You don’t mess with authoritarian regimes. They tend to look with disfavor on certain kinds of behavior, and punishment can be swift and brutal.
North Korea’s government is a perfect example of a modern-day government of this type. They are very reclusive, and only come out of their lair when they want something.
Because of their closed nature, North Korea doesn’t look kindly on foreigners sneaking into their country, for whatever reason. Since last year four Americans have been arrested by their government. The latest, an English as a foreign language teacher named Aijalon Mahli Gomes, may have gone to seek the welfare of a fellow American named Robert Park who was detained around Christmas 2009.
The two share more than their nationality, however. Park is a Christian, and Gomes is described as a particularly devout one. Friends, acquaintances and colleagues have nothing bad to say about him. In fact, they have a lot of good things to say,
His Korean boss says, “All the memories we have about Gomes, who is an African-American, are only good. Everyone here liked him. I remember him as a very mellow and calm person. He was very kind to everybody and all the children liked him so much. If he wants to return to this school, he would always be welcome. It’s hard to find a native English teacher as good as Gomes,” Cho said.
Others describe Gomes as an avid evangelist and church goer. He is also said to be active in serving the community.
Gomes has been sentences to eight years in jail. From all the evidence, it can be inferred that Gomes will conduct himself well in captivity.
A good role model for someone in Gomes’ position is Joseph. He was taken sold as a slave in Egypt, falsely accused of adultery, thrown in a dungeon and spent years there.
However, Joseph was a man who followed God with all his heart, and the Lord protected him. God had his own purposes in mind for Joseph’s seemingly horrible plight (Psalm 105:15-22).
Joseph kept his testimony for God. He was good at his job. Joseph also refused the advances of a wayward housewife. He sought to help his companions in suffering. He hung in there until he became the leader of all Egypt, doing God’s will before and after his jail time. The story of Joseph can be found in Genesis 39-50.
Jesus has some words for Christians in bad situations who aren’t as dedicated as Joseph and Mr. Gomes: stay in love with Me (Revelation 2:3-5;) ; don’t be afraid and be faithful even if you lose your life (Revelation 2:10); hang in there and be victorious in your situation, and wait for Me (Revelation 2:24-26); stay alert and listen to Me (Revelation 3:2,3); be on fire, i.e, zealous for Me (Revelation 3:15-19).
Mr. Gomes seems to have the character to be another Joseph. He has prepared himself to withstand the kind of trial he is encountering now. Let’s pray he can do so,and let’s follow His example of godly behavior.