Please read American Imprisoned in North Korea Rooted in Christian Faith, by Erin Roach, at Baptist Press.
"The American citizen held in North Korea whose profile was raised by a televised outburst from Dennis Rodman is a devout Christian, according to a family-run website advocating for his release.
"Kenneth Bae, 44, of Lynnwood, Wash., has been sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp for a "crime against the state." He has been imprisoned for more than 14 months, longer than any American has been detained in North Korea.
" "Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian," the website, freekennow.com, states. "He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism."
"Bae was arrested in November 2012 as he was leading a tour group in one of North Korea's special economic zones for foreign investors.
"As the website advocating for his freedom explains, Bae started a tour company based in China in 2006 and regularly led groups to North Korea, "a remote country filled with stunning vistas and a people proud of their history and tradition."
" "His livelihood," the website states, "was to introduce the natural beauty of the country and its people to the outside world as a tour operator. His heart was to be a personal touch-point of compassionate humanity to the North Korean people."
"In comments to Baptist Press Jan. 14, Bae's sister Terri Chung said a friend who had gone on one of Bae's tours described him as "an ambassador of peace and light in the world."
" "That captures what Kenneth was trying to do in North Korea," Chung told BP. "He had the biggest heart for the people and the nation of North Korea, and he wanted to show tourists from Europe, Canada and the United States a different side to the country than what we typically see in the western media in the hopes of bridging the cultural divide."
"When he was arrested, Bae was on at least his 15th such trip. CNN reported Jan. 13 that North Korea accused him of planning to bring down the government through religious activities.
"Earlier, CNN said the state-run Korean Central News Agency claimed Bae was setting up bases in China to topple the North Korean government, was encouraging North Korean citizens to bring down the government and was conducting a "malignant smear campaign."
"Some have speculated, CNN said, that the evidence North Korea cites against Bae may be something he was carrying with him when he was arrested, such as a Bible or other religious literature.
"Bae is married with three children. His son Jonathan has written a petition to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, President Obama and Congress, asking them to secure special amnesty for his father.
More than 150,000 people have signed the petition, which is accessible at change.org/FreeKenNow."