In catching up on my newspaper reading, I happened across a December 18th editorial in the Wall Street Journal about “Pastor Buck,” a North Korean who has become an American citizen. Pastor Buck has spent his life helping refugees escape North Korea. Pastor Buck is not only a humanitarian–he is a Christian, which probably explains why he is a humanitarian.

The editorial, by Melanie Kirkpatrick, explains that Pastor Buck has rescued 100 refugees and helped support another thousand who are still on the run. For his “crime,” he has also spent fifteen months in a Chinese prison. He spent last Christmas in jail. This year, he is celebrating Christmas with his family in Seattle.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know about the underground railroad that is working to ferry North Korean refugees out of China to South Korea and then to the United States. I have a great fondness in my heart for Korea–I visited there while I was in college, and that country gave me my two children. I have great respect for the Korean people, and I rejoice that Christianity is strong in that country.

The article spoke of another American, Steve Kim, who has been in a Chinese prison since September 2003, sentenced to five years for smuggling aliens out of the country. Kim, who is also a Christian, has funded safe houses and paid for refugees’ passage on the underground railroad. Beijing refuses to grant him parole. His wife and three children, who live in New York, will celebrate this Christmas without him . . . again.

I need not tell you about the brutality of Chinese prisons . . . but I beg you to pray for these people who are being persecuted in North Korea and China. And if you hear of some other way to help, please let me know.



  1. W. Mark Whitlock

    I, too, have a fondness for Korea. I spent 8 weeks there teaching conversational English to college students. We adopted a little girl from China in January. Both countries now receive our prayer attention daily. Thanks for sharing this information.

  2. Leslie

    If you haven’t already, please check out Voice of the Martyrs. They are a Christian agency that specifically works to help relieve the suffering of the persecuted Christians around the world. One of their programs is to have people write to the governments holding Christians asking for the release…and also they have addresses for some of the prisoners where you can write letters to them. I don’t know how effective the letter writing campaigns are, but they sound like they might be right up your alley. =) They have tons of other programs as well.

  3. Anonymous

    Another organization that assists North Korean refugees, and coordinates efforts with Pastor Buck, is Helping Hands Korea, see


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