As American citizen Kenneth Bae begins serving 15 years of hard labor at a “special prison” in North Korea for alleged hostile acts against the state, two videos related to the tour guide and Christian missionary have emerged that may shed light on Bae’s evangelism activities in the oppressive communist country.
North Korea’s official news agency has revealed that Bae, a 44-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen with family living in Washington state, entered prison on Tuesday, May 14, with no other details given on the location, name or specific type of prison, according to The Associated Press.
Bae, who was put on trial and sentenced in April, reportedly lived in China close to the Korean border and frequently led tours into the country. Bae was arrested Nov. 3, 2012, while with a group of tourists in the northeastern port city of Rason (Rajin). During his trips, Bae apparently also visited and fed orphans, a topic he may have mentioned during a sermon he gave at a Missouri church in 2009.
In his message, delivered in Korean and recorded on video, Bae apparently speaks of rallying Christians to prayer to help bring down the walls of division between the so-called hermit kingdom and the rest of the world.
“We have a new project called ‘Operation Jericho.’ Just as God made people enter Jericho and collapse it without force, I hope the wall between us will collapse soon, through just our praying and worship in the Rason area,” Bae said, according to a NK News translation accessed by The Washington Post.
The sermon also reveals that Bae worked with a missionary team in North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and had hoped to find among U.S. churches 300 volunteers to go to the country’s Rason city to pray and worship.