Hello, my name is Grace Eunhae Yoon and I am from Seattle, Washington,
It is my honor to be here and I am very thankful
for this opportunity to introduce my father to you. I thank Life
Funds for North Korean
Refugees, its staffs, and Kato Hiroshi San for their support
and assistance in every possible way during this conference.
My father is Reverend Phillip J. Buck who is
currently detained in Yanji, China for assisting North Korean
Refugees. I am here
today to ask for your help so that he may be released from Chinese
My father has been serving as a pastor for
35 years and as a missionary for 14 years. His mission ministry
began in 1992 in
about Grace's father
He built several seminaries and churches in several cities in
Russia and began to expand his ministry to China and worked with
Korean Chinese evangelists in 1994. He then began his missionary
work to North Korea in 1997 when hundreds and thousands of North
Koreans were dying of starvation.
He started operating a noodle factory at Na Jin, Sun Bong Goon
and for one year, my father provided thousands of noodle bowls
to citizens everyday for free of charge. Later, he decided to
close down the factory because he came to realize that this was
not enough to help the North Koreans. So he returned to China
in 1998 and began helping North Korean refugees in China.
My father feels and believes very strongly about helping North
Koreans. He is compassionate toward North Korean refugees and
passionate toward his work in helping them. His desire to help
these people came from his huge humanitarian heart, a calling
of such importance to him that he sacrificed everything in his
life so that he could assist his people.
One of the reasons, why my father feels the way he does is because
my father himself is originally from North Korea. My father was
born in 1938 in Hwang Hae Nam Do, North Korea and has a special
affinity for the people of North Korea. He was separated from
his parents during the Korean War and had come to South Korea
with just three siblings.
Although he lived in South Korea since the time of the Korean
War, and in the United States since 1982, he never forgot his
homeland and the love he had for his parents and siblings. Sadly,
he never had a chance to meet with his parents for the rest of
When my father witnessed North Koreans dying of starvation and
refugees sacrificing everything to obtain assistance in China,
especially the younger children, it reminded him of himself as
a child, leaving his family and his homeland behind.
He could not ignore these desperate people so he gave everything
he had to help them. He even gave his own freedom for their sake
and is now imprisoned in the detention center. All he wanted
to do was to ease the burden and suffering of North Korean refugees.
One other reason why he was dedicated in helping North Koreans
was because he was in obedience to the Word of God. As God has
commanded to love your neighbors as you love yourself, my father
has loved refugees more than he loved himself.
He would often use the story of Esther and how she came before
the king, risking her life to save her people to persuade others
to be involved in this work of helping refugees. As a servant
of God, he was giving love to others because he, himself, was
loved by others.
So, during the next eight years, my father built several shelters
at Tsingtao, Chungjin, Beijing, Yanji, and Tuman for the North
Korean refugees and provided them with humanitarian assistance.
I remember how active and passionate my father was in this
For an example, he would carry multiple bags filled with hand
made crafts by North Korean refugees. Cross stitched pictures,
wooden crosses, huge wall hangings, and etc. One of smaller crafts
is a cross I brought with me to here. These crafts were made
by refugees as a means to earn income in China.
Since North Korean refugees are illegally living in China, it
is very hard for them to work to earn any money. Often times,
they were cheated and worked unbelievably long hours for such
a small wage. In spite of these harsh working conditions, they
always had to be careful and alert for Chinese police so that
they would not be arrested and repatriated back to North Korea.
To minimize the risk of arrest and cheating, my father would
give them the work of crafting materials and would pay them for
And what does he do with these materials? He would bring them
to the United States and South Korea and would sell them to churches
and individuals. He would then use the profit again to help refugees
These materials are very heavy but my father would carry several
bags of them and would walk a long distance to save taxi fares.
To save taxi fares, he would climb up and down the many stairs
in subway station to get a subway ride. There are so many stairs
that it is hard even for me. I begged my father to use a taxi
but was met with a same reply every time. That he has to save
even a dollar so he could use that dollar to help North Korean
My father is 68 years old and has many health problems. And
it was just so heartbreaking to see how much hardship he was
going through. My family and I insisted for his retirement on
this hard work and begged him to live with us in the United States
where he could have a comfortable life. But we were always met
with a same reply from our father. That somebody has to do this
work of helping North Korean refugees and he was that somebody.
He refused to have a comfortable life when North Korean refugees
were suffering and dying.
My father has helped so many desperate, hungry, and frightened
North Korean refugees. Through his works, many refugees were
able to obtain a renewed hope, physical strength, emotional stability
and much more. But unfortunately, my father was arrested on May
9, 2005, by the Chinese police and he is currently detained in
Yanji, China at a detention center. He is being investigated
for the crime of illegally transiting refugees out of China.
My family and my father desperately need your help. Please help
my father by working in any way you possibly can to persuade
the Chinese authorities to release him.
Because of his age and health condition, we are deeply concerned
that he would not be strong enough to endure the imprisonment
in China. We were just notified a week ago from our attorney
in Yanji that my father was hospitalized because he was unable
to move or even to sit from his bed due to his fragile physical
My mother was hospitalized for several days and just recently
was discharged because of the stress and worry she had for my
My father’s life is at risk because he sacrificed the
comforts of home and the company of his family to help many refugees
who had nowhere else to turn to for assistance. Now he needs
your help, help from NGOs, government officials, and individuals,
to persuade and to exert power on the Chinese authorities to
release my father.
Please help my father.
Please help him.