North Korea today remains one of the most repressive regimes on earth restricting the freedom of its own people and considering Christianity a threat to the state. Kenneth Bae is a Christian missionary and American citizen who knows all too well about North Korean oppression. Although it is difficult to enter North Korea, Bae hosted state approved tourism visits from China. Each trip, though a risk, was a successful time of prayer for the Korean people until the country’s security officials arrested Bae after believing he posed a threat to the communist state. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and, after two years, became the longest held U.S. citizen to be imprisoned in North Korea. He was released in 2014 returning home on a flight with then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Kenneth Bae joins Jeff Pickering at the Leland House to share his story of imprisonment and release, holding onto hope in Christ, and his ministry to the North Korean people.
Kenneth Bae is an American citizen, born in South Korea, who serves as a Christian missionary in Seoul, South Korea. Since being released, Kenneth founded the Nehemiah Global Initiative, which is devoted to remembering the 25 million North Koreans and helping North Korean refugees physically and spiritually to rebuild new lives in South Korea. His book Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea recounts his full story.
Resources from the Conversation
- EVENT INVITE | Join the ERLC in Washington, DC, on Thursday, July 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for Humanity Denied: Religious Freedom in North Korea
- ERLC podcast | Olivia Enos on North Korea, nuclear summits, and the persecuted church
- ERLC article by Travis Wussow | What it’s like to follow Jesus in North Korea
- CNN video | Kenneth Bae Interview
- New York Times article | Kenneth Bae, Longest Held U.S. Prisoner in North Korea
- Washington Times | Kenneth Bae details North Korea prison ordeal, says ‘God’s will” put him there
- ERLC | Capitol Conversation Podcast