And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
~ Acts 20:22-24 (NIV)
After Gyeong Ju Son, a young woman from North Korea, gave her moving testimony at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town in October 2010, the 4200 participants from over 190 countries, came away stunned—many moved to tears.
Born in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, this petite 18-year-old is the daughter of a former high-ranking government leader—an assistant of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il.
In 1998, when Gyeong Ju was at the tender age of six, her father suffered severe political persecution and the family was forced to flee to China. It was there that her parents came to know the amazing grace and love of God. After only a few months, her mother, pregnant with their second child, died of leukemia.
“It was in the midst of this family tragedy that my father joined a Bible study led by missionaries from South Korea and America, and after a time his strong desire was to become a missionary to North Korea,” she says.
In 2001 her father was reported and arrested by the Chinese police, to be sent back to North Korea, where he was sentenced to prison. Desperately crying out to God during this time, his three-year incarceration only served to strengthen his faith. After his release he returned to China and Gyeong Ju Son was reunited briefly with her father.
“Not long after he chose to return to North Korea—instead of enjoying a life of religious freedom in South Korea—to share Christ’s message of life and hope among the hopeless people of his homeland.”
In 2006 her father’s work was discovered by the North Korean government and once again he was imprisoned. Not having heard from her father again, she assumes he has been publicly executed on charges of treason and espionage. This is often the fate of confessing Christians in North Korea.
Left in China, Gyeong Ju Son was adopted for a while by the family of a young pastor, and it was their love, care, compassion and protection that made a deep impression on her. When they left for America she was given the opportunity to go to South Korea.
RESPONSE: Today I give thanks for brothers and sisters who serve Jesus at the cost of their own lives.
PRAYER: Pray today for those believers still living in North Korea and committed to evangelism.