For the first five decades of his life, Seung-Whan (Steven) Kim was a businessman who pursued financial prosperity, while largely ignoring both his family and his commitment to God. But after moving to China and rededicating his life to Christ, this South Korean-turned-American citizen felt called by God to help North Korean refugees escape from Chinese enslavement. In 2003, he was arrested while leading a prayer meeting of nine North Koreans in his apartment. Kim would spend the next four years in a Chinese labor camp. Despite great hardship and suffering, he immersed himself in the Scriptures and led fellow inmates to Christ; including both his prison guard and a hardened murderer. Since his release, Kim has been a powerful advocate for North Korean refugees in China, raising awareness about their plight and fighting for their human rights. Kim's story is thrilling, heart-breaking, and victorious. His life reminds us that God can use anyone in any circumstance to achieve great things for His kingdom! You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)
Carl Herzig, PhD, has authored and/or edited numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, is a fellow of the National Writing Project and a reviewer for several literary and creative journals, and has directed two university curriculum and assessment programs. He leads student service-learning trips to India and has served as an Iowa Humanities Scholar and evaluator for the Hearst Foundation U.S. Senate Youth Program, the Iowa Humanities Board, and the Illinois Council for the Humanities. He is currently professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where he teaches courses in sacred poetry, contemporary fiction, and creative and expository writing.
Today, Steven Kim's home in Huntington, New York, is a stark contrast to the prison cells he shared with dozens of felons. He now runs 318 Partners, a U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to rescuing trafficked women in China. It's named after Article 318 of the Chinese criminal code, the law under which Kim was arrested in September 2003 for trying to help nine North Korean refugees escape to South Korea through Vietnam.