Canadian Couple Charged With Spying Were Working as MissionariesPosted: 08/7/2014 10:35 am
Kevin and Julia Ann Garratt were operating a coffee house in Dandong, Liaoning when they were detained by Chinese authorities on Tuesday. While the Chinese media have been very quiet on the story, western media have revealed Kevin Garratt was involved with training missionaries that were sent to nearby North Korea.
Kevin Garratt performed a sermon that was later put on the website for the Terra Nova Church, reports Reuters. In the recording, Garratt could be heard addressing a South Korean-Canadian church saying:
All these people could’ve stayed in China, where it’s easier, where they could eat three meals a day, but they chose to go back – everyone of them. And 99 percent of the people we meet go back to North Korea, because they have to preach the gospel in North Korea – they have to. Because God’s compelled them to go.
While religious groups operate in China in the form of underground churches and Bible study groups, they are tolerated by authorities. However, religion is outright banned in North Korea where proselytizing is severely punished.
And yet, Garratt seemed to accept the risks involved. In his address last year, he said:
North Korea, as you know, is very oppressive, it’s very challenging, they desperately need hope and we get this very special privilege of working with some of these incredible people in North Korea.
As reported in the Globe and Mail, it may make sense for the Chinese government to close down cafes if missionaries were “a big annoyance of a good friend of yours and it wasn’t that big of a deal to you,” one source said.
Photo: Globe and Mail