Hyunhee Kim, this year's new Spiritual Growth Assistance Fund (SGAF) recipient was a guest at the MW Canada executive meeting on October 15. She shared her story of escape and eventual return to a North Korean prison camp for 4 months as a teenager. After escaping a second time with her mother and brother, she met Mennonites through the Christian TV show host who was interviewing her. This TV host was a Mennonite, Hun Lee, who also led a group home for refugee youth from North Korea. He asked her to help him in running the group home. She noticed South Korea's churches were plagued by political issues and tensions and wondered, “Why are we blaming each other and fighting?”
Hun Lee introduced her to the Mennonite story and focus on peace and reconciliation which she took into her heart. When she came to Canada she didn't have enough money to study, but couldn't get a work permit, so Hun Lee funded her studies. She began attending Charleswood Mennonite Church, where Hun Lee had served as Korean pastor in the 90s, before returning to Korea. She began a Peace Studies degree at University of Winnipeg's Menno Simons College and is continuing her studies at the Master's level at Canadian Mennonite University.
HyunHee is studying with the hope of bringing the gospel of peace back to Korea, especially to North Korea, where children are indoctrinated as to who their enemies are from a very early age. She is most very grateful for our support and looks forward to connecting with us in the future.
We were deeply touched by HyunHee's story and wanted to share this with women in our areas so Kathy Giesbrecht will ask Darryl Neustaedter Barg of Mennonite Church Manitoba to create short videos featuring HyunHee and Marlene Wiebe, our other SGAF recipient, in the near future.
When Hyunhee received news of the grant, she wrote:
Thank you so much for the great news! Oh my goodness! I do not know how to appreciate for such great support. Yes, I am willing to meet your executive whenever you arrange the date. I am so grateful for that.
So many thanks for SGAF grant.
Note: A more detailed version of Hyunhee's experience, written by Deborah Froese, called Piecing together her peace, is posted on the Mennonite Church Canada website at http://news.mennonitechurch.ca/piecing-together-her-peace.