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The Bulletproof Missionary


How a young orphan boy survived the Korean war and became a renowned American Professor

This is a story of war and redemption, of hunger and destruction, the kindness of an Army Chaplain during the Korean War. It is the story of an orphan scratching for food on garbage heaps, to becoming a renowned professor at Concordia University in southern California. Professor Shang Ik Moon was born in North Korea and lived there through WW II. After the war, his father arranged a clandestine escape, deep in the night, through many dangers, to reach South Korea. It was not long after that the Korean War began. He lost, or thought he lost, his whole family. A young teenager, with nothing, an Army chaplain pulled him from hunger and homelessness to be a translator, even though he had to teach the Korean boy English. Shang Ik was baptized and confirmed by the chaplain, and the chaplain gave him a vision for going to America to prepare to return to Korea as a missionary. That was not to happen. What did happen was more incredible. The love of God plucked a boy in a brutal corner of the world and redeemed him for a life of loving service.

Prof Shan Ik Moon was a child in North Korea during WWII. After a dangerous escape to South Korea the Korean War began. Escaping from Seio, he was caught between advancing Chinese soldiers from the north and South Korean and American armies approaching from the south. Finding food on garbage dumps he was befriended by a US Army chaplain who mentored him in the Christian faith, and helped him to come to the United States to be educated. Moon retired as the provost of Concordia University, having been a favorite teacher to thousands of students and a catalyst for more than sixty Korean churches to develop in the area in and around Los Angeles.

what people are saying...

This book was so exciting from beginning to end. It was hard to put down. It is truly amazing how this boy survived so much turmoil and grew to be such a worker for God. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking an incredible adventure and living through a boy with such determination. Uplifting and encouraging. A true testimony that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Phil. 4:13


What a riveting telling of Dr Moon’s story. Amidst the suffering, God’s hand on his life was evident in the many miracles he experienced even though he did not yet recognize them as coming from God. I was inspired and moved by Shang Ik’s story and my faith was greatly encouraged. I recommend this book highly.

Melissa Salomon

This book was very well written and held my attention so much that I kept reading just to see what would happen next. A story of survival under extreme circumstances. God’s provision and protection in action throughout his journey.


I knew this book was about a man who grew up in North Korea, snuck into South Korea while still a child, and then became a Christian professor, despite a non-Christian background. I knew it was about war and near escapes. With that in mind, I waited to read this book for a while, bracing myself in case the book was overly intense for my state of mind. No need! Great book! Highly recommend!

This book is a very readable, relatable, humane account about an inspirational man and God’s surprising provision and protection. Did I cry? Yes. Was there violence and loss? Absolutely. But I’ll have my teens read this book when they learn about the Korean War.

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