File this one under Romans 8:28:
We received a letter from KCR, a North Korean defector in prison in South Korea. (There are many NK defectors in SK prisons, and they are rarely reached by churches.) We sent him one of our North Korean/South Korean Parallel Bibles, and he shared a long testimony about his burning desire to read the Bible when he was in North Korea. Below is an excerpt from his letter. Note especially the sections I put in bold:
I was brainwashed to devote my life to Kim Il-sung and was demanded to worship his family as idols. I could not imagine any other god or leader other than Kim Il-Sung because of the ideology education given to me by the North Korean government.
I, who was brought up in a Korean-style socialistic republic, was totally isolated from the world while I was brainwashed with the Juche Idea. A government policy to obliterate all religion in North Korean made me deny the existence of God.
Even though I was taught that foreign missionaries worked as secret agents to invade Korea, pretending to spread the gospel, I had several questions as to why these foreign missionaries really came. I doubted there was a giant called God. However, there was no way for me to be exposed to the fact that God exists. Indeed, North Korea is a closed society where it is impossible to obtain information on God.
Meanwhile, I watched a movie about Choe Deok-sin who defected with his wife to North Korea from their exile in the United States in 1986. I saw that he was praying, holding a Bible in his hand in the movie. I learned that the Bible is a book written about the word of God, and I started wishing to read the Bible, a forbidden book in North Korea.
At that moment, a peddler who brought a Bible by chance while he did his business in between China and North Korea was revealed to be in possession of a Bible and was shot to death. However, the tragic event further stimulated my curiosity about the Bible rather than reducing it.
As a man who is full cannot understand another man who is starving, I do not think other Christians around the world would anticipate that there are people who desperately desire to read the Bible once in their lifetime.
I read the Bible for the first time in my life on my eventful way to South Korea. When I was in the hospital in Beijing, a Chinese doctor gave me a Bible and I read Matthew for the first time. When I read the genealogy of Jesus, I traced back my own family tree in my mind and wondered who would be my first forefather. And the Ten Commandments gave me a shock. It closely resembled North Korea’s Ten Principles.
I pray for God to give us unification soon in order to rescue the poor North Koreans from the dictatorship government.
Pastor Tim is going to bring a stack of our North Korean/South Korean Parallel Bibles back to the US when he returns from Korea next week. Cost is $49.95 USD plus shipping. If you’d like to order one, you can do so on the Seoul USA Resource page or send Pastor Tim an email at [email protected]