We’re punctuating this month’s study of ransoming the captives with the release of our new book, These are the Generations: The Story of How One Christian Family Lived Out The Great Commission for More than Fifty Years in the Most Christian-Hostile Nation in Human History.
Mr. and Mrs. Bae and their children once enjoyed a prosperous existence in North Korea, but their life was decimated following the North Korean government’s investigation of Mr. Bae on suspicion of Christian activity. Mr. Bae was held without charge in a North Korean jail for more than a year, but during that time his faith grew even as his health faltered. Mr. Bae is the first 3rd-generation North Korean Christian known to have defected to South Korea. He carries a wealth of previously unknown historical information about the unique ways the North Korean underground church lives, worships, and evangelizes in the most Christian-hostile conditions in human history.
Mrs. Bae is a former North Korean schoolteacher who met and married Mr. Bae during his university studies. She unknowingly inherited the family’s faith. During her marriage she came across puzzling clues about her husband’s outlawed beliefs, until his imprisonment led to her own costly journey of faith with her mother-in-law.
Though Mr. Bae was ultimately miraculously released from prison without being charged, the Baes were reduced to the life of vagabonds by the stigma of his imprisonment. They lost their home, job, friends, and health but gained something infinitely more valuable: deep, unshakable faith in Christ. While continually on the move ahead of the authorities, they raised their children in the faith and led other family members and former friends to Christ.
They eventually responded to God’s call to leave North Korea in order to share their family story with the world. The Baes cautiously tell all they can about this previously unknown part of the body of Christ. Their identities are protected so as not to further endanger those they left behind, including Mr. Bae’s parents who are currently imprisoned in a North Korean concentration camp because of their own evangelistic activity.
I wrote something in the conclusion of the book that is particularly germane to our discipleship about ransoming captives. It goes like this:
An estimated thirty thousand of today’s North Korean Christians—Mr. Bae’s mother and father among them—are living out their faith in concentration camps. Our first instinct is to work tirelessly to free them. But our second instinct ought to be to remember that God does not look at freedom the same way we do. An estimated one hundred fifty thousand to two hundred thousand North Koreans are prisoners in those camps. Many will end their days there. How could a God of boundless love not reach out personally to comfort those people, assuring them that they are not forgotten? And, if he did reach out, why wouldn’t he do it the way he always has—through people he has specially trained for the task, in barren fields and temporary exiles, whom he has walked with daily and who he speaks to as his friends?
I am humbled by all I learned about ransoming captives while writing this book with the Baes. I hope reading the book can convey some of that same learning process for you. You can purchase These Are The Generations today through amazon.com.