It’s so good to be home again!
Deborah and I have just returned to the U.S. after spending nearly a week in South Korea, attending a special clergy conference for world peace.
It was a deeply inspiring trip, and we had the pleasure of hearing from different clergy members from around the globe. There were people from all races and faiths in attendance, and we joined with them in prayer, discussion, and contemplation of the issues confronting our world.
During the conference, I was honored to have the chance to read the open letter CAAP wrote to Kim Jong-un. A little more than a week ago, CAAP placed both the open letter and the ad in The Washington Times Special Section on North Korea, Reading the letter at the conference was an emotional experience, as I spoke about my own experiences in the civil rights movement, and added:
To the people of North Korea, I only say that there is hope. Your suffering has not gone unmarked, your enforced silence does not mean that there is no one to speak for you. Throughout the United States (and the whole world), there are millions who are praying for your freedom. We know that you have been deprived of the most basic human rights, and we want nothing more than to see liberty and justice take root in your country.
We shared copies of the letter and special Washington Times section on North Korea with the more than 200 attendees at the conference. We also took the opportunity to talk to them about SHIFT, our new initiative. As Deborah told the others at the conference, we must recognize that our greatness comes from God and we must shift back to God.
Just before we left, Deborah and I visited the famous Korean Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ) – the border between North and South and a symbol of the continued tensions in the region. While at the DMZ, we rang a large bell that stood as a symbol for freedom. Then we added our own prayer ribbons to the fence near the Freedom Bridge. There are millions of colorful ribbons tied to the fence, representing millions of prayers for peace.
I wish you could have been with us to see it: clergy of all races and creeds, joining together to pray and sing hymns for freedom, there in the DMZ. It was a moment of profound hope that we will see peace in the world … as well as a moment of profound faith and trust in God.
As much as we enjoyed the trip, we were grateful to set foot back in the U.S. In fact, the experience made us further appreciate the freedoms we enjoy in this country. And I will carry the memories of this trip with me as we continue to work for faith, freedom, and justice.