North Korea is one of the most repressive regimes in the world against Christians. Their stories tell of two North Koreans who fled the country to avoid death.
For security reasons, we will hide their faces and call them Che-Eun and sung Min. They North Korean defectors. Che Eun is the only survivor of a family of five brothers and sisters. Her father was sent to a labor camp in North Korea when she was two years old. Since then not heard about it. During the great famine in the mid-nineties her only brother died from malnutrition. And his mother died on the road, trying to find food to bring to her starving family.
“When my mother died, we didn’t have the strength to bury her. My older sister went to China to earn a living for the family. One day she sent us money to buy rice, but then I never heard from her. I found out later that she was sold into slavery. My older sister was smuggling, was caught and sent to a labor camp, where she died,” says Che Eun.
In desperation, Che Eun decided to escape from North Korea.
“One night in December 1999 I entered the river Amnok river and swam to the Chinese border, she says. The water was freezing and the currents are very strong, but I was determined to survive. Arrived in China, I decided to sell one person to live in a big city. But then ran away from him because he mistreated me”.
It was then in China Th Eun has joined a group Bible study. She remembered the woman he met before the shoot. She talked to her about God.
“She told me that God is alive and He’s with me because He is the Father of orphans and Protector of widows. I heard about God in North Korea, but I also knew that believers thrown into prison. I managed to call my one and only remaining in North Korea, sister, and I told her about Jesus Christ and that God will help her in difficult times. She accepted Christ as my Savior. However, the authorities learned that we communicate, and therefore took your sister to a labor camp. Since then I have heard about it,” says Che Eun.
Che Eun married a North Korean, whom he met in Church, and eventually they moved to South Korea. Unlike Che Eun, who lived in poverty, sun Min was a wealthy College graduate in North Korea. But he says that he was disappointed in his country and decided to flee.
“I knew that the representatives of the Kim regime lived in luxury while many people starved, says sung Min. In January 2007, I crossed the Tumen river and went to China. However, the South Korean family that I met there, did not accept me because I was not a part of their family. The guards told me to go to Church where I will be able to help, but I refused because I was an atheist. I hid in one apartment in China and was thinking to commit suicide. In June 2007, one Chinese man, whom I met during the crossing, was brought to me by some preacher. He said he understands my difficulties, but Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. Hearing this, I felt a heaviness in the heart. For the first time in my life I experienced such a feeling. I thought I was a jerk, but it turned out that Jesus died on the cross to give me eternal life! I cried, knelt down and prayed with him.”
North Korean defectors continue to hope that one day they will be able to move to the other side to reunite with their loved ones. Song Min believes that has already passed the 60,000 North Koreans, but half of them decided to return to North Korea.
“They came back to serve their families. About 30 000 of them are underground churches in North Korea,” he says.
Today Th Eun and sung Min are in South Korea, Christian radio broadcast, which the North Koreans are turning to Christ. This program also contributes to the unity between North and South Koreans, preparing them for reunification.
“I believe that God has a plan for us and the reunification of Korea will happen when and as He pleases. Our program is dedicated to the search for understanding and recovery of the overall identity of the residents of the two Koreas,” continues the sun Min.
“Although my life was full of hardship, God chose me as His child. It was He who brought me here. Therefore, I will praise His name and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the end of life,” says Che Eun.