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“In the Beginning”

North Korea

One day Sung-Mi, a 12-year-old girl in North Korea, discovered something scary. It was a book secretly hidden deep in a drawer at her house.

She opened the book to the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters,” she read.

Sung-Mi was very upset. She had learned at school that there was no God in heaven. People who believed in such a God were often taken away by the police and never heard from again.

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“Prayer Just Slipped out of My Mouth”

North Korea
A North Korean Prison

Soon-Ja and her husband had four young children when her husband was dragged off to prison in North Korea. North Korean officials put people in prison for disagreeing with the government. Many Christians are in prison because the government does not want people to be Christians.

When Soon-Ja asked to visit her husband, officials threatened to punish her. “My life was full of suffering with my children,” Soon-Ja said.

Her children grew up and had children of their own, and their suffering continued. Soon-Ja decided to escape from North Korea with her grandson by crossing a river on the border.

Crossing the River
Like most people in North Korea, Soon-Ja was taught that there is no God in heaven. The Bible tells us that God has made us with a longing in our hearts to be close to Him. (See Acts 17:26–27 and Ecclesiastes 3:11.) When Soon-Ja was in danger, she felt like praying, even though she did not know God.

“The river was very deep and the way to cross is very rough,” she said. “Prayer just slipped out of my mouth. Then a rubber tube floated down the river. Actually smugglers use rubber tubes when they smuggle stuff. But it was a bad day for smugglers because it was raining. However I caught a rubber tube when I prayed for God’s help. I and my grandson crossed the river leaning on the tube.”

Soon-Ja had many more adventures and challenges after she escaped from North Korea. Since she left, she has learned about God and Jesus, and she has trusted Jesus as her Savior. Soon-Ja would like to share her faith with other North Koreans, trusting God to care for her as He did when she crossed the river.


North Korean Leaders

North Korea
Statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il

Kim Il Sung, a former leader of North Korea, died 20 years ago on July 8, 1994. After his death, his body was put on display in a glass case. Citizens visit the display to honor the dead leader.

Kim’s son, Kim Jong Il, became the country’s leader after his father died. When Kim Jong Il died, his body was also put on display. Now Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il’s son, rules the country.

The Kims have been cruel leaders who have imprisoned many people, including Christians. The government wants the people to honor them as gods. They tell their people that other countries are terrible places to live but that North Korea is a good country. They have convinced some citizens that they have been good rulers.

But many other North Koreans escape their country to live in better places. Some become Christians after they leave North Korea. The new Christians sometimes risk their lives to return to their homeland and tell others the good news of Jesus.


A Hidden Child Escapes

North Korea
Boys in North Korea

A young married couple in North Korea, Mee and Yong, were expecting a baby boy. But then Yong, the husband, was arrested as a “political prisoner.” (A political prisoner is someone who is arrested for disagreeing with people in power, and speaking out about it.) North Korean officials arrest people who they think do not agree with them, including many Christians.

Yong was put in prison, and officials told Mee that she must not have the baby. They did not want a child born to someone who disagreed with them. Mee gave birth to her baby, Min, in secret.

Hiding
Friends and some family members were scared that the baby would cause them trouble with the government. North Korea officials often punish entire families if one person in the family breaks strict North Korean rules. Mee feared that the friends and relatives might harm Min, and she cried often.

Mee found a kind grandmother in a nearby village to take care of the baby. She gave the grandmother food and milk and asked her to keep Min hidden inside.

But Min got very sick. Mee had to take him to the hospital. When the hospital workers found out that Min was the son of a prisoner, they kicked him out.

Mee and Min moved to another village where they lived safely for a while. But one day they watched a DVD from South Korea in their home. The government does not allow North Koreans to watch movies from other countries. The leaders want to control what the citizens see and hear.

Somehow officials found out about the DVD. Perhaps a neighbor noticed the DVD through a window and reported Mee. The authorities came to search Mee and Min’s house. When they searched the house, they found out that Min was Yong’s son. Min and Mee were in danger of going to prison, too.

At great risk, they escaped from North Korea to another country. In their new land, they learned about Jesus and His love for them. Now they believe that their troubles were part of God’s plan for them. “God chose and called my family and saved me from death,” said Mee. “I glorify the name of Jesus.”

To Talk About

  • What do you suppose the North Korea government doesn’t want people to learn about life in other countries?
  • How did Min and Mee’s problems lead to something good?
  • Can you think of a situation in your life or someone else’s in which something bad brought about something good?
  • Pray for those in North Koreans prisons who are separated from their families.

To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.


More About North Korean Youth

North Korea
A North Korean youth looks at a map of North and South Korea

The North Korean government is very rough to any citizen who is discovered to be a Christian. Some Christians in North Korea leave the country to places like China or South Korea. VOM contacts talked with Christian youth who escape from North Korea and are now living in South Korea:

Question: What is school like in North Korea?

Answer: School is very stressful because there are always assignments to submit. Sometimes an assignment is to catch a rabbit to give to the government, or to collect animal droppings for fertilizer.

When you are a child, it is stressful because these things are hard to find. If you don’t find them, you can’t be promoted in school.

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