“Did you save my life or destroy it?”


A man walks into Whit’s End. He asks of Mr. Whittaker to speak to Mr. Whittaker, and Whit lets him know that he is already speaking to the man he requested to speak to. Within the first few seconds of the episode, the attention grabber line “Did you save my life or destroy it?” comes up. This launches us into the story of the man, Ji-Ho, who was a guard at a wall. This wall was at the border between two countries. Ji-Ho is supposed to guard the wall and the names of the people in the country sound like they could be Korean. [Text in italics was completely added while typing this up on WordPress, it was not written while I was listening to the episode. You’ll see me coming to the conclusion that the country must be North Korea throughout the “Story” section of the post] For example, their leader’s name is Kim Sung-Hoon which sounds an awful lot like Kim Jong-Un. This leads me to believe that it is a fictitious country based on North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (despite the name, the DPRK is a socialist country that would be more accurately described as a complete dictatorship).

And now, back to the stuff I wrote while listening to the episode: I’m interested to find out where this is. The soldier’s sister went to a new indoor waterpark that day. Their father comes and says that they raided “an enemy of the state”. The radio in the background sounds a lot like the North Korean propaganda music that plays on all the radios in North Korean homes. North Korea trivia fact: North Korean homes all have a radio installed in them. The radio cannot be turned off, only the volume can be changed. Only high-ranking officials like those living in the capital Pyongyang who are high up in the military (like Ji-Ho’s father) can turn their radios off. The radio in this episode appears to be a little bit different, however, and maybe it’s because they are a richer family. I understand that typical North Korean radios have only one station, the DPRK propaganda. As we’ll see later, Ji-Ho is able to adjust the frequency on his radio. This, therefore, is probably not one of the iconic radios that are attached to the walls of all North Korean homes but a “normal” radio.

Ji-Ho’s sister asks to switch the station. Ji-Ho switches the station and it turns out to be a Christian broadcast. His sister says they shouldn’t listen to the brainwashing from the enemies, and so he turns it off. However, when she leaves he turns it back on. It is mentioned that they have never been able to get through to this station before. His father later comes in and tells him that it is an illegal broadcast and not to listen to it. The only thing that doesn’t exactly fit with the country being North Korea is the water park. I know there are amusement parks that run when foreign media groups come through on state-led tours, but I didn’t know of a water park. Upon further research, there is a waterpark in North Korea. I’ll discuss more about that in a future post about the specific location that this episode takes place in. The country seems to be near Guam, which is more evidence that it is North Korea.

Ji-Ho’s father asks Ji-Ho to join his team in raiding the houses of enemies of the state and arresting the criminals known as enemies of the state. The “Supreme Leader” is mentioned, which definitely sounds like North Korea. Ji-Ho agrees to join the team and they raid an apartment. I predict that the boy will find a Bible. He does find a Bible, and is told to take it back with them so that they can burn it. They call it the enemy’s manual for their revolution. Ji-Ho wants to read their manual so that he can know better how to stop them, but he is told that that is a bad idea because they will be brainwashed by it if they try to read it. He goes back to the truck early so that he can have a chance to take a look through the book before the others arrive. Ji-Ho finds the same verse in Galatians that he heard on the radio.

On one of the raids, Ji-Ho finds his old friend who had been stationed with him guarding the wall in the apartment. He has to arrest Kwan. Ji-Ho finds out that the people they arrest are taken to reeducation camps after they are arrested, so he asks to be transferred to be a guard at the reeducation camp because he wants to find Kwan. His father gets him transferred. Finally, he finds Kwan in the courtyard one day. After that day on every Tuesday at 3:00 (PM, I suppose), which is free time in the courtyard for the prisoners, J-Ho gets teaching about Christianity for about 20 seconds from Kwan. If they talk for any longer, others will be suspicious. One week they are caught and Kwan is no longer allowed to come out in the courtyard on Tuesdays. Later, they happen to see each other again and Ji-Ho pulls Kwan into a closet where they can have some time to talk. Kwan tells Ji-Ho about a house church. Another guard comes up towards the closet from the outside and begins to open it. Kwan and Ji-Ho act like Ji-Ho just caught Kwan, a prisoner, in the closet. Ji-Ho beats Kwan. The other guard congratulates Ji-Ho on finding the mischievous prisoner. Part 1 ends soon after.

Thoughts — The country that Voice of Freedom takes place in is not made clear in Part 1; perhaps it is an intentionally fictitious state like Aljanistan or Rakistan. I am certainly excited to hear Part 2. I’ve also got another post planned about where exactly the episode takes place (time, city of home, reeducation camp location).

Ministry — I’ll talk more about Trans World Radio in my upcoming post, as I found some interesting information on their website,

Review — More about how I liked this episode to come when Part 2 releases. The Part 2 post, if I write one, is unrelated to the post about the location(s) in the episode.