DALLAS—A layman told Texas Baptist Men leaders their prayers opened doors that enabled him to document the delivery of 180 tons of soybeans to orphanages, schools and hospitals in North Korea.
“I knew I couldn’t go without being covered in prayer,” said Paul Hinton, a layman from Church Project, a Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated congregation in The Woodlands.
Hinton described his journey to the TBM board of directors at their Feb. 22-23 meeting in Dallas.
Hinton verified the delivery of 7,200 50-lb. bags of soybeans—120 tons provided through TBM and 60 tons provided by the Korean-American Sharing Movement of Dallas—for children and hospital patients in North Korea.
He visited 12 of the 18 orphanages, schools, hospitals and other sites that received the soybeans donated by Christians in Texas, including First Baptist Church in Midland.
Hinton initially became involved in efforts to provide food for North Koreans several years ago when he met Yoo Yoon, a Dallas-area Korean-American Baptist minister.
Since 1996, Yoon has traveled to North Korea more than 30 times to supervise delivery of food, medical supplies and other resources provided by TBM and other donors.
During his April 2018 trip, Yoon learned he was one of only three Korean-Americans to receive validation to enter North Korea since the U.S. State Department implemented a travel restriction.
‘Why are you here?’
Defying the odds, Hinton received the necessary permission to make the trip to North Korea in December. However, since Yoon already had traveled to North Korea earlier in the year, he was not allowed to return eight months later.
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“If you want to improve your prayer life, accept a trip to North Korea by yourself,” Hinton said.
Throughout his journey, Hinton noted, several North Koreans he encountered offered the same stunned observation and raised the same question: “You are a Caucasian American. It’s not possible for you to be in North Korea. Why are you here?”
Hinton said he consistently told those who asked, “I’m here to love on people who are in need through no fault of their own.”
He saw firsthand the positive impact the soy milk and food products made from soybeans have made on children in North Korea. He also noted North Koreans in the schools, orphanages and hospitals recognize TBM as the source of the much-needed provision.
“They understand that somebody they don’t even know cares about them. That’s powerful,” Hinton said.
During the board meeting, the TBM board also learned about other missions projects and ministry opportunities around the world:
Drill water wells and teach health and hygiene in Ugandan refugee camps. About 1.4 million people—mostly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—fill the refugee camps in Uganda.
Up to 5,000 people are dependent on water wells rated to provide for 500 people, said Dee Dee Wint, vice president of TBM’s water ministry. An exploratory group will travel to Uganda in early March at the request of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and Amigos Internacionales, she reported.
Provide washable feminine hygiene pads for women in Kenya. TBM’s water ministry has an ongoing relationship with Mogra Children’s Centre, a children’s home and school that serves vulnerable children and youth from Nairobi’s Mathare slums. Wint noted many young women were homebound several days each month due to their lack of feminine hygiene products.
So, the TBM Camp Builders’ wives sewing ministry committed to provide reusable pads for at least 50 young women and adolescent girls. In three months, the group worked about 1,500 hours to provide 770 pads—enough to supply 77 women with 10 pads each.
Train Israeli emergency personnel in mass feeding. Last year, TBM entered a two-year partnership with the Emergency Volunteer Project in Israel. Last August, TBM volunteers received training from the Emergency Volunteer Project and the Israeli Defense Force’s Home Front Command to support first responders in Israel after a manmade or natural disaster.
In April, a TBM team will journey to Israel to teach disaster relief workers there how to assemble and use a field kitchen to provide hot meals for large numbers of people.
In other reports, the TBM board learned:
- Disaster relief volunteers provided more than 98,800 volunteer hours last year. They prepared more than 77,000 meals, logged nearly 2,000 heavy equipment hours and completed more than 630 chainsaw jobs. Through their efforts, volunteer chaplains reported more than 100 people made professions of faith in Christ.
- Royal Ambassador and Challenger camps drew about 3,000 campers last summer and recorded 295 commitments to Christ.
- The water ministry drilled 16 wells last year that serve 5,000 people, distributed 396 water purification filters capable of serving 2,480 people, trained 683 people in health and hygiene, and taught 118 people how to make soap—both for their own use and as micro-enterprise.