WASHINGTON (BP)–Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, now has a base from which to work in North Korea.
A lease for an apartment in the capital city of Pyongyang was negotiated by Paul Montacute, BWAid director, and Sandor Szenczy, president of Hungarian Baptist Aid, during a Sept. 8-11 visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The apartment will be used as a base for staff to live in the country and to coordinate the distribution of relief supplies along with other BWAid work.
The lease followed the successful distribution of medicine, medical supplies, children’s clothing and school supplies earlier this year by Hungarian Baptist Aid worker Bela Szilagyi, his wife Lila and Baptist Missionary Society volunteers Gwyn and Gill Jones from England.
“It was clear the medicines delivered earlier this year are already greatly depleted,” said Liz Russell, BMS world mission secretary for Asia, who joined in the BWAid North Korean visit along with Szilagyi. “The children’s hospital was almost devoid of medicines and the larger provincial hospital had only marginally more remaining in its storage facilities. It seems that the Baptist aid is at present the only source of medicines to these two hospitals.”
During their visit, the four BWAid visitors assisted at an orphanage at feeding time. “It was good to see that the baby outfits delivered earlier in the year were being worn by the children,” Montacute reported.
“It was a joy to visit the town of Sariwon and see the goods that we had sent being put to such good use,” Montacute also noted. “We now need to continue this relationship and we will be supplying more medicines and equipment to assist the central hospital, the children’s hospital and the orphanage.”
Three or four additional containers are currently on their way to Pyongyang and the Szilagyis anticipate moving to Pyongyang in early November to furnish and set up the apartment. Denton Lotz, BWA general secretary, Alistair Brown, BMS world mission general director, American Baptist Churches missions executive Ben Chan, Montacute, Szenczy and Russell will then visit later in November to assist with the distribution and coordinate future plans.
BWAid has been working with a number of different agencies to acquire donated goods but still needs funds for shipping and distribution of the goods and for the expenses of the staff and the apartment in Pyongyang. Donations designated for North Korea can be sent to Baptist World Aid, 405 N. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046. Inquiries may be directed by phone to (703) 790-8980; e-mail, [email protected]; or fax, (703) 790-5719.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net.
Photo titles: ALL EYES, A TENDER MOMENT and NORTH KOREA LEASE.