BAND: Brenda of LINK Global | INTERVIEWER: Bryce Cooley | DATE: April 12th, 2011
Bryce:Well today I have the opportunity of interviewing one of our devotional writers. Brenda has recently joined the ChristCore.net staff and now has four devotionals under her belt. So what makes Brenda interview worthy? Well, she is part of an amazing upstart non-profit that I think you need to hear about. How are you doing today, Brenda?
Brenda: Thanks for that wonderful introduction, Bryce. I am honored to be a part of this staff! I am doing very well today, thanks!
Bryce: Excellent. I mentioned you worked for an NPO, but I didn't mention the name. Tell us a little bit about LiNK, what is it aside from a way to get from website to website??
Brenda: LiNK, which stands for Liberty in North Korea, is a non-profit organization that is raising awareness about the human rights crisis in North Korea. We also provide emergency relief to refugees who have escaped North Korea. The main way we make this issue known is by sending representatives of LiNK on grassroots awareness tours twice a year. We travel to hundreds of venues, sharing a documentary that sheds light to this issue, and we also provide tangible ways for individuals to get involved.
Before reading on I suggest watching this video.
Bryce: How does LiNK fit in with the human rights crisis happening in North Korea aside from sending teams to raise awareness?
Brenda: We provide emergency relief to NK refugees once they've escaped out of North Korea and into China. (It's illegal for NK's to leave their country, so if they are caught in China, they will be sent back to NK, and punished). Because of this, there are up to 300,000 North Korean refugees hiding in China. We help them get to freedom by guiding them on a modern day underground railroad to Southeast Asia. From there, we help them resettle to either South Korea or the United States.
Bryce: That is amazing. To date how many refugees has LiNK emancipated?
Brenda: In total, LiNK has helped to resettle 63 refugees. To get more specific, since the launch of one of our campaigns, The Hundred (www.linkglobal.org/thehundred), LiNK has rescued and resettled 35 refugees. It's remarkable to me that we were able to successfully rescue and resettle those 35 individuals in a matter of one year.
Bryce: If our readers are anything like me, they didn't know much of anything about the North Korean situation, much less what they can do about it. What are some ways that LiNK gives for the average joe or joline to help out?
Brenda: I was definitely unaware of this issue until I was introduced to LiNK. The fact of the matter is that this is one of the most ignored issues in our world today. Most people don't even know that there is even a human rights issue going on in North Korea. LiNK is aware of this, which is why it is our aim to share the personal stories of those refugees whom we have been able to help see freedom.
The truth is we can't do this alone. We have several ways for people to get involved!
A few different ways are to start a chapter on your campus, which is a way for a group of individuals to raise awareness to your community and also raise funding that will go directly to rescuing and resettling refugees.
Another way is to become an intern or a LiNK Nomad. You could be on the front lines of this issue, shedding light in a unique grassroots style.
And one final way (there are still many others) is to financially give to LiNK. We have a campaign called "9 Lives" (www.linkglobal.org/9lives). 9 lives is a commitment of $9 or more a month. This furthers LiNK's programs and provides sustainability to our organization. We truly believe in the power of many individuals giving a small amount. Without our 9 Lives donors, LiNK would not exist.
Bryce: Some Christians seem to be against the major influx of social justice movements. As a Christian woman involved in this how do you respond?
Brenda: I believe that we have been called by God to feed the hungry, assist the needy, and love the oppressed. The social injustices going on inside North Korea, as well as the refugee crisis in China, is something that completely breaks my heart. I feel a responsibility to do my part in fighting for the rights and freedom of these people. I believe Jesus is pleased with that.
Another reason why I feel so called to stand up for social injustice issues, such as the North Korea crisis, is because of Hebrews 13:3, "Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured."
This empowers me to continue fighting because I feel as though these people are my brothers and sisters.
Bryce: Scripture is and has always been clear that reaching out to the "widows and orphans" is very close to the heart of God. It seems that some people worry that by getting involved in social justice neglects or overshadows the desire for evangelism. It can for sure, but that is a person-to-person situation. Preach the gospel at all times; WHEN necessary use words.
Brenda: Amen, brother.
Bryce: What would you say are three common misconceptions people have about social justice issues that go on?
Brenda: One of the biggest misconceptions I believe people have is that there isn't anything they can do because they're too young, too poor, or only one person -- what good will this do? That is what we hear more than anything else (which is why we have several avenues for all types of people to get involved!).
Another common misconception people have is thinking it's not their problem since it has to do with a country oceans away. That couldn't be further from the truth. MLK Jr. said it best, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Lastly, I'd say a common misconception is that there isn't in fact a "social justice issue" going on in, let's say North Korea, for example, because 'their government is corrupt, so that directly means that the people of the country are corrupt too.' This is something I personally had to become educated on. I think this derives from media portraying certain people groups in a poor light, and also because of our education system and the lack of discussing these issues.
Bryce: Before we wrap up, we have heard a lot about LiNK. Are there any other NPO's or issues people should become aware of?
Brenda: I would definitely recommend people to look into a non-profit called Krochet Kids (krochetkids.org). They are an amazing organization working on the grounds in Uganda, and empowering people all over the world to get involved with this issue. Their motto is "buy a hat, change a life".
As much as I think it's crucial to get involved in international social injustice issues, I think it's important to not forget to look within your own community. Let's face it, our world is surrounded by injustice. We have been called to love the unlovable and tend to the needy, both overseas and right next door.
Bryce: Amen, Sista (I had to get you back). Brenda, thank you so much for your time. How can we be praying for you and LiNK?
Brenda: Thanks, Bryce. It means a lot that you would give me this opportunity to talk about something so dear to my heart.
Pray for the people inside of North Korea. This is a "closed country," meaning no one is allowed out, no one is allowed in. Christianity is forbidden in NK, and they are forced to worship their "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-Il. Pray that God would speak to those people in unique, powerful ways.
And, also pray for opportunities for us. We believe that knowledge is power, and the more chances we have to share the stories of the North Korean people, the more likely it is we will see change and essentially liberty in North Korea.
"Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured." -Author of Hebrews -
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" - M.L.K. -