Karen Short, the wife of Australia missionary John Short, says there will be plenty of hugging going on when she joins her husband Tuesday in Beijing.
It's been three weeks since she last saw him. That's because the North Korean government arrested John Feb. 16 for leaving Christian tracts at a Buddhist temple in Pyongyang.
The 75-year-old missionary apparently apologized and asked for forgiveness, so the government decided to deport him and send him on his way to China.
I talked with Karen by phone Monday and she said she is surprised by her husband's atypical behavior.
Former North Korean prisoners who have defected say the government coerced them into writing statements of confession, or admissions of guilt for their alleged anti-state crimes.
I first met John Short many years ago, and though I think he would willingly apologize for offending someone, I doubt he would beg forgiveness or apologize for handing out Gospel literature or for trying to introduce someone to Christ. Even under great duress, he would never view those actions as criminal. It's not in his nature.
So what made the difference for Short's quick release?
Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. God's people responded and He answered. Karen said the prayers of people around the world brought her peace; she never feared for John or for their future.
She believes her husband's detention was God's will, and that He has used it to bring awareness about North Korea, to inspire and encourage people to pray for their brothers and sisters in Christ and for the North Korean government leadership.
So keep praying! John said he's exhausted. Your prayers and all those wifely hugs will make a big difference!
Watch my full interview with Karen Short to learn more about how prayer and emails encouraged her during John's ordeal.