North Korea, one of the most oppressive societies on Earth, has gained a great deal of media attention in recent years due to its confrontational stance on its nuclear weapon ambitions. However, there is a much deeper story behind commentaries on North Korean leadership: the daily plight of the country’s citizens. To enlighten on these issues, on May 9, the WFWP Denver chapter collaborated with the Denver Family Church to host three young people from the Liberty in North Korea (LINK) organization to give a presentation about the organization’s work.
LINK volunteers Kirstin Pulles, William Arnold and Travis Morse gave an engaging and informative presentation, which elicited many thought-provoking questions from the audience. LINK has been able to help over 335 North Korean refugees reach freedom. The organization has also helped these refugees resettle in China, South Korea, the US, and other locations. During their presentation, they showed videos of North Korea, gave a brief history of the country, and spoke about LINK’s work with the underground railroad.
Those who escape North Korea leave behind a country in which basic freedoms such as freedom of speech or freedom of movement are denied and criticism of the government can land you and your family in the harsh, inhuman conditions of prison camps. Refugees also leave behind a country in which child malnutrition is rampant. However, as Kristin, William and Travis shared, leaving North Korea is not an easy journey. Many who try to escape to China are forcibly returned to North Korea where they can face torture or imprisonment. However, those who do avoid repatriation are more susceptible to exploitation or sex trafficking due to their illegal status. This is why LINK’s model of providing free assistance to refugees is so valuable. One hundred percent of all donations go toward LINK’s work and volunteers are not paid.
In recognition of their tireless work for the North Korean people, Kirstin, William and Travis were given the WFWP Ambassador for Peace Award. Since the founders of WFWP, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, also have a strong affinity for North Korea, Mrs. Shirley Chimes, WFWP Denver Chairwoman, also presented them with Rev. Moon’s autobiography and Hak Ja Han Moon’s booklet of three speeches on “Women’s Role in World Peace.” They also received a copy of the 2010-2014 report on WFWP’s 1% Love Share Project. The 1% Love Share Project is an initiative for people to donate $1 per month in support of those living on less than $1 per day, with a particular focus on supporting malnourished women and children in North Korea.
Following the presentations, attendees shared converstations and impressions over snacks in the adjoining room.
At dinner with Michael and Adonia Hentrich, pastors of the Denver Family Church, Kristin, William, and Travis each said what they were grateful for. William said that he was grateful for receiving the awards and that so many of the attendees could recognize the value of what they were doing in LINK.
They were really thrilled to receive the Ambassador for Peace awards. Out of all the events they had spoken at, this was the only time they had received an award. This presentation was the last one on their present tour, and they said it was the best way to finish. They were really impressed by the engagement of everyone attending, the conversations they had had, and all the support they had received.