A Mission of Unconditional Love

A Letter from Choon and Yen-Hee Lim

June 2018

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Dear Friends in Mission,

After the US government imposed a ban on US citizens traveling to North Korea on September 1, 2017, I couldn’t visit North Korea. But in February 2018, I applied for a special validation passport to get a permit from the US government. I prayed very hard for the trip because someone I know had applied for a permit but, without explanation, was denied. Fortunately, I received permission from the US government and was able to join a trip to North Korea with Christian Friends of Korea (CFK) — a Christian organization based in Black Mountain, North Carolina — March 22-April 3, 2018. Thanks to all the supporting churches and individuals who prayed for this trip. Because of your prayers, I visited and returned from North Korea safely without any problems.

I want to introduce to you our leader, Heidi Linton, who has served as the executive director of CFK for 23 years and during this time has been committed to taking care of tuberculosis patients in North Korea. She is a mission-minded Christian, shows the light of Christ to the people in North Korea and loves them. Her husband’s parents were missionaries in Korea with the Southern Presbyterian Church. They did work for TB patients in Suncheon, South Korea. In addition to engaging in her work with TB patients, Heidi visits North Korea four times a year to deliver donations from supporting churches and individuals. The way she works very hard challenges me. During the trip, I could not in good conscience complain of my aches and pains! I am very grateful to God that we have a wonderful Christian organization like CFK.

CFK’s mission work in North Korea not only includes sending medications for patients, but also supporting the construction of a tuberculosis sanitarium that includes a laboratory, greenhouses for vegetables and medical facilities for the patients. They also send tractors, motorcycles, lab equipment and vitaminic rice that the patients eat twice a day between meals. I call this ministry “Agape Mission,” unconditional love mission.

The CFK group on the North Korea trip consisted of nine people, including five participants from the US who got a special validation passport from the US government to enter North Korea. There were also two participants from Norway, a participant from the UK and one from China.

At the Bu Tong Kang Hotel, our home base, we started each day with 6:30 a.m. devotions, during which we sang gospel songs, shared the Word of God in English and ended with prayers. During the trip, we were able to worship at two churches in Pyongyang, Bongsu and Chilgol. At both churches, the pastors provided me an opportunity to greet church members.

Our group visited many hospitals in the North and South Hwanghae Provinces, which took us 2-4 hours to reach by bus from Pyongyang. Since the TB hospitals we visited are located in very remote areas, roads are in poor condition. The most difficult part of our trip was riding the bus for 11 days. My back hurt after each bus ride due to the rough roads, but this does not matter. This was really wonderful mission work.

It is a blessing that in the midst of this difficult time of sanctions and pressure from the UN, US and China, the CFK is still carrying on life-changing work. Due to sanctions from China, CFK couldn’t even bring nail clippers sealed in emergency relief buckets into North Korea, as no metal can be imported into North Korea from China. Committed to its mission, CFK hired workers in China to take the clippers out of the buckets, the labor cost of which was almost $1,000 (US).

Though our work started at 6:30 in the morning and ended at 9:00 each night except on Sunday, and many participants got a cold (including me), nobody failed to finish this wonderful and meaningful mission work. Each day we got enough energy and power from God to continue to work for the people in great need in North Korea. Even I was able to complete the physically demanding work!

We see hope that there will be peace on the Korean peninsula. While we were in North Korea, there was an important summit between China and North Korea, and there was an important summit between North and South Korea on April 27. We continue to pray for the upcoming summit between the US and North Korea.

At the Beijing Airport on our way to North Korea, we met six officials from the Ministry of Unification of South Korea who were invited to perform and discuss South Korean music in Pyongyang. The performers arrived in North Korea on March 31 and performed at a theater in Pyongyang on April 1, Easter Sunday. (We wanted to see it, but we couldn’t.) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended and said, “spring comes” to the Korean peninsula. Truly, I pray that through these summits, spring does come to the Korean peninsula.

When we were about to leave the Pyongyang Airport on April 3, we saw that the flight schedule read, “From Pyongyang to Incheon Airport — 11:30 p.m.” The music group would be departing Pyongyang for Seoul by plane after their performance. While taking a picture, I cried joyfully and said, “Oh. Thank God! My prayer has been answered already.”

I deeply thank you for your support and prayers. Without your support, I couldn’t make this trip. It was a very difficult and challenging journey for me, but this was unforgettable and fruitful mission work. From the bottom of my heart, I humbly beseech you to continue to support our mission work so that more people see and know Agape, unconditional love from God. Finally, please pray for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula, in East Asia, and around the world.

Choon and Yen Hee

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