Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last will and testament in North Korea

In 1998, James Kim managed to cross the border into North Korea to deliver food and clothing to destitute orphanages. He was arrested as an American spy and imprisoned, he was convicted and sentenced to death. He made out his last will and testament, in which he donated his organs for medical research. What happened next shows how God moves in mysterious ways...

(Excerpts from Larry Vardiman, ICR Research Impacts North Korea, Acts & Facts, March 2012, Institute for Creation Research)

Larry Vardiman writes: North Korea is a secretive country that threatens to attack its neighbors with missiles if provoked. It spends most of its limited resources on weapons and military personnel, which results in starvation for many of its citizens. The country has rejected all attempts to reconcile with South Korea or to end its nuclear ambitions.

James Kim (Kim Chin-kyung), was a Christian citizen of South Korea and the United States and honorary citizen of China. Kim founded the Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST) in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of northeastern China in 1992. Kim crossed the border between China and North Korea for several years ferrying donations of food and clothing to North Korean orphanages. During one such trip in 1998, he was arrested as an American spy and imprisoned. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

In his last will and testament, Kim donated his organs for medical research in Pyong-yang, the capital of the countries. Leaders in North Korea were so impressed that six weeks later he was released and given permission to freely enter and leave the country as he wished. He was made an honorary citizen of North Korea!

And then another incredible event occurred in 2001,when North Korea gave approval for Kim to build a technical university in North Korea similar to YUST. The new university, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), was dedicated on September 16, 2009, and began offering classes in October 2010. Kim was appointed president of the new university.1 The first group of 160 undergraduate and master’s students was chosen by the North Korean government, selected from the top North Korean colleges, and chosen from political and military sponsors. The university currently has about 275 students and eventually plans to have a student body of about 2,500 and a faculty of 250, with classes in public health, architecture, agriculture and life sciences, electrical and computer engineering, and construction engineering.

Almost the entire faculty of 25 are Christian. However, no Christian proselyting or even explicit religious discussions are permitted at the school. There is no campus chapel at the university, and there are no plans for one in the future. But neither are there any official portraits of the North Korean leaders, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, or Kim Jong-un, which hang in every other school and public building in North Korea. The primary influence on the students comes through personal relationships developed with the faculty. Exposure to Western technology and thought will affect the entire country in the future because the students will eventually become the top economic, political, and military leaders of North Korea.

It is amazing to see God at work in the godless country of North Korea. Please pray that He would open door for more courageous Christians to go where no one else will go.

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References (selected)

1. Stone, R. 2009. The Force Behind North Korea’s New Science University. Science. 325 (5948): 1610-1611.

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