One of the North Korean orphans in our care through Second Wave, “Hae Na,” has gone through a dark period like many of us have in high school or college. Her face seems to be permanently downcast. She shows little emotion. It’s hard for her to talk. She excels at penmanship, arts and crafts, things she can do in silence, alone. At the age of 14 she has seen so much. Hae Na’s mother - who was originally from North Korea - escaped to South Korea when Hae Na was a child. Her mother promised her and her father before she left that she would send for the two of them after she was granted citizenship in South Korea. Years went by without a word until finally, Hae Na's mother called and said she was doing well. But there was no invitation for Hae Na or her father to join her in South Korea.
Hae Na’s father did some digging and heard that his wife was with another man. Ablaze with jealousy, he traveled to South Korea, found her, and murdered her. He was imprisoned and Hae Na hasn’t heard from him since.
Hae Na's caretakers say that they have seen the most change in Hae Na compared to anyone else in their home. This is surprising to hear because from our staff's experience, she is always so quiet.
But every once in a while we will catch her smiling whether it’s while she is playing a game or off thinking on her own. This is the “change” her caretaker was talking about.
Change comes slowly for the North Korean orphans in our group homes. People from the West like to make action plans, formulas and schedules. We see the world as a place we can manicure on our timeline. We are reminded by the foolishness of these plans through people like Hae Na.
On a cool summer evening this year, Crossing Borders' volunteer missionaries took Hae Na and the other North Korean orphans in her group home on a creaky old carnival ride in her town. It was shaped like a boat and it rocked back and forth for what seemed like 20 minutes, much longer than a similar ride in the US would go. She was looking up at the stars. Her hands clenched tightly on the bars in front of her, smiling as if she didn’t have a care in the world.
It is moments like these that remind us that all we can give is our best but ultimately heart change is God’s work - that though there is a darkness that seems unquenchable, ultimately there is light.
Please pray for the deep wounds in Hae Na’s heart and the hearts of all the North Korean orphans and refugees in our care. Pray for healing and, by God's love, for something beautiful to come from the many difficulties they have faced in their lives.
“He makes all things beautiful in his time.” - Diane Ball