. and feel the love of Christ.
“We will try to bring more North Korean children to the United States next year.”
For more information about Cornerstone Ministries, go here