Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim was finally released from a North Korean labor camp after serving two years of a life sentence.
Lim was providing humanitarian aid and visited North Korea 110 times supervising orphanages, homes for seniors, noodle and tofu factories as well as farming and educational programs.
He has no idea why he was arrested in 2015, charged with defaming Kim John-un, which he denies, and was sentenced to the labor camps.
Overwhelming loneliness was the emotion he remembers most.
He ate all his meals in isolation. He had no idea when his ordeal would end.
But he knew people were praying for him, and the feeling of loneliness and isolation eventually turned to peaceful solitude with God.
He was forced to dig holes in frozen ground.
His fingers and toes were frostbitten.
He was forced to break apart coal.
He was always watched by two guards.
He lost 50 pounds and was hospitalized four times.
Yet during his ordeal, he said he prayed without ceasing. And he rejoiced.
“As I labored, I did not have a day of gloom,” he said. “My moments of discouragement, resentment and grumbling turned into courage, joy and thanksgiving.”
Can we say the same in our trials?
He is a living witness to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Miraculously, his guards allowed him to keep two Bibles he received. He read the Korean Bible four times and the English Bible once, memorizing 700 verses.
He wrote five new hymns in Korean.
As Christians, we can all celebrate his return, and pray that God does a transitional work in the life of North Korea’s leaders.
How would you have reacted if falsely accused and imprisoned?
Watch this informative 3-minute video on the pastor returning a from North Korean prison.
What do you think? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org