For some 15 years I had a website that mostly concerned Providence Church. I now wish to put those 15 years behind me. Fifteen years is, after all, a long time. To facilitate that, I signed this agreement with Providence and issued this apology. Those documents and this post are my final words on the subject.
I am now looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life with more emphasis on hobbies like staying/becoming fit and healthy, music, and reading. The same goes for my job. To be honest, I felt at times my interest in Providence and some of our resulting interactions distracted me from giving my students 100% of my attention.
I also hope to spend more time volunteering with Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), an NGO I have been volunteering with since 2014 – I am its longest serving volunteer. Just last night in fact, I spent two hours with courageous young women helping prepare her for an upcoming speech contest. I feel so honored to be in a position to meet and assist her and others who have braved the dangerous journey from their homeland to start a new but not easy life in South Korea. There was one moment from last night’s tutoring session that will live with me a long time. First, I almost cried at one point and said more than once “Oh my God”. Then I realized something that took my breath away: I am one of the first people to hear her testimony. It was for such people I started collecting links about the lives of defectors in South Korea and other countries. It was one of the threads I wanted to save after deleting my old site. That thread now has a new home and is entitled “Beyond The Border: Life on the Outside for North Korean Defectors”.
Last week, another special TNKR moment. I attended a secret meeting with Thae Yong-ho, who, prior to defecting was North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the UK. He is the highest ranking official to defect. As such, security for the event was tight. Here is what he said about TNKR that day. Hearing his words helped motivate me to volunteer more with TNKR and to reorganize my priorities. It was also an honor to ask him a question and have him spend a few minutes responding.
My old website did not only concern Providence, but also social and political events and disasters that I found interesting and/or disturbing, controversial churches, matters related to abuse of power in various settings, and the previously mentioned North Korea-related issues. I am not ready to give that interest up completely, so I have started a new site with a few such posts like the previously mentioned thread about North Korean defectors. Here’s that new site.
Maintaining and updating that site will however not be a priority for me. I will also be exploring specific groups less thoroughly than before, and some groups on my previous site I may simply put behind me as well. I also may refuse to be interviewed, but I will make decisions on a case by case basis if requests are received. Certainly, I am always up for interviews about North Korean defectors and TNKR.
Thanks for reading.