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North Korea

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember the Christians in the following story from a Thanksgiving in North Korea a few years ago.

Elizabeth, a North Korean Christian, joined with a few other believers for a worship service. She noticed one child in the group whose shoe was torn open. His foot was frozen. His family did not have enough money to buy new shoes.

The house had no heat. Sometimes the family skipped meals for many days in a row because they had no money for food. “The food problem is worse this year,” a North Korean Christian said. “And it was really bad last year.” Bad weather has destroyed food crops in North Korea. Also, government leaders do a poor job of getting food to those who need it. Many people are poor, hungry, and sick.

It is difficult for sick people to get medicine in North Korea. Soap, toothpaste, and other items that help keep people healthy are also scarce.

You might expect the Christians in North Korea to be sad about all their problems. But this group of Christians had gathered for a Thanksgiving celebration! Elizabeth sang a hymn for the group. “The room was full of thanksgiving and the grace of God,” said one Christian. “We have nothing to give to God except our hearts,” the Christians said.

Their Thanksgiving celebration had no turkey and dressing, no fruit and vegetables, and no pumpkin or apple pie. But Elizabeth said, “Our hope is not more food, but to go to a church and worship in freedom.”

Please remember the thankful North Korean Christians when you thank God for your own blessings.

Note: News reports in recent years said that the North Korean government made new rules about the height of their soldiers. Before the new rules, North Koreans had to be at least 145 centimeters tall to be in the military. But many North Koreans are very short because they have never had enough to eat. The new rules said that soldiers had to be only 142 centimeters tall. That is about 4 feet 8 inches tall. Laws in many U.S. states say that children have to ride in car booster seats until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.