True early Thanksgivings…in Sariwon and Changyon…

Changyon Feast For Web

CFK Volunteers enjoy a feast on the beach with the North Korean staff at Changyon TB Rest Home.


The idea of sharing in a feast in North Korea somehow just doesn’t sound right on the face of things.   Doesn’t North Korea’s population suffer from widespread malnutrition? Hasn’t food and hydropower production been greatly affected by a lack of rainfall this year? Don’t they still have serious food shortages?

The answer to all of these questions is YES – which makes what happened in September and October in Sariwon and Changyon all the more remarkable.

As we reported to you in our October newsletter ( our team worked long days side by side with local staff and volunteers to install solar-powered gravity-fed water systems at these two rural rest homes from September 22 – October 9. These kinds of projects are difficult and complicated. First we have to do an initial on-site assessment. Then, if a well is needed, this has to be drilled before we can proceed. Then we have to estimate all the materials needed for the project, raise the funds, purchase some materials from the US (and others from China), inventory, pack and load them into a container and ship them across the ocean. Once the materials arrive, they have to be inventoried again at our warehouse, and be delivered to the site – which is often a long way from Pyongyang on rough roads.

Container Loading June 2014 for Web

Supplies for this year’s Fall Water Trip were shipped from CFK’s Black Mountain, NC warehouse in June 2014.

Meanwhile we have to assemble a team of willing/skilled volunteers, and apply for visas at least two months in advance of the visit. While we wait for visa and travel approval for the team, team members are raising support for their own travel costs. Finally, when all has been approved and is in place, the team travels to North Korea to install the system – working long days under what are very often challenging conditions. This whole process can easily take 2-5 years to complete.

So, when everything comes together, and our team works along side local people to install a full system in 4-6 days of hard work, there is much rejoicing when the solar panels begin to power the pump that fills the taps with cold, clean water. As the various staff members try out their frost-free hydrants for the first time – the outlets that will give them clean water on demand, summer or winter, and save them back breaking labor and countless hours of precious time in the future – there is much rejoicing and sincere gratitude shared. Patients, too, humbly find ways to express their sincere thanks, as well as villagers who live nearby and who will benefit from the clean water.

Sariwon Local with Water for Web

Two local residents living near Sariwon TB Rest Home receive water near their home!

We know from hundreds of interviews with care center staff members over many years that protein of any kind – but especially fresh meat, is a rare and extremely valued commodity. Most people are only able to have fresh meat a few times each year – usually to celebrate a major holiday. But in September at Sariwon, and in October at Changyon, each place showed their deep appreciation in the best way they knew how – by sacrificing a goat from their small flocks served together with bounty from their greenhouses so that they could honor our team and share a feast of thanksgiving and fellowship with us.

This Thanksgiving, as we sit down together with our families to count our blessings and enjoy our bountiful tables, I hope you will join us in giving thanks for the Thanksgiving feasts held in Sariwon and Changyon this year, strengthening bonds of fellowship and understanding that have grown through bearing each other’s burdens and loving one another.   We hope this overflow of deeply thankful hearts for the lasting transformations that you have helped make possible in Jesus’ name will strengthen you and give you hope and joy this Thanksgiving.


Contact Us

Christian Friends of Korea
P.O. Box 936
Black Mountain, NC 28711

Phone: 828-669-2355


Words of Truth

But God demonstrates His own love in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

— Bible, Romans 5:8
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