| More on Tim Peters, founder of Helping Hands Korea
As excerpted from an article in The Korea
In 1972 Tim Peters walked out of a university tutorial on Shakespeare and made a decision that changed his life.
To the confusion of his professor who thought the tutorial went well, Tim never went back to study at Michigan State University. But Tim Peters wasn't an ordinary dropout - it was a "profound religious experience" that led him to dedicate his life to missionary work.
That calling brought him to Seoul where he is now the coordinator of an underground railroad that helps North Korean refugees escape. In China, the refugees live in constant fear of being repatriated to North Korea where they face internment in prison camps or even execution for trying to escape. A "strike hard campaign" by the Chinese authorities means that Peters' work has become more difficult, and those helping North Koreans risk being thrown into Chinese jails.
[In both North and South Korea] there are those that are hostile to his work, "I don't want to dwell on that," he said, explaining that if you are prominent and take a stand on a sensitive issue "you've got to expect it's not going to be peaches and cream."
For years as an underground activist Tim Peters was a voice in the wilderness, but now people are taking notice. Time magazine dubbed him a "Seoul Saver" and splashed his image across the cover of its Asia edition.
"I guess the days of me being underground are long gone," he joked. "It's out there, you can't put the worms back in the can!"
Like his apartment, he explained, he was half underground anyway, "But this takes visibility to a whole new level," Peters said.
While that exposure means that he has to be more careful in choosing his trips to China, he is glad that the plight of North Koreans is being "put on the radar."
Now his days are taken up giving interviews, writing speeches and raising the profile of his work.
[Excerpt of an article by Jane Cooper in The
Korea Herald, Missionary's calling not all 'peaches and cream']
For more on Helping Hands Korea