Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Churches Unite to Free Oppressed N. Korea

With the declining popularity of dictator Kim Jong Il and the pending transfer of power to his son, some are predicting that communist North Korea is headed for a collapse.

As a result, Christian leaders believe this is a critical time to call upon the power of prayer for freedom in the oppressed county.

A Painful Picture

Danny Lee, 24, remembers his childhood in North Korea. His grandmother raised him alone after police arrested his Christian mother. Like thousands of others, she found herself in a concentration camp.

She fled the country after her release, and at 17, Danny escaped to China to begin his search for his mother. He paid a broker who helped to facilitate his escape.

"I thought, 'I want to get out of here' ... because everything was so hard," Lee recalled to CBN News. "And I didn't have too much, no food."

But escaping from North Korea is not easy, even after crossing the Tumen River into to China.

"China doesn't protect," filmmaker Justin Wheeler told CBN News. "China looks at them as economic migrants, and so will not protect North Korean refugees currently."

Hiding: An Escape Journey

In the documentary "Hiding," Wheeler follows five North Korean refugees like Lee on their harrowing 3,500 mile journey from China to southeast Asia. It's a modern day underground railroad, but most never reach freedom.

"I think one of the most shocking moments was with a conversation I had with one of the refugees in the film. He actually escaped North Korea because he had a dream about King David in the Bible," Wheeler said. "And he had never heard of the gospel before. He had never heard of Jesus. He had never heard of God before."

Wheeler is part of LINK, a human rights organization that helped Danny Lee and other North Korean refugees find freedom. The Southern California-based group has hosted 400 screenings of its eye-opening film across the country, raised more than $100,000, and launched 110 new LINK chapters at high schools and colleges.

"We want to redefine the way people think about North Korea and the North Korean people," said LINK executive director Hannah Song. "We want to provide emergency relief to North Koreans wherever they can be reached."

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