North Korea is one of the most oppressive countries toward Christians in the world. Unfortunately, Christians do not have the freedom to practice their faith or even talk about it openly with some of their family members. Schools are places of indoctrination, where children are taught to worship the Kim family. Many Christians practice their faith in silence because if they are found guilty of not submitting to the Kim family’s mandate, the whole family is tortured and imprisoned.
Those attempting to escape try to do so through China, where they often face execution, imprisonment, or deportation. The ones who are deported back to North Korea are sent to concentration camps to be tortured and executed. Defectors who have been able to escape say that when someone is deported back to North Korea, their experiences are much worse and death is a guarantee.
There are a few organizations helping defectors from North Korea. One of them is Justice for North Korea (JFNK) which helps defectors get to South Korea through China. The organization runs three shelters in South Korea for when the defectors arrive to their new homes. They usually rescue 30 defectors each year since it takes time to plan the logistics and it can be a very slow process. Additionally, it usually takes defectors a minimum of five years to settle since they are adjusting to a new culture and economic system.
In 2016, International Christian Concern (ICC) partnered with JFNK to provide assistance with some of their expenses to rescue Christians in the country. Recently, the organization helped Sam, a 17-year-old boy and former soldier in North Korea, escape from the country. The young boy had been in the army for a month, but had already heard about South Korea and the freedoms it offered for its citizens. He had many questions and doubts about the regime in North Korea, so he decided to flee through China in his pursuit of that freedom.
He has been able to cross all the way to Thailand, where he is currently under investigation by the police and Bangkok Immigration Detention Center. Sam expressed to the Thai police that he wanted to get to South Korea. Therefore, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea visited and interviewed him and Sam is now in the process of entering South Korea. He is expected to arrive in South Korea by the end of this month.
Paul, the representative of JFNK, is very excited about Sam’s arrival and hopes to meet him very soon. “We will then celebrate his arrival in the Republic of Korea and talk about his future plans. Above all, we pray that he can understand and confirm the Gospel and settle well in the faith”
Paul is also very thankful that his organization is able to help defectors at any stage of their lives, especially those who are seeking a brighter future. He expresses his gratitude in joining forces with ICC. “Thanks to God who helped rescue this one boy with the help of ICC”
Once again, God shows his mercy by helping victims like Sam through the support of our donors, who have a heart for the persecuted and are constantly advocating for them.
Please pray for Sam as he continues to travel to South Korea and will be experiencing many changes. Ask God to give Sam discernment as he will be in a new culture and with new opportunities. Remember to also pray for the Christians who are still oppressed in North Korea, that God can comfort them and continue to inspire them.