Empower North Koreans

Empower North Koreans

From Andrew Hong

I am raising funds to support ENoK, a nonprofit organization that supports North Korean refugees with housing, food, and educational services, while attempting my first-ever Ironman Triathlon!

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Update #4

9 days ago

D-1

This is it. Preparation 100% complete.
Cannot thank the six friends that have driven hours and hours to come support me.
I will have the "Empower North Koreans" Campaign open for another month in case anyone has missed it!

#D-Day

More Info

Dear family and friends,

Seven years ago, I completed the Chicago Triathlon, through which I did the first-ever fundraiser to support North Korean refugees living in the United States.  I raised around $2,000, which was donated to a North Korean refugee living in the East Coast. He used the money to purchase a car, which allowed him to start work.  

Since that time, ENoK (Empower North Koreans) has filed its Articles of Incorporation and received the 501(C)3 nonprofit status from the IRS.  It has raised about $300K throughout the past seven years to provide shelter, food, various educational services, and other needs to dozens of North Korean refugees that have come to knock on its door.  Through this experience, I've personally met friends whom I've come to consider my second family.  I've even had the pleasure and honor of acting as the MC of a wedding of a North Korean refugee couple who met and began dating during their stay at ENoK’s Empower House.  I got involved in this work following a spiritual experience, and while this calling continues to be my primary motivation, I've been incredibly blessed with personal growth and the fellowship I've had with North Korean refugees ever since I embarked on this journey.

For some of those receiving this message, the story of North Korean refugees may be unfamiliar.  They escape from North Korea in search of food, better life, and freedom.  First, they must cross the narrow river that separates North Korea and China.  Then, they must somehow make their way down to Southeast Asia on some kind of transport.   Finally, away from danger, they're able to walk into the UN refugee camp located in Thailand.  

Next month, exactly on Sunday, October 14th, 2018, I'm attempting my first-ever Ironman Triathlon in Louisville, Kentucky.  Swimming across the Ohio River, biking through the hills of Kentucky, and running to the finish line are meant to honor the perilous journeys that all of my North Korean refugee brothers and sisters have had to endure.

At the same time, I'd like to use this opportunity to raise funds again (just like I did seven years ago) to support North Korean refugees.  Particularly, ENoK plans to purchase its own facility for Empower House so that it no longer has to pay rent and incur expenses that'll never be reaped back in the future.  Since it has been seven years since my Olympic-distance triathlon, I'd like to set seven times the amount raised seven years ago--i.e. $14,000--as the fundraising target.  All donations will be deductible for income tax purposes.

Also, as of now, I'm expected to drive down to Louisville, spend a couple of nights alone, and race the whole Sunday all by myself.  So I'd like to invite any of those free that weekend to come enjoy the festivities around the event as well as what the city of Louisville has to offer along with me!  I'll match the travel and lodging expenses anyone incurs and donate that amount to ENoK personally!

With much love and thanks,

Andrew

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Andrew Hong posted a new update:
9 days ago

Update #5

D-1

This is it. Preparation 100% complete.
Cannot thank the six friends that have driven hours and hours to come support me.
I will have the "Empower North Koreans" Campaign open for another month in case anyone has missed it!

#D-Day

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Andrew Hong posted a new update:
10 days ago

Update #4

D-2

I'm safely (and finally) here! These gear bags are now all packed and ready to be checked in tomorrow.

Many thanks and much love to everyone who has helped the "Empower North Koreans" campaign reach halfway its target.

#1399

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Andrew Hong posted a new update:
11 days ago

Update #2

D-3!

Download the Ironman Tracker App, and you can track me during the race this Sunday! My bib number is 1399!

#1399

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Andrew Hong posted a new update:
12 days ago

Update #1

D-4!!!
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to "Empower North Koreans"!
I am happy to let you know that I won't be alone in Louisville this weekend. Four of my wonderful friends will be there to make sure I come back safely. So no worries. ;)
All major workouts are already under my belt. I just finished my last pool workout today. I will be doing my last "brick" workout (bike and then, run) tomorrow--a very short one. Rest Friday, test swim in the course on Saturday, and then, the race!!

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