Jang-mi was startled as the door to her cell swung open. Bruised, bloody, and soaked from her captives’ attempts to wake her with buckets of water, she was surprised to see her uncle walk through the door.
Jang-mi lives in the most oppressive country in the world for Christians — North Korea. We’ve changed her name for her own protection, but as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church approaches, it is important that stories like hers are shared.
Just two months earlier, Jang-mi was happily married and living in China. She had successfully escaped from North Korea and was living free from persecution and oppression. Shortly after arriving in a Chinese border town, Jang-mi met and fell in love with her husband, who also was from North Korea. Then, they both met and fell in love with Jesus. They were happy … but her husband’s heart was hurting.
He wanted to go back to North Korea and tell his family about his newfound faith. The Bible had introduced him to true freedom, and he wanted everyone to know about it.
“I’ll be back tomorrow,” Jang-mi’s husband told her.
She watched as he crossed the frozen river, headed back into North Korea. As snow swirled around him, she hoped his final words would be true. Surely, she would see him tomorrow.
But she didn’t.
A few days went by, then a week, then a month. Finally, Jang-mi knew she had to go after her husband. She knew that crossing the North Korean and Chinese border is dangerous, no matter what direction you are traveling. North Korean police are instructed to shoot on sight. Despite all this, she took the risk.
She tried to cross the river and was immediately captured by guards. She ended up in prison.
All day and all night, Jang-mi endured torture. The soldiers yelled at her, calling her — ironically — “Judas” for betraying North Korea and following Jesus.
Finally, Jang-mi was released, and her uncle brought her to her family home. There, he gave her a gift — her father’s old military hat.
“Your father wanted you to have this,” he said. “Look inside the hat.”
Jang-mi looked inside the cap and tugged on the interior flap. There, in the place where most soldiers wrote their names, was a little cross. Jang-mi was shocked.
“You mean my father was a believer in Jesus?” Jang-mi asked. “But how? Why did he never tell me?”
“Because he was trying to protect you and your family,” her uncle replied.
When a Christian is caught in North Korea, it is a death sentence. Whether you are discovered sharing the Gospel or holding a single page of God’s Word, you can be sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp. Few people in the camps survive more than a couple of years.
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Source: Christian Post