Published on June 5th, 2019
Park Chin-Mae took pride in his job as a border guard for the North Korea military. He arrested anyone he caught trying to sneak out of North Korea, or attempting to smuggle forbidden goods into the country.
But Chin-Mae had a secret. He was guilty of the same crimes for which he arrested others! He smuggled illegal goods into North Korea and sold them to make money.
Then another guard discovered his secret and reported him to the authorities. Chin-Mae went to jail for 60 days. When he got out, he returned to his job — and to smuggling. One day, Chin-Mae discovered six Bibles in a box that a woman smuggled into the country. He was filled with fear. Bibles are forbidden in North Korea, and Chin-Mae had never seen one before. Border guards are not allowed to even open a Bible if they find one. The government wants citizens to put their faith in the country’s rulers, not God. Chin-Mae permitted the Bibles to enter the country, knowing he could be killed if he was caught for allowing them past the border.
A New Life
Like many North Koreans, Chin-Mae wanted to escape the conditions in North Korea, where many people are hungry and citizens have few freedoms. After years of working as a border guard, he knew exactly how to cross the border without getting caught.
Chin-Mae settled in South Korea, and a Christian in his new country told him about God. He began to visit a church, where he volunteered to set out Bibles before the worship service. As he put the Bibles on the empty chairs, he realized that he was holding the book that would have gotten him killed in North Korea.
He began to read the Bible, and in time, he placed his faith in Jesus. “I didn’t just read it like any other book,” Chin-Mae said. “I read it and took every word of the Bible into my heart.”
Chin-Mae is receiving help from The Voice of the Martyrs as he starts his new life in South Korea. He asks people to pray for North Korea and for him as he adjusts to a new way of life with new hope in Jesus.
(Source: The June 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness.)