One of the most pleasant tasks I perform for the Forerunner Film Festival is to review new films. I am not sure how I was introduced to the film “Crossing”, but it was a docu-drama which challenged and stirred more emotion that any of the hundreds of films I had reviewed.
The setting is North Korea. The central character is a husband desperately seeking medicine for his very ill wife. We learn that the only solution to his problem is to pass illegally through the border into China to get the medicine. For many Christians in North Korean, life is very difficult – they face persecution, diminished human rights, and many are refused work. The only way to escape is to illegally enter China and then travel overland to South Korea with the help of an underground railroad. The desperate
husband reckons that if he is going to risk years of jail to get the medicine, he may as well escape to freedom.
Few people understand this man’s life, but the film powerfully reveals the desperation, fear, and courage people face when they risk their lives and futures for freedom. The most moving footage shows a group of refugees attempting to force their way through a wall of North Korean police into the safety and freedom of the Japanese consulate. Some escape, others are captured – it is heart wrenching.
I promised myself after the film I would do something to raise awareness of these people who want only a chance to work and live with some dignity. My research into the subject revealed complications and, as usual, corruption in the handling and treatment of refugees coming from North Korea. It muddied the water somewhat for me.
This week Kim Jung II “Beloved Leader” died suddenly of a heart attack – his death offers North Koreans hope for the future. His 3rd son was named as successor, although for millions of Christian North Koreans, it is unknown how and if things will change. Those who have escaped the North took the opportunity to demonstrate in Seoul.
For many of us here in Canada, this story is just another blip on the daily news screen, with little background understanding or significance to us. It is difficult to keep up with all the issues that are going on in the world. There are so many problems that need our support and engagement, we may wonder how WE can do something to contribute to positive change?
In a recent interview for Wisdom-radio with Dale and Linda Bolton from Organics 4 Orphans, Dale described how this revolutionary organization was birthed. On seeing literally millions of orphans (victims of the AIDS epidemic) they committed themselves to do something. They somehow got over the fact that they were two people facing a 40 million person problem. They began with the premise that even if they could help only a few hundred children, it would be worth their effort. They, however, grew in understanding of the culture and the problems and discovered better solutions. It has been a journey of amazing revelation and innovation. The key was their commitment to do something. After that, all the rest came together.
As 2011 comes to a close with one of the great celebrations of family and caring, we should evaluate what we have done for others and how we can do our part to make a positive impact on our world. All around us we are challenged with needs. We may think we can’t do much to solve the world’s problems, but over and over again, people of modest means and expertise make enormous changes for good. Their key is commitment and endurance. 2012 will be filled with opportunities to become engaged in your community and to find a place to serve. You can’t do everything and you can’t do ‘nothing’. The world, our country, and our community need you and what you have to give no matter how small you believe your impact will be. Find an issue to affect for good. Find someone or something that needs what you have to give and 2012 will be the beginning of the best years of your life.