Rev. Kenneth Bae was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1985. In 2006, he moved to China where, in addition to his missionary work, he started a travel business that ran religious tours to North Korea.
In 2012, during a trip to North Korea, Bae was detained and sentenced to 15 years hard labor for attempting to overthrow the government. Bae served 735 days and became the longest held American detainee since the Korean War. He was released in 2014.
Rev. Bae is an ordained Southern Baptist pastor, the author of the book Not Forgotten and the founder and President of the Nehemiah Global Initiative, an international NGO focusing on the rehabilitation of North Korean refugees.