“I felt as if I had been on a personal retreat with the Lord for two years”

In his book “Not Forgotten”, American missionary Kenneth Bae tells how his 2 years in prison strengthened his relationship with God and his love for North Korea.

Evangelical Focus

amazon.com · UNITED STATES · 10 MAY 2016 · 10:05 CET

Kenneth Bae in Pyongyang, forced to admit his 'crimes' in public.,kenneth bae, book
Kenneth Bae in Pyongyang, forced to admit his 'crimes' in public.

Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in 2013, for what the North Korean government described as "hostile acts" against the country.

He was born in Seoul and came to the United States with his family in 1985. He moved to China in 2006, where he began his missionary work. In 2010, he started to lead small tour groups into North Korea, where he was arrested, brought to Pyongyang for further questioning, and found guilty.



He was finally released and went back to USA. Now, he has written a book about those two year in prison: Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea.

In the book, Bae affirms that “to the DPKR government, being a missionary is the same as being a terrorist. Government finds the gospel of Jesus Christ to be very dangerous.”

The missionary explains that “before the World War, when there was only one Korea, more Christians lived in the North than the South. There was a huge revival in Pyongyang, which was called `Jerusalem of the Far East´.”

“My crime was to go there and pray God would do again what He once did. That me a dangerous terrorist. I guess I still am, because I am still praying for North Korea”, he adds.


Bae during the first press conference in the USA, after his release.



“In North Korea, I learned God´s faithfulness, experience his grace, and witnessed his compassion in ways I never had imagined before. I learned to trust God and hold onto his promises”, he recalls.

For Bae, “God had been amazingly faithful and his grace was sufficient, as his compassion for the lost is everlasting.”

He admits that “although I had moments when I was depressed and had lost hope, and I sometimes felt abandoned and forgotten by the world, God was there. As he promised, He never left me or forsook me.”


The book Bae wrote.


During his captivity, Bae “also learned my life must be about his will and plan, not mine […] I learned that Jesus is worth living for, He is even worth going to prison for. I would not have learned that otherwise.”

“I felt as if I had been on a personal retreat with the Lord for two years”, he writes.




“My two years in Korea also told me what is like to have compassion for those who live in the darkness. They are often forgotten by the world, yet they are remembered by God”, Bae states.

He explains that “in North Korea more than 24 million people live with no knowledge of the one true God. I still remember the guard´s words: `Where does this Jesus live, in China or in Korea?´”

“We must pray for them, and build a bridge to them, through which we can share God´s love.”, he continues.

He concludes the epilogue of book, quoting Jeremiah 31:33-34, while he says: “ I pray I can still become a bridge to connect North Korea to the rest of the world. But I don’t want to be the only bridge.”

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