Reverend Timothy A. Peters

Who Is He?


Rev. Tim A. Peters

Reverend Timothy A. Peters is a humanitarian Christian missionary living in Seoul, South Korea who leads the organization “Helping Hands Korea.” His ambition, and also that of his organization, is to lead the revolution for improved human rights in North Korea. In doing so, he has directed Helping Hands Korea in helping many people escape from the oppressive North Korean government and its regulations. His commitment and dedication resulted in the United States accepting the first North Korean refugees in 2005.

Learn more about why Tim Peters is so dedicated to his cause. Watch this CNN documentary titled "Undercover in the Secret State" featuring Rev. Timothy A. Peters as a guest speaker.


His Calling

Reverend Timothy A. Peters is an Evangelical Christian pastor and missionary currently living in Seoul, South Korea. He was born and raised in Benton Harbor, Michigan and attended Michigan State University until he dropped out in 1972 after watching a Shakespeare tutorial, which led to a “profound religious experience.” This eventually led him to become a missionary, and in 1975, he travelled to Korea.

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Map of East Asia

His Work in South Korea

Soon after arriving at South Korea, he opposed the military dictatorship and was kicked out of Seoul because he was passing out pamphlets that defied its government. However, he came back when it became a democratic and peaceful nation.

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His Shift to North Korea

On returning to South Korea in the late 1980s, he has said, “and for a time I wondered why the Lord had brought me back to this place.” “One night it just dawned on me, I wasn’t here this time for South Korea, I was here for the North, to try to do the Lord’s work and help people there. It couldn’t have been any clearer.” When North Korea was struck by famine, he established the Ton-A-Month Club to help provide food to the people. He founded the organization Helping Hands Korea in 1990, which initially focused on South Korea, until Peters became aware of the lack of human rights in North Korea. To learn more about Helping Hands, click here. Ever since, he has gained global recognition for his humanitarian efforts in North Korea. He has helped countless refugees and families escape the oppressive government of North Korea to find a better life elsewhere. His work with North Korean refugees can be seen as similar to Harriet Tubman's work with American slaves on the Underground Railroad. Besides working in Korea, he has also been a missionary and human rights activist in Japan, China, South America, and the Samoan Islands for more than 35 years.

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Peters has often attempted to influence the United States government to become more actively involved in protecting the North Korean refugees. He has given three testimonies to the United States Congress. In 2005, he was featured in the CNN documentary, “Undercover in the Secret State” and won the Stephen’s Prize in 2008 from the Norwegian NGO “Norwegian Mission to the East.” He was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2007 in a Wall Street Journal article. He has been mentioned in numerous media publications including ABC, the New York Times, BBC, and the International Herald Tribune.

Tim Peters: TIME Seoul Saver

Reverend Tim Peters appears on an edition of TIME.

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Personal Life

Tim Peters-Casual

Ever since his marriage to his South Korean wife, Sun mi, they have had five children and four grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys going on walks with his wife, reading, and playing golf. He has a fascination for Korean culture, particularly its ancient history.

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Interesting Facts
Reverend Tim A. Peters

Why Is He Important?

Dedicated, motivated, and hardworking, Reverend Timothy A. Peters has helped countless North Koreans gain the personal freedoms that they were denied in North Korea. Having helped many refugees repatriate, he has played an immense part in improving the lives of those once living in the bleakest and most isolated of societies. His mission has inspired others to join his efforts and direct the fight for human rights in North Korea.

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