I was typing away on my laptop about eight years ago when a message from a colleague popped up on my chat screen.
“Have you seen this yet?”
I clicked on the accompanying link, which took me to a video of a young North Korean woman speaking at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization — an event that had drawn the attention of Christians around the world. The once-in-a-generation global missions conference was taking place that week in Cape Town, South Africa, and many thousands were attending in person and watching from afar to hear stories of God at work among the nations. (Biola was hosting a simulcast on campus, and President Barry Corey had traveled to attend the event in person.)
With the young woman’s image on my screen, I put in my earbuds and hit play. Seven minutes later, my face was a mess of tears.
In the hours and days that followed, tens of thousands of people — perhaps including you — had a similar experience, as this high school student’s gripping testimony spread across social media, blogs and news sites, quickly becoming Lausanne’s standout moment. Sarah Chang, as she is known today, had touched the world with a soul-stirring account of her family’s persecution in North Korea, of her father’s desire to spread the gospel even at the cost of his own life, of Jesus meeting her dramatically in the midst of her grief, and of her desperate longing to see the light of God’s grace and mercy shine down on North Korea. It remains one of the most impactful and memorable speeches I have ever heard. All these years later, having watched the video several times since then, it still makes my eyes swell with emotion.
In this issue’s main feature article, we’re excited to be able share what has unfolded in the time since that memorable speech: an unlikely journey that led to Sarah becoming Biola University’s first North Korean graduate just a few months ago. It’s a remarkable story — one for which she credits the faithfulness of God.
“My story is, everything is about God,” she told our video and storytelling team. “You can’t explain it without God. That’s why I think my story has touched a lot of people’s hearts.”
I encourage you to visit our website at magazine.biola.edu, where we’ll include links to both the original Lausanne speech and a new feature produced by our video team. As you do, I hope that you’ll not only be blessed by her inspiring story, but also be stirred to pray for her and the many thousands of other Biola graduates — seen and unseen — seeking to share and live out the good news of Jesus all around the world.