Chinese Pastor Preached To Over 1,000 People In North Korea Before Being Executed

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“Pastor Han gave his life, but he gave hope to me and to many other North Koreans,” Sang-chul said. “And despite the ever-present danger, many of us will continue to share the message that God is real.”

Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol
Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol Killed for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ

Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, a pastor who ministered on the China-North Korea border and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ to over 1,000 North Koreans, was found guilty for doing charitable work based on his Christian faith.

Death penalty was the verdict given to this man whose only crime was to feed and shelter thousands of North Koreans over the years, and to preach Jesus Christ unto them.

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Since 2003, the pastor was on the most wanted list in Pyongyang for sharing the gospel. He shared his Christian faith with more than 1,000 North Koreans before he was assassinated in 2016.

He preached everyone around him with his great personality and passion for God´s work. He helped every person he could with clothing, food, and words of hope before sending them back to North Korea for them to help and preach the gospel to their families as well.

After planting a church near the North Korea border in 1993, Han helped orphans, women enslaved to prostitution, soldiers, those starving from famine, and many others.

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A North Korean´s testimony

Han fed and sheltered thousands of North Koreans over the years — many of whom had fled the famine-stricken country in search of food and jobs. One of them, Sang-chul, shared his story in a short documentary from The Voice of the Martyrs, as a way to encourage believers around the world to participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday, Nov. 3.

“In primary school, we were taught that all missionaries were terrorists,” Sang-chul says in the video through a translator. “They told us that a missionary will be nice to you at first, but when they get you into their homes, then they will kill you and eat your liver.”

The North Korean said he didn’t have work or food in his village, so like others, he snuck across the mountain border into China. Along the way, he picked mushrooms in hopes of selling them in a market.

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“I don’t speak Chinese at all, but in the mountains, I met a man. He said, ‘I can sell those for you.’ And he didn’t cheat me. He gave me all the money from the sale and at that time, I didn’t know he was Pastor Han,” Sang-chul recalled.

“Over the next two years I went back several times,” he continued. “Each time, Pastor Han helped me. One day, I asked why he’d do this, for he himself was in great danger for assisting a North Korean.”

“It is because I am a Christian,” Han said.

And then one day Han told him: “God is real. There is hope for every person.” But Sang-chul wondered why anyone would say “Hananim,” the word for God.

“I could not believe he would say that word, ‘God.’ Nobody says that word,” Sang-chul said. “We know that it is an act of treason. To speak the name of God can lead to soldiers coming in the night.”

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There would be no trial over such a crime, he said, and “no one will ever dare ask where you have gone.”

Soon, Sang-chul became convinced Christianity was true and asked the pastor for a Bible. At first, Han was hesitant, not wanting to put his friend in harm’s way.

“But over time, I persuaded him,” Sang-chul said. “I showed the Bible to my wife. At first, she refused to even look at it … she knew that if anyone reported that you had even glanced at a Bible, you would be arrested, and not just you. You and all your relatives sent to the concentration camps for years and years.”

But over time, Sang-chul’s wife also embraced Christianity and found hope: “It was very dangerous for me to share,” he said.

One day, in the summer of 2016, Sang-chul heard that some North Koreans were being honored for their work of killing a Christian “terrorist” missionary.

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“We knew it was Pastor Han,” he said. “Who else could it be? We were frightened. Did they know he was my friend? Did they know I had met with him many times?”

“Pastor Han gave his life, but he gave hope to me and to many other North Koreans,” Sang-chul said. “And despite the ever-present danger, many of us will continue to share the message that God is real.”

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The North Korean Christian concludes: “We hope that our sacrifice, when the day comes, will be worthwhile, just like it was for Pastor Han.”

North Korea is the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. According to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, North Korea has topped the list as the worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, a position it has maintained for 18 years.

1 COMMENT

  1. Rest in Peace, Pastor Han. Yours was a noble fight for Christ who chose that you end that way like most of His own apostles.
    We believe you now rest in the chest of Abraham.

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