Direct contact requested.
Billie Jo Youmans
114 Broad Street
Richburg, SC 29729
Article accepted and published on AssistNews.
Title: A Writer's Response to Evil
Word Count: 1109 words
Side Bar (Action Items): 199 words
C. Hope Flinchbaugh is an author of books and articles on international religious persecution. Unlike the majority of Americans on September 11, 2001, she was familiar with the name Osama Bin Laden. It was a name closely associated with the specter of evil lurking behind the suffering of Christians and religious minorities in Pakistan, Iran, and Indonesia. For over a decade, she had borne the frustrating burden of pouring out her heart burdens to the complacent western world. Despite terrorism being the norm in much of Asia and the Middle East, the West slept through her articles and the news reports of others revealing the darkness of terrorism. It took Jihad attacks on American soil to annihilate the west's slumbering illusions of personal security. American hearts awakened with the throbbing pain of seeing devastating carnage in familiar places. With that pain, a window into the heart of God opened. Such a tearing of the heart mirrors God's response to the damage of sin; and indeed, God created us to feel and to act.
The work of Hope Flinchbaugh, Christian author and publisher, is her reaction to the heartbreak of people wrecked by sin. The woes of the world have led Hope to wave her arm to God saying "Here I am, send me!" Despite her aspirations to be a missionary, Hope consistently feels God's restraining hand and says, "He repeatedly shows me my place is here. He has called me to write." Hope recognizes the power and privilege of using words. She rejoices in her calling to write and tell of those who penetrate the darkness of evil with heroic rescues. This past year she launched her own publishing company to invite other authors to join her in telling the stories of today's history makers!
Every day around the world, the darkness of evil brings suffering and death to real people. Starvation, beatings and imprisonment accompany despotic, prideful rulers, religious extremists, and ungodly governments. The volume and sterility of news reports tend to numb our hearts. We lose sight of God's passion for each individual and His sovereignty in the darkest, deadliest happenings. God-called writers restore our vision of God.
People ask Hope all the time why she writes novels and nonfiction articles about religious persecution and the One Child Policy in China. Hope always answers that it started in the late 90's when she saw a documentary by British Broadcasting Company on the plight of the orphans of China. Video footage showcased what became known as "The Dying Rooms of China:" adults left tiny-orphaned children, mostly girls, on the concrete floor of a room to starve to death simply for being a girl or for being born second. As Hope watched the BBC documentary, she was pregnant and her other two preschoolers played at her feet. Instantly she realized she would not have three children had she been born a daughter of China.
She whispered at the television screen, "Somebody needs to do something about this."
She heard God whisper back, "Why don't you do something about this?"
She heard and she responded with two novels, Daughter of China and Across the China Sky. Both books bring the reality of the persecuted church into the hearts of readers and reveal a surprising pathway to hope and joy. Eyes are opened to both the shocking struggles of Chinese Christians the inspiring faith with which they meet those struggles.
In August of 2001, Charisma magazine sent Hope on a journalistic assignment to Mozambique. The trip was a wanna-be missionary's dream come true: miraculous answers to prayer abounded. The blind received sight; the deaf heard loved ones voices; demon-captive souls were freed. The joy and blessing of being part of such exciting work for the Lord thrilled Hope. God's purposes, though, extended far beyond the African coastline. Hope tripped into His plans through a casual dinner conversation by the Indian Ocean. "Have you considered what is happening in North Korea?" asked her missionary host. That simple inquiry launched Hope on a journey that forced her to look into the famine and torture of the most oppressive darkness in the world today.
As she began to consider North Korea, God led Hope in His inimitable ways. He orchestrated meetings with amazing people who shared His burden for North Koreans and gave Hope glimpses of what the Light of the World looks like in deep darkness. Hope's third novel, I'll Cross the River, chronicles much of her discoveries during that time. This true-to-life novel depicts nearly unfathomable human tragedy occurring in North Korea today. Moreover, it unveils profound human courage and the heart of God toward such suffering. The miraculous interventions and the human valor of modern-day Underground Railroad workers will inspire you.
As Hope listened to North Korean rescue workers, she heard of an amazing rescue story, already well known in Asia, which she longed to share with her readers in the West. The successful escape of fourteen-year-old Gil Su and many members of his family from the dark terrors of North Korea captured her. Gil Su's story in pictures became another doorway for Hope to communicate God's heart, once again, through her writing.
Her most recent book, Out of North Korea, presents Gil Su's story though his own pencil and crayon colorings of the horrors he faced while he lived in and escaped from North Korea. Beyond that, the book portrays human courage in the face of incomprehensible suffering; the divine intervention of a God who cares; and the sacrificial, dangerous work of the people who risk their lives to help others in this modern underground railroad.
Answering the call of God and bearing the burdens of God is not without heartache. Hope has had to realize that the human heart cannot bear the same weight as the heart of God. God's willingness and desire to work in and through people who love Him and even through those who do not even know Him thrills her. Hope concedes that there have been times she "was sucked under with compassion fatigue.' "Those are the times you simply need to step back and soak in the Father's love," Hope advises. Her earthly father paved the way for Hope to understand such love. His passion for people and for God planted the seeds that bear fruit in Hope's work. From earliest days, Hope's parents taught her that God created a good world to bless people, but that the sin, which entered the Garden of Eden, continues to corrupt and hurt people today. Good God, Bad Devil, Sin Hurts is the mantra Hope often uses to summarize the foundation of her writing and her life.
Sidebar of Action Items
If Hope has inspired your heart and touched you with the plight of the North Koreans, there are things you can do:
Pray to the unchanging God. Lift up the Cross of Christ and march forward in warfare prayer with a goal of rescuing the lost. Pray with others and with passion for knowing more of Christ; unite your heart in prayer with those in desperate need. Feel their pain and act!
Buy a copy Out of North Korea. A portion of the proceeds of each book will go to help those seeking to escape North Korea. Hope has personal knowledge of over 200 individuals in hiding as they seek freedom from North Korea. She has pledged a portion of each book to helping those people.
Participate in Free North Korea's "Letters from America" email campaign (www.nkfreedom.org). Free North Korea Radio will translate messages from America on its broadcasts. Let the North Korean people know we care and so does God.
Become educated on such issues. Be a voice for those silenced by evil. Listen for the heart of God. If you have a rescue story to share, submit a proposal to Hope's publishing house, History Maker Publishing (www.historymakerpublishing.com).
Billie Jo has been married to her husband, Craig, for 20 years, and they have two teenage children, Rusty and Riesa. Homemaking, including homeschooling, has been her primary ministry for the past 13 years. Visit her blog at www.ramblingsfrombilliejo.blogspot.com
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