In honor of Rice from Heaven's book birthday, I dedicate this post to the children of North Korea.
In the mess of politics, wars, famine, and hunger, don’t forget the children. Jesus didn’t. “Let the little children come to me,” He said in Matthew 19:14.
Technically, North and South Korea are still at war from the 1950s. The heavily-armed demilitarized zone is a testament to that fact. Yet, every year, North Koreans try to make the escape. Some fail. Some succeed. November 2017 one such person did. However, he was a North Korean soldier who fled on foot over the DMZ and received numerous gunshot wounds from his fellow soldiers. It was even caught on tape and released on the news and You Tube. He was sent to a hospital less than an hour from where I live in South Korea. One of the top surgeons operated on him and to his surprise discovered numerous parasites and worms living in his abdomen. These were parasites that the doctor had only heard of in textbooks. One worm was 27 cm or almost 11 inches long. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2017/11/16/2017111601450.html
When I heard this, I thought about the children living in North Korea. If all these parasites and worms were living in this soldier, think about what parasites and worms are living in the children. My heart and prayers go out to the kids. And its for these children that I wrote Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans.
In May 2016, a fellow teacher and her family and I helped a North Korean refugee church in Seoul send balloons carrying rice over the border to North Korea. We drove to an undisclosed island to another church that was assisting. Rain poured. The perfect weather to bring winds that would carry the balloons. We were given ponchos and had our umbrellas. I helped carry Styrofoam containers of rice out of a shed to our launch place. We put the containers in big plastic balloon bags. We worked in groups of 3s. One held the balloon, another added helium, and another tied on the rice. It was incredible watching these giant, translucent balloons ascend over the mountains. I asked lots of questions, knowing I would write an article or something about this. I pictured children or families finding the rice on the ground in the morning. That made me think of the story in the Bible about how God provided manna or bread on the ground each morning for the Israelites in Exodus 16. Instead of bread from heaven, North Koreans would find rice! I kept that image in my mind. Soon after, that became the title of my first draft Rice from Heaven.
In all the news around the world, don’t forget the children. Pray for them. Support them. Be the reason a child smiles today!
If you purchased Rice from Heaven, please email me a copy of your receipt at tinamariecho(at)yahoo(dot)com, and I'll put your name in a drawing. Two winners will receive signed bookplates + either a Korean magnet or a small Korean mirror. Drawing on 8/28.