It's no secret that I've got a heart for the people in the closed nation of North Korea. My first three novels were set in North Korea, and my Kennedy Stern series is about the daughter of missionaries who have devoted their lives to supporting North Korean refugees.
In case you're wondering, I'm not Korean. In fact, my Japanese ancestry means that my great-great-grandparents would have been considered the wicked oppressors of the Korean peninsula. Today, it's no longer the Japanese but the ruling Kim regime that is holding God's children of North Korea in bondage.
So how did a half-Japanese woman who's never set foot in Asia decide to write about North Korea? It all began with a prayer burden.
Way back in high school (and no, I don't feel old enough to admit that was half a lifetime ago), I read Jesus Freaks, a book put out by Voice of the Martyrs and the Christian band DC Talk. Although this book didn't focus solely on North Korea, it highlighted stories of persecution taking place throughout the world.
I began to read more materials from Voice of the Martyrs and other groups raising awareness about religious persecution around the world, and North Korea was at the top of everyone's watch list. So my general prayer burden for the persecuted believers around the world grew more specific, and I began to focus my prayer energies on the nation of North Korea.
I wanted to be an author even before I learned how to read, so I don't think anyone who knew me was surprised when I announced I was going to be writing a Christian fiction novel set in North Korea. What did surprise me was how intensely the research that went into writing my first book, The Beloved Daughter, would change my life.
I consider myself fairly scholarly. I usually enjoy learning new things. But the stories that came out of North Korea were so atrocious it took all my mental energy to keep from shutting my eyes (literally and figuratively). It would have been easier for me to ignore what was going on, but God had grown that passion in my heart, and I couldn't look away.
There was no going back.
I had one goal when I wrote The Beloved Daughter. It wasn't to win any literary awards. (The Beloved Daughter has gone on to win five.) It wasn't to hit any bestseller lists, make x number of dollars, or sell x number of copies.
When I wrote The Beloved Daughter, I wanted to raise a prayer covering for the nation of North Korea. I'm one of those believers brash enough to insist that our prayers can truly change history. I also had grown to hope -- and dare I say believe -- that one day the nation of North Korea will open its doors to the gospel. The Beloved Daughter was my (at the time) amateur attempt to inspire people to pray for the hastening of that day.
I've gone on to write many other novels since then, several set in the North Korean universe introduced in The Beloved Daughter, but I've also written several prayer books in hopes of encouraging readers to deeper levels of prayer. I've since started putting many of those ebooks into email sequences where subscribers receive a daily email with different prayer points for different issues.
30 Days of Prayer for North Korea is my most recent prayer sequence. If you'd like to learn more about the so-called Hermit Kingdom or want to add your prayers to mine to speed the day when North Koreans can worship God in perfect freedom, I'd love to have you join me.
All you have to do is sign up right here and let your prayer adventure begin immediately!