Compassion Ministries - August 2016 Update

North Korea

Sue with staff members and children at the School for Mentally Impaired Children in Pyongyang

Sue with staff members and children at the School for Mentally Impaired Children in Pyongyang

...“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you…”  Jeremiah 29:7

Sue Kinsler and two pastors, Canadian Korean Rev. Song-Keun Kook and Korean American Rev. Choon Lim, visited North Korea on a GreenTree International (GTI) trip in May. What was the purpose of the visit? Not only was it important to confer about the Disabled North Korean Athletes’ Team plans to attend the Brazil Paralympics in late August, but each pastor had ideas about new ways to help North Korea’s disabled people. 

Rev. Kook had been learning about mission outreach done through running bakeries. He was invited to advise the bakery project, which will be included in the new Dongdaewon Disabled Persons’ Fitness Center building scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. Rev. Lim is interested in other projects of the Korea Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD). 

The GTI visiting team was glad to discover that the North Korean government’s level of support for the work for disabled people and orphans was greatly increased as well as concern for those doing the work.

To Shenyang, China and Pyongyang
The first leg of the trip was from Incheon Airport to Shenyang, China. The GTI visitors were met at the airport by staff from Shenyang’s Suhtap Church, who took them to their hotel. Then they brought them to the North Korean consulate to pick up their visas and on to purchase their Koryo Airlines tickets to Pyongyang. In the afternoon the three visitors went to the Shenyang Chosun Disabled Athletes Training building where they met athlete You-Cheol Ma, his training director and coach. The visiting pastors not  only observed the training but also directly participated in practice  games before having a meal together. 

The following day, the visiting trio departed from Shenyang Airport and thought that God was guiding their way because they met Rev. Kyu-Baek Cho, who was traveling on the same plane. Rev. Cho had traveled with Sue Kinsler on previous trips to North Korea. Arriving in Pyongyang, the GTI visitors cleared customs at the new terminal and were welcomed by Sue’s regular guide and driver and driven to Pyongyang’s Haebang San Hotel.

Finding Out About the Work in North Korea
The three took an early walk along the Taedong River and in the afternoon went to the offices of the Korea Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD) where they were greeted by Mr. Hyun Chung, newly promoted to Vice Chair of the KFPD when Sue’s old friend, Moon-Cheol Kim became Chairperson and KFPD was given a higher, more independent status. The good news at KFPD was that they will take over the plan to build the large Tadonggang Disabled Persons’ Rehabilitation Center in 2017 which GTI had planned to underwrite and had been long delayed because of the tension between North and South Korea. Sue felt some regret that Koreans in South Korea and around the world would not be full partners in the rehabilitation center project, symbolic help for the North’s disabled and a mark of cooperation for peace, but at the same time she felt joy that concern for the disabled in North Korea has risen to this level.

With KFPD there was discussion to set the departure date and early release of the names of those going to the Rio Paralympics in Brazil. Sue and the two pastors were happy to discuss the status of construction and plans to allocate space in the new Dongdaewon Disabled Persons’ Fitness Center. Other new projects included disabled persons’ taxicabs and testing for hearing. While at the KFPD, the GTI visitors watched the deaf dance team practice, pictured here.

When Sue, the pastors, guide and driver drove to Wonsan City on the East Coast they observed another sign of North Korea’s increased concern for the unfortunate. After visiting the school for the hearing impaired and visiting students and classrooms, the visiting team had a great surprise when they saw that the Wonsan Aeyangwon Orphanage for kindergarten-age children was now included in a school zone away from the city center with large, new buildings featuring bright, modern classrooms along with playgrounds and athletic fields.  

Pentecost Sunday
On Pentecost Sunday, the GTI visitors attended the Bongsoo Church in Pyongyang with about 100 other worshippers. They  were introduced, and Rev. Kook was invited to give the benediction. On Tuesday, the GTI group started their day by visiting the facility and children in the School for Disabled Children in Pyonyang. This building is where the GTI provided hearing examination cells, and equipment was being installed. The next stop was the Dongdaewon Disabled Persons’ Fitness Center. Rev. Kook was eager to see the space where the bakery and coffee shop would be located on the ground floor. The second floor will have rooms for providing glasses and hearing equipment, the third floor will be the exercise area and the bath spa will be located in the basement. 

The last stop on this busy Tuesday was to see the Changwon Vehicle Transportation Center, the garage where up to 20 taxis for the disabled and the KFPD trucks will be based. GTI already provided the first five vehicles. The visitors then flew to Seoul on Wednesday.

Sue requests your prayers as she prepares to accompany North Korea’s Paralympic team on September 1 from Pyongyang to Rio. Sue remembers taking the NK parathletes to the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Incheon Asian Games. The best chance for success this time is Cheol-Woong Kim, a blind distance runner.

Our hearts are thankful that God still enables this North Korea mission outreach and that by the prayers and support of God’s people in the U.S., Canada and South Korea this work with those dedicated to working for orphans and the disabled in NK can continue.

Yours in Christ’s love and victory,

Art and Sue Kinsler

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Amount needed in 2016

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