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North Korean Refugees Settle In The Southland

May 21

CBS Broadcasting

ICC: This article not only talks about the safe arrival of the refugees, but also shares the refugees’ personal stories of religious persecution in North Korea and China. This article also gives a great example of Christians in the U.S. taking action to help our brother and sisters abroad who suffering for their faith.

(CBS) IRVINE , Calif. Six refugees from North Korea , the first ones admitted by the United States were settling into the Southland.
Four women and two men were met by leaders of four Korean congregations, all members of the Korean Church Coalition, who pushed the government to take in the refugees.
“This is the moment we’ve been hoping and praying for for years,” said Sam Kim, a lawyer and member of the Bethel Korean Church in Irvine .
Also present was Chun Ki Won, a missionary who helped them escape via underground railroad through China and Southeast Asia .
Members of the group told reporters in Washington about their trek from North Korea to the U.S.
Chan Mi Shin, 20, foraged for grass to make broth for her family. She was so hungry that during the famine, she hallucinated that an accordion’s keys were cookies and candies.
Shin and three other women, Na Omi, Young Nah “Deborah” Choi and Ha Nah, speaking through an interpreter, explained how they were sold and resold to married Chinese men as brides and prostitutes for several dollars.
Shin was sold into marriage three times within the same year she turned 16.
Choi’s father, a communist party official, was jailed for five years. During that time her family was ostracized and she was banished from school. She paid a broker to help her escape to China in 2004, however the broker sold her to a married man who raped and confined her to a room for two years.
Omi met a man who she had hoped would help her, however he sold her as a bride to a Chinese man, whose family enslaved her. She was deported and spent time in a North Korean prison before escaping to China .
The 2004 North Korean Human Rights Act mandates the U.S. to take in refugees, however none were admitted since South Korea and China thought the move would set back six-nation talks aimed at seeking nuclear weapon disarmament from North Korea .
“We will press to make it clear to our friends and allies in the region that we are prepared to accept North Korean refugees for resettlement here,” said North Korean Human Rights Envoy Jay Lefkowitz in a meeting with a House of Representatives subcommittee.
The refugees were introduced Sunday morning to the rest of Bethel ‘s 5,300-person congregation at the two regular Sunday services.