|The state of Colorado proclaimed July 17th “Durihana Day” after a human rights group. Bill Ritter, the governor of Colorado, did this at the North Korean Refugee Weekend that opened in Denver on the 17th.
“To welcome Pastor Chun of Durihana who came all the way to Denver to inform us of the latest news regarding North Korean refugees, I proclaim July 17th ‘Durihana Day.’”
Bill Ritter made this proclamation at the North Korean Refugee Weekend that opened in Denver from the 17th to the 20th.
Governor Ritter complemented Durihana Church, which was started by Pastor Chun in 1999, for helping nearly eight hundred defectors find their way to the United States, the Republic of Korea, and elsewhere.
Governor Ritter particularly emphasized that Durihana helped refugees on the long and dangerous journey to freedom, and in commemoration, proclaimed the 17th as “Durihana Day.”
It is uncommon for an American governor to directly encourage a North Korean refugee aid group and proclaim a day after such a group.
Democratic governor Bill Ritter is known to be close friends with President Obama, who accepted the Democratic candidacy for president in Denver.
On the show “The Sound of America,” which aired on the 22nd, Pastor Chun held up the proclamation and said, “Durihana receives this unexpected gift as a great honor.”
Pastor Chun thinks National Geographic’s report in February on Durihana had a great impact on the governor’s proclamation.
“The person who invited us said he contacted Durihana after reading the National Geographic. Probably the most decisive factor was our appearance on the National Geographic.”
In the February edition, National Geographic had an extensive cover story about North Korean refugees’ long journey towards freedom and the help Durihana gave along the way. Also, in the same month, the American broadcast station PBS aired a documentary across the entire nation regarding North Korean refugees.
The Christian citizens of Denver decided to hold an event to aid the North Korean refugees after reading the article and they invited Pastor Chun. He said he was moved by the amount of interest the people showed.
“I asked them why they were so interested in North Korean refugees. They replied it was because it was God’s will and that they had to be active and interested.”
The various churches of Denver discussed about Pastor Chun giving lectures and showing recent video clips of the North Korean refugees for the four days.
Pastor Chun said that the Christians of Colorado are currently giving legal and medical help to the refugees settled in the state.
Also, the regional broadcast station and the daily newspapers reported with great interest regarding the North Korean Refugee Weekend.
After seeing such positive reaction, Pastor Chun said he plans on holding music shows, debate shows, and other such events next July 17th in Denver to help North Korean refugees.
VOA Kim Young Kwon 07/23/2009
|August 3, 2009
P.O. Box 3451
McLean, VA 22301
RE: North Korean Refugee Weekend. Denver, CO 2009
Hello Durihana Family,
Durihana held its first North Korean Refugee Weekend meeting in Denver, Colorado this year. Everything went well, and we received better than expected results. Our venue was large enough to house all of our Durihana members in one location so as to share the experience of all our mission work.
We had many blessings during this meeting, and among them was a proclamation from the Governor of the great State of Colorado: Governor William “Bill” Ritter.
Thank you Governor Ritter for your deep consideration for our Organization. We are honored to receive your letter of proclamation, and promise we will do our best to fulfill our mission. The award to our Organization will provide enormous encouragement to our missionaries and donors.
Thank you to all of our Denver Durihana Family with special acknowledgment to:
Mr. Mark Willoughby for creating the overall outline for this event, and coordinating meetings with the Lutheran Family Service, and the Christian Television Show.
Many thanks to Sandy Willoughby for providing food, and warm cozy lodging for Pastor Chun and Kate Lee for the entirety of this event.
To Pastor Steve for making the flyers, coordinating the Friday meeting, and making the arrangements for the Sunday Service meeting. To Joan.....The Willoughby’s neighbor for coordinating the meeting with the Christian Television Show for Durihana,
Cindi Newark Noah who arranged meetings with the Lutheran Family Service Staff, and Foster Care Parents at the Church.
To our valuable guests: At the Friday Meeting we had our brother and sister in God; Wess, Soon JA. We were happy to meet you in our Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for joining our meeting and showing interest in our North Korean mission work.
The Redeemer Church for the warm welcome, open hearts, and open ears toward the North Korean Mission.
The success of North Korean Refugee Weekend in Denver, Colorado in 2009 has raised expectation of having a second event in 2010. At the 2010 North Korean Weekend in Denver we plan to have more detailed meetings, and an extended variety of events. Many of our South Korean Board Members and North Korean Refugees are already planning to attend North Korean Refugee Weekend in Denver, Colorado in 2010.
Again, thank you Durihana Family for our Denver meeting in 2009. God bless you and your family.
Peace in Him