A North Korean defector put her life on the line to go back home to tell her Christian family that she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. And although she was arrested and imprisoned, she was able to escape.
In an interview published by World Watch Monitor, a North Korean woman, who is in her 40s and now living with her family in South Korea, detailed her life experiences, having fled to China after she graduated from high school, being kidnapped and sold as property to a Chinese farmer and being imprisoned in a North Korean labor camp.
The woman, referred to by the pseudonym Myoung-Hee, explained how she discovered over 40 years ago that her family was living secret lives as Christians. As North Korea ranks consistently as the top persecutor of Christians, Myoung-Hee learned the hard way that her family practiced Christianity.
She detailed the night her father cried and wept after her uncle had been executed for his faith along with 10 other Christians. Although the other members of her family were practicing Christians, she came to the assumption that it was her uncle's faith that caused his death and was turned off from the religion.
Instead of reading the Bible, Myoung-Hee decided to focus on school and read many books that were translated from Russian, which gave her the desire to seek life outside of North Korea.
After finishing high school, she decided to defect on her own. She said that she went to the Chinese border, swam across the river and kept walking until she saw a village.
"I was caught by human traffickers and sold to a Chinese farmer. He wasn't as bad as most Chinese men who buy North Korean women," she explained. "I had a child with him, but I could never feel at home in his family."
Myoung-Hee believed that her Chinese mother-in-law always acted in a suspicious manner because she frequently left without explaining where she was going. Little did Myoung-Hee know until she trailed her mother-in-law one night that she was actually sneaking off to Christian worship gatherings.
"It was a Christian meeting, which made me uncomfortable because I had always been against Christianity. But my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to stay," she said. "I actually found myself wanting to learn more about God."
Myoung-Hee later accepted Christ and became a Christian just like her own family back home. Her desire to return home to worship with her family grew so strong that she persuaded her family in China to allow her to go back to North Korea to see her family at the risk of getting caught, imprisoned, killed or tortured.
Even though Myoung-Hee didn't get caught when she initially defected from North Korea, she was arrested on her return voyage and was sent to prison.
After the authorities figured out who she was and where she was from, they sent her to a camp closer to her hometown, which was less secure than the prison she was in before.
It was her Christian faith that allowed her to maintain hope while in prison that she will one day rejoin her family. She recalled that she had to lean on certain Bible verses that she had memorized, particularly a passage from Psalm 62.
The opportunity to escape presented itself one night when the prison guards got drunk and forgot to lock the doors. She snuck out the door and kept running.
"I didn't stop running until I saw a sign pointing to my home," she explained.
"It was the most joyous experience ever. We were so happy to see each other," she said of reuniting with her family. "For the first time we worshiped God together as a family. I also attended small gatherings of other Christian families."
After reuniting with her family in North Korea, Myoung-Hee felt the call to evangelize her husband and son back in China. Although she was well aware that she could get caught again, she proclaimed to World Watch Monitor that "nothing could extinguish my passion for Christ."
"My husband and son had to hear the Gospel too," she asserted.
On her return trip to China, she said that she was blessed by aid she received from people along the way and arrived without being kidnapped or arrested. She was able to minister to her husband and son, who have also become Christians.
"There are so many Christian parents in North Korea who cannot share their faith with their children. It breaks my heart," she said. "I was once a victim of this too. But thanks to other people's prayers I found God in the end."