“After 46 years of constant hardship living in North Korea, I made my way to China. There I met a fellow Korean and heard from him about God. He gave me a Bible, which I began to read. My curiosity was immediately aroused when I saw this book since it is nowhere to be found where I lived in North Korea. I had never seen anyone who had a Bible nor heard any biblical reference in my entire life up to then.
“When I returned to North Korea, I hid my Bible and began to read when no one was around. Then, I was caught having the Bible and sent to a concentration camp without any trial. As I was brought into the concentration camp, the camp officers were briefed about my offense. They began to interrogate me: how did I obtain my Bible? Who gave it to me and how much of it had I read? After many weeks of intensive interrogation, they placed me in a tiny room in which one person could just barely fit. I could not stretch my legs. There was no light and I could hardly breathe because of the terrible stench of the latrine adjacent to the room. I kept wondered why was I suffering like this and why I was under such persecution. Other than having and reading my Bible, I thought I cannot have done anything to give offense. I felt sure that it was not God who was mad at me. Under continual interrogation in these conditions, my body lost all its fat and I was reduced to just skin and bones. Because of this severe malnutrition and loss of muscle tissue, I lost all control of my bowel movements. Worse yet, the prison camp officers and guards simply did not treat me as a human being.
“One day, in pain I was singing unconsciously, 'For God so loves the world, He gave His Only Son, whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life'. Instantly and surprisingly, I began to feel peace in my heart and my sorrows began to melt away. I was now able to bear my otherwise unbearable hardship and suffering as I felt the terrible pain of my sins that Jesus suffered on the Cross.
“After 15 years in the prison camp, I was released. I returned to the world that I used to inhabit. But, my family no longer existed. I was no longer accepted in my home town as everybody there now looked down on me. I had no choice but to leave town. Where should I go? The only thing I could do was flee to China to seek work. Of course once I got there I found that there were few jobs available to illegal North Koreans. Then, God sent a missionary from Korea to meet me. I began to study the Bible with him. He fed me and looked after me while I was studying.
“One day in 2016, I heard a voice, 'Go to all nations. Make them my disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the end of the age.' Then, I found that very passage in Scripture. I said to myself ‘Go to all nations? Including North Korea?' My head began to spin. On that same day, the missionary asked me whether or not I wanted to be baptized. Then, as I was being baptized, I called out, 'You are truly my Lord.' But I did not know where my words came from.
“Then my intensive Bible study began. As I studied, I saw this Scripture, 'Believe in Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved’ Without knowing the reason, I teared up and began to confess, 'Yes, yes, I will follow. And I will make it known to others who You are.' Then, I heard a loud voice, 'You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart' I was stunned. After a while, I heard, 'Declare His majesty and praise Him who called you out of darkness into His light.' Then, I paged through my Bible to confirm what I heard. At last I realized that I am called to serve Him.
“It is a like a dream that a sinner like me could become a servant of the Lord. I am not worthy to speak about of the love of God and about His Word. It is only by the grace of God who made me that I have come to honor and serve Him. Then I said to myself, 'It must be the Holy Spirit.' Therefore, I am going back to North Korea to bring those lost souls to Jesus. I am going back to live in North Korea although it is not the best place for me to return to after many years in China. I am returning to North Korea with a heart thankful for those who have taught me, prayed for me, and supported me that I praise only His name in that barren land.”
Please pray for this brother who is still alive and sharing the Gospel in the most difficult nation in which to do so. He took his Bible with him when he returned to North Korea. So far, we have heard nothing more from him.
Isaac and Peter