Category: Blog

URGENT: Greenhouse Appeal for North Korea Flood Relief

From August 29–31, three days of torrential rains and impact from Typhoon Lionrock caused floodwaters to suddenly rise inundating houses, causing landslides, and wiping away entire villages in multiple counties in the two most northeastern provinces of the DPRK. One hundred and thirty-eight deaths were reported and another 400 are missing (presumed dead). Nearly 70,000 people have lost their homes and all their belongings due to the flooding. Crops, days away from harvesting, were destroyed or heavily damaged in the fields, and railroads, bridges, and roads have been heavily damaged. Over 600,000 who live in the area are affected. Now relief/rebuilding efforts are in a race against time as October fast approaches, bringing with it snow and temperatures that regularly drop to -25C and below. The United Nations and other international agencies have been able to visit the region and have confirmed the significance of the damage and the urgency of the situation for those living there.

CFK responded quickly during our recent visit by releasing pre-positioned stocks of emergency relief goods including hygiene kits, water filters/buckets, food, blankets, and other materials that were in our warehouse in Pyongyang. These goods were to be delivered by local colleagues during the week of September 21st. We expect to confirm the distribution of these goods during a special flood-relief visit planned for late October.

Local children. Over 100,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the floods, including many children. [Photograph]. UNICEF. https://blogs.unicef.org/east-asia-pacific/unicef-supporting-children-affected-floods-dpr-korea/. Sahin, Murat (Photographer). (2016). Used with permission.

Local children. Over 100,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the floods, including many children. [Photograph]. UNICEF. https://blogs.unicef.org/east-asia-pacific/unicef-supporting-children-affected-floods-dpr-korea/.
Sahin, Murat (Photographer). (2016). Used with permission.

In the meantime, however, we are launching an emergency appeal to send long-term help for recovery to flood affected hepatitis and TB facilities. In the late 1990’s, CFK introduced small vinyl greenhouses to the DPRK. They are in use at all of our supported care centers, producing on average 1-3 tons of food every year – including long before and after, when crops can be grown in outdoor fields. We are urgently seeking funding to send at least two greenhouses to each TB and hepatitis care center in flood-affected areas. These greenhouses can be set up in 1-2 days, and can provide basic shelter immediately, and then transition in late fall/early spring to grow vitamin-rich crops such as spinach, crown daisy, lettuce, and cabbage. For people who have just lost the main summer harvest due to flooding, along with their small animals, household goods, kitchen gardens, winter fuel supply, clothing, and homes, greenhouse production can help to supply sustainable nutrition and bring hope to a very difficult situation.

We have just received an emergency $20,000 gift towards this effort from a generous donor. We need to raise another $36,000 to reach our goal to send a total of 14 greenhouses. If more funds are raised, they will be applied towards our existing greenhouse project in other parts of the DPRK.

We fear that TB and hepatitis care centers will soon have many more patients to care for due to the heavy toll that flooding can have on people’s lives and health. Please help us reach our goal quickly so we can order and send these greenhouses before the cold of winter sets in. Now more than ever before, the people of the DPRK need to know of God’s love and care for them through the loving hands of Christians.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and generous support!

 

Trip Participant Story

Christian Friends of Korea makes two types of trips a year: confirming and technical trips. Participants on our confirming trips are typically major donors and those that take part on our technical trips are lab trainers or skilled workers that help with water, building projects, greenhouses, etc. Trip participants from as early as 1997 have shared with us their unforgettable experiences in the DPRK.

Allen Schipper, who joined our technical team in the spring of 2013 to construct the Training Center in Pyongyang at the Central TB Hospital, shared his story with us. Allen’s story is quite beautiful and will be sure to fill your heart.

It had been a hard day working on the TB Center in Pyongyang. The temperature and the humidity had been on the rise, and we were glad to return to our large tourist hotel. Good progress had been made during the day, but we were all looking forward to a shower and spending some time unwinding with colleagues at dinner. As usual, the dining room was sparsely populated as we gathered for our evening meal. Our attractive, young waitress, undoubtedly chosen not only for her skill but her ideological loyalty, hustled about taking care of her responsibilities. Always courteous and efficient, she nevertheless remained somewhat distant and impersonal, as might be expected in someone dealing with people from other countries and beliefs.

As the meal progressed, our spirits were renewed, and we simply enjoyed the respite and the company. Then that beautiful and self-controlled waitress announced that there was ice cream for dessert – an unexpected pleasure. Hearing this good news, one of our Norwegian colleagues dramatically threw his hands into the air and made a goofy face (and an even funnier noise) in celebration of the treat that was coming. At that point, the waitress’s mouth dropped open, and she gaped with amazement at what she was seeing and then simply lost herself in giggles. For 10 minutes, she had to excuse herself repeatedly as she heroically struggled – but failed – to regain her dignity. Hearing her peals of laughter from behind the kitchen door caused us to continue laughing, too, and we all laughed together. That little piece of usually-dour North Korea rocked with unvarnished hearty laughter.

I can still hear it echoing around that room, and the memory makes me smile to this day. It was more than a good joke, however, it was more than just barriers between humans being broken down or political differences being bridged. More than that, I think we experienced an atmosphere of suspicion and even hostility being transformed into wondrous joy right in front of our eyes, and we were glad. I think we experienced just a smidgen of what Mary Magdalene experienced on a certain Sunday morning. It was a gift from the hand of God, and we celebrated.

          IMG_2130        May 2013 - T GS - 1 459

(Left: Allen Schipper)

CGNTV FILM “Beautiful Feet” Aired Easter Sunday 2015!

CGNTV - Beautiful Feet - Banner

In January, a CGNTV crew visited us here in Black Mountain, interviewing a few of the retired Korea missionaries, and some of us at CFK and Wellspring, too. The film aired on Easter Sunday in Korea, and we invite you to click this link to view it.

http://www.cgntv.net/#/tv/15520/1543/3224/vlist.cgn  (Korean Version)

(English Version)

Grateful for God’s love for the Korean people!

CFK Container Shipped 2/25/15!

CFK would like to thank our donors, partners, and volunteers who made today’s container loading possible! Many volunteers have worked with our staff to help inventory goods, sort and pack supplies, build pallets and complete our smoothest loading yet! Items in this container are en-route now in order to pre-position materials needed for our team to complete additional water and other projects in North Korea later this year (dates yet to be determined). Please pray that the mandatory 21 day Ebola quarantine will be lifted soon so that our regular relief and medical shipments can also resume, and our teams can return to continue our work that is bringing hope and transforming many lives in North Korea to the glory of God.  To donate to the CFK shipping fund please click here:  http://donate.cfk.org/en/generalfund

 

Blessings in Delays

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

In November, we chose to delay our scheduled trip into the DPRK due to a new policy hastily imposed by the North Korean government. As a result of recent Ebola outbreaks around the world, any visitors coming into the DPRK are to adhere to a 21-day quarantine before continuing to travel throughout the country. We were lacking the resources to commit to the quarantine, but the decision to delay the trip was difficult. Our hearts were heavy and sad as we thought of the patients and staff at our supported TB and hepatitis facilities that were expecting our arrival, knowing that we would not be able to check on them as they prepare for the cold winter season.

But God is faithful and trustworthy, and we are grateful for the many prayers and encouraging words from our supporters both for the people of North Korea and for the work of CFK.
We have used this time to grow together as a team, pray together, and refocus on projects that needed attention at the CFK Black Mountain, NC office.

TECHNOLOGY UPDATES2014-12-09 13.45.01
This time has given us the opportunity to make new updates to our online presence. Our website, www.cfk.org is now mobile phone and tablet friendly, and can be comfortably viewed and navigated from any device! We have improved our social media participation by increasing our post frequency to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. As a result we’ve made many new connections and have received several new donations! We hope to continue to add updates and articles, both on this blog and through social media in hopes of further spreading the word about what God is doing through CFK for the people of North Korea. We welcome any comments and suggestions about how we might continue to improve online and provide you with details and stories of our work. We invite you to share about CFK with your friends, family, and your current social media connections.

CFK mobile appAdditionally, CFK now has a new mobile app available allowing donations to be made directly from your mobile phone! It is quick, safe, and simple. Our new app can be downloaded at: https://christianfriendsofkorea.thegivingapp.com or by texting “North Korea” to 31996 (from USA phone numbers only).

We’ve also updated our current projects on our donate website: http://donate.cfk.org, renewed our profile information on the Guidestar, ECFA, and VolunteerMatch websites, and installed a much-needed new phone system in our office.

VISITORS AND VOLUNTEERS
Throughout November and the beginning of December, we were blessed with the opportunity to host two visiting groups for tours and to learn more about our work. We are always open to guest stopping by the office, and we encourage anyone who is in our area to come and visit to learn more. It is always encouraging to meet our supporters, and to pray for one another and for the people of North Korea.

IMG_3097We have also been able to host several new volunteers, who have helped with envelope stuffing, warehouse clean-up, lawn maintenance, donated items inventory and preparation for shipping (medical supplies, clothing and knitted items, and winter coats), English to Korean translations, doctor and nurse’s kit assembly, visitor information packet assembly, water filter bucket cleaning, office cleaning, gift wrapping, and more! It has been an honor to get to know those who are interested in helping with our work. One group came to do a service project in celebration of their friend’s birthday! Each volunteer / group has had unique qualities and skills that have been so helpful at just the right moment to complete each task. Click here to learn more about how you may become involved in CFK’s work: http://cfk.org/needs/volunteer

OTHER BLESSINGS
There have been numerous unexpected and extremely generous donations received in the past months. This time away from trip preparations has given us the opportunity to call and speak with many of you and to get to know you better, and we have been grateful for that opportunity.

As a staff here at CFK we have really grown together over the past few months. We all handle the various aspects of our lives differently, but we have learned to pray together, work together, and embrace each person’s individual strengths. We are able to see God’s blessings through his delays and we are grateful for the overwhelming impact that our friends, families, donors and prayer partners continue to make on the lives of our friends in North Korea.

As we approach the Christmas season, it is often easy to get distracted and forget what Christmas is about. Many small delays occur all the time with traffic jams in shopping center parking lots, long lines at cash registers, delayed flights and unexpected travel issues, that “perfect gift” is sold out, children fall to pieces in the middle of the store, or any other infinite number of issues that may arise. Instead of getting frustrated, we invite you to pause, remember Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, and thank God for the lessons he teaches us during delays.

We invite you to share with us a time when God has been faithful in walking you through a time of set-back or delay. We would love to hear your stories of your trust in the Lord.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit?” Romans 15:13

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at CFK!

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

Phone: 828-669-2355

Email: cfk@cfk.org

Words of Truth

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

— Bible, 1 John 4:7
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