For those of you who've been wondering what's coming up next for me after graduating and everything... I will be living out of a van and traveling around the country for the sake of North Korean human rights!
I've been blessed with the opportunity to accept an internship with an awesome group called LiNK- Liberty in North Korea. They're a great non-profit that seeks to end the ongoing human rights crisis in North Korea by telling the stories of the oppressed, providing emergency relief for refugees, and pursuing its end. In the fall I will be a Nomad for LiNK, traveling in a van with a team across several states, visiting schools, churches, and community groups in order to tell the story of the affected with the hopes of getting more people to investigate the issues and pursue justice in North Korea.
Having finished my degree in Global Studies, I look forward to putting what I've learned to work. I knew I wanted to pursue social justice and human rights with my career when studying different issues and traveling to different places led me to the conclusion that the world is broken, but knowing what I know, and being blessed with what I've been given, I'd find it impossible not to do something. While studying a number of different cases around the world, the North Korean situation struck me as particularly interesting and urgent. While one does not simply walk into North Korea, I'm hoping to do the next best thing and get the stories of North Koreans out!
In case you're only vaguely familiar with what's going on in North Korea, I'd strongly encourage you to investigate, and to talk to me about it. Here's a quick overview, though. The human rights crisis in North Korea has many elements, including a food crisis, political prisoners and torture, lack of essential freedoms, and a desperate refugee situation that leads to the abuse of many people. North Koreans are indoctrinated to worship a political regime that is highly oppressive. Their government prohibits freedoms of speech, assembly, press, and religion, and access to outside information is censored and inhibited. Natural disasters, famine, and gross governmental mismanagement have also led to an ongoing food crisis. North Korea relies heavily on food aid, but because of discriminatory distribution, it has been a challenge to ensure that the aid winds up where it belongs. Those who wish to escape their situation have no easy option to do so. The North Korean government holds up to 200,000 persons in political prison camps, where they are subject to torture, abuse, violence, forced labour, and execution. Most refugees attempt to escape to China, however China has a policy of returning all refugees to North Korea, where they are sure to wind up in such a camp. In other cases many refugees are caught up into human trafficking circles. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to the sex trade and to forced labour.
That's just an overview. If you're interested in more, I'd recommend having a look around LiNK's website: linkglobal.org. There are two films I'd recommend, one titled The People's Crisis, and the other is Seoul Train. Finally, I'm in the middle of an intense read right now, Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden, which chronicles the story of someone who made it out from captivity.
I'm completely eager to get on the road and to start engaging people around the country in dialogue about a crisis that not enough folks know about. I'd be on the road from August to December and I'm really looking forward to the experience. Being able to see new places and meet new people is right up my alley, but to be able to do it for such a cause is even better. I believe in a calling to break the chains of injustice and to set the oppressed free. This experience will play a valuable role in that calling.
I can't wait for this to get started, but I'm gonna need some help leading up to the experience!
First of all, I'm going to be away from Santa Barbara during this time and I'll need somebody to take over for my housing for a little bit. I'm currently looking for a subleaser for August-December. I live just off of Turnpike road in a nice, spacious apartment, located conveniently to just about anywhere you'd want to go around town. I have no complaints about the place, and I enjoy living right behind a grocery store very much. Rent is $500 for a room you'd be sharing with my buddy Travis. He's awesome. If you are interested please let me know, and if you know of anyone who might be looking for housing, please spread the word. I've got a month to figure this out.
Secondly, I am going to need to raise some funds for this project. My goal is to raise $1500 by the time I leave in August. I ask you to please consider joining me through giving. Any amount will be really helpful in getting me in the van and around the country and nothing is too big or too small. If you're interested in supporting me, you may do so right here! Or, if you'd rather send a check, message me so I can give you an address. Also send me your address so I can send you a postcard or two from the road! If you might know of other people interested in supporting this mission, I also greatly appreciate referrals. I greatly appreciate any financial support I can get.
Lastly, I'd appreciate your prayers. Please pray for the people of North Korea because this is about them. Prayers for my safety and well-being on the road are also appreciated. I can't do any of this without God, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do together.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions!
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