Behold one cup of rice. During the dark famine days, and in certain portions of North Korea today, in certain people groups and ages, this is the rationed amount for an entire day. Eight ounces. Eight or nine hundred calories. Every day. Until you die by starvation.
The international minimum standard for calories per day is said to be two to three times that much . North Korea sets the standard at 1,600 calories per day, about 450 grams, less than two cups per day. Some people in Korea actually are given that much. In fact Party faithful are given up to 900 grams, twice the standard set by the Kim government. Some receive as little as 300. Perhaps less.
That's one topic. The amount of food the government expects one to live on. The other topic is, even with the low NK standard, will North Korea have enough food to meet its goals? If the state is now giving, as I have read elsewhere, 550 grams per day to its adults and 300 to children and elderly,that's 15 million persons times 550, and 7 million persons times 300. Therefore, 12,000 + tons of grain per day, or nearly 4 million tons per year.
Can North Korea produce 4 million tons per year? It hasn't always. During the famine years of the 90's it was about half that much. No one is daring to say that the situation has improved dramatically, only mildly. Free markets have popped up here and there but if the rice isn't there to sell, the proper economy means nothing.
And don't forget the recent floods. And don't forget how donated foods are still misdirected to feed the government's loyal ones. There is still so much to do. In fairness, there are projects scattered over the country attempting to right the problem. But so far no one has come up with a workable solution.
No, we're not out of the rice fields yet.
On the way home tonight, the car in front of me on the freeway suddenly veered to the center lane and almost crashed into a truck. Then a hard right and off went that same car went onto the shoulder and beyond, finally turning on its side and sending up a stream of smoke. I was shaken. I pulled over, got out of my car, and since I do not carry a cell phone, I began madly waving my arms to try to get people to stop and/or call 911. Many did, both. And creative Americans found the way to get the needy victim taken care of. They smashed a window. Pulled the man out, as it was obvious he was not only conscious -though bleeding- but quite aware of what was happening and willing to cooperate. He'll be fine now.
Perhaps I philosophize too much, but it occurred to me as I climbed back in my little car, shaking but thankful, that there are some of us, due to age, due to lacking skills, etc. whose only job is to wave our arms and hope that God will send help. Maybe there's some creative prayer warrior, some gifted financier, some talented economist, who will get on over to North Korea and start doing what needs to be done. Surely most of us don't have things on our agenda that are more important? I mean, I wanted to get home tonight after a day at work. But this man who was possibly dying in a car...
Anybody out there? These articles are not written to make people cry and sigh, but to motivate them to action. Chosun is in serious trouble. Dying as a nation. Almost totally without Christ. Doomed therefore forever. Hidden from the light and the truth found in Jesus Christ alone. There's got to be something you can do. Will you pull over and help a vehicle spinning out of control?
http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together!
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.