The article in this World Magazine caught my attention.
I’m amazed how they escaped North Korea.
I’m struck by their hard work and determination.
I’m humbled by their faith and grateful heart in the midst of great trial.
Even though North Koreans seek to find refuge in South Korea, it turns out South Korean’s lack the tools and resources to truly help the resettling Northern refugees. This isn’t to say they aren’t working on it, but, refugees are struggling with resettlement. The refugees come with a 1950s mindset, an accent, different shoes and socks, and an inability to understand their new surroundings. Sounds familiar to us in the States, but to many mono-culture societies, this reveals a huge learning curve.
Experiencing a brief moment – about three months – of being a foreigner in a mono-culture country, I could see the uniqueness we Americans hold in living among different cultures. A uniqueness we take for granted. Big time. America has always been The Land of Opportunity; The Melting Pot; God’s Country, The Good Ol’ U. S. of A since it’s beginnings. We’ve all come from somewhere (except our Native Americans, which will receive space in future posts). Immigrants, refugees, tourists, students – all from somewhere else on the globe. We’ve had to learn hard lessons to receive these precious lives into our borders – and – we are still learning.
So, the North Korean couple requires me to ponder:
Where are these refugees in my own city? They are here….somewhere. Have I looked recently? Nope. I just haven’t looked that hard.
Experiencing loneliness and isolated feelings from a short-term mission trip – yet, knowing I would soon return to my own cultural comforts – I have to ask: what does a refugee wife and mother go through with no end in sight?
The hard-working North Korean couple are grateful. They have a support system through their local church and – hope in God. They are among the few who ‘get it’ – more than many Americans. They know they could earn much needed income on a Sunday, but, they keep their restaurant closed on that day for prayer and worship.
A Grateful Escape. They know from where they’ve come. They know the Hope that lies ahead.
(At the time of this writing my dh and I are making decisions to include FOCUS as part of our efforts to meet international students. What are some ways you have connected with your foreign neighbors?)