FEBC is in the midst of raising funds for a brand new station on an island off the coast of South Korea, which has the potential to bring the Gospel to 25 million North Koreans. Here’s an inspiring testimony from a North Korean listener who escaped from the country and shared how he came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Prison, Torture, and Escape from N. Korea
On October, 2016, I was finally ordained as a pastor, which still seems like a dream. As I was reading the pledge out loud, memories of my family and friends back in North Korea ran through my mind.
I was born in North Hamgyong Province of North Korea. I started attending kindergarten when I was 5 years old, and they taught me how to idolize General IISung Kim., now it would be Jung-Eun Kim. Dying for the general was everyone’s dream and a huge honor. So it was for me too.
From where I lived, we could see China across the river, and we all heard that people in China were rich and had plenty to eat. People in North Korea are starving to death. I remember a lady telling us that we were starving to death only because the general did not know about our poverty. If he knew then we would not die of starvation. What I wanted most was to eat until my stomach couldn’t take any more food. Hence I decided to escape from North Korea. Hunger was the only reason driving me to escape.
A friend of mine, who is very special to me, helped me cross the river to China. It was the same friend who helped me to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. In North Korea people are persecuted for believing in God and for spreading the Gospel. Hearing about people being killed for their faith was just an everyday story; not too special, and somewhat distant. However, one day, this reality became personal. My friend’s whole family died as martyrs for their faith. My friend was willing to risk his life and told me about Jesus. Although I knew that just hearing the Gospel would put me in danger, I could not stop believing in Christ. That was truly the grace of God.
After I made it to China, I was given a book written by Dr. Billy Kim, the chairman of FEBC-Korea, and I studied the Bible with it. I was able to find and attend an underground church and was baptized in a bath-tub the missionary had.
The process of escaping North Korea wasn’t easy. I had to cross the river to get to China. Because of circumstances, I had to cross the river 10 times. During this journey, I was thrown into jail and was tortured for believing in Christ. The North Korean guards at the border forced me to deny Jesus. In prison, I witnessed people falling into despair and hopelessness. I witnessed this hopelessness on the walls of the cell I was trapped in. The cell walls were full of graffiti – mostly of those were swearing. But one note that I found under the linoleum made my heart race fast. It said, “Believe in Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” That reminded me of who God is. This note strengthened my faith in Him.
In my most desperate times, I prayed and trusted the Lord. I can tell you here and now – Jesus Christ is a living God who answers prayers. He is worthy of us being faithful to him until death.
-Rev. HAN, Tae-Seong