North Korean Christian Martyr: ‘Even If I Die, I Do Not Have Any Regrets’

January 18, 2020

Persecution of Christians in North Korea: North Korea is arguably the most dangerous place on earth for Christians. The U.S. State Department has placed North Korea on its list of countries that violate religious freedom every year since 2001.

Christians in North Korea are called upon to have the faith and perseverance of the saints and martyrs. There is at least one Orthodox parish in North Korea, the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Pyongyang, but its present situation is unclear. Please continue to beseech Almighty God for peace and security for the Orthodox Christians and all Christians of North Korea.

For more coverage of the persecution of Christians in North Korea, see here.

“North Korean Christian Martyr: ‘Even If I Die, I Do Not Have Any Regrets,’” by Tony Perkins, Daily Signal, January 17, 2020:

Her name isn’t Hae Woo, but—like a lot of traumatized North Koreans—she doesn’t want to take any chances.

“I’m a believer,” she says, “because of my husband, because of the things he told me and my children about Jesus. ‘You cannot see Him,’ he would say, ‘but He is alive and working.’”

That became harder to believe when he was taken from them, locked away in a prison where he would die.

“The torture he went through was so gruesome that it is unimaginable,” she says. Every single day, the guard would come and punish him for his faith, “with blood,” she explains quietly, “everywhere.”

But “even in the midst of these horrible tortures, he had compassion for those who did not know about Jesus Christ,” Hae Woo remembers. “He went into the prison walking, but after all the torture, he was dragged loose on the ground … . Although his body was all torn apart, he handed the last pieces of rotten corn that he had to his prison mates. He spread the Gospel to the inmates.

“He prayed for the sick, [and] as he continued the good work, God built an underground church in the prison through my husband.”

One of the last times her children saw him, she thinks back, “he wanted to pass on his faith, but there were guards everywhere. So, he did something simple and profound. He wrote three words on his hand: ‘Believe in Jesus.’”

Not long after, he was killed by prison guards for giving that same advice to others. “Even if I die,” he had told her, “I do not have any regrets.”

Today, a lifetime after Hae Woo was hauled into prison to experience the horrors for herself, very little has changed. “Every year,” David Curry of Open Doors USA on “Washington Watch” told me, “I keep hoping that we’ll have some signs that [the persecution of Christians] is receding. But all of the driving forces … that are oppressing the expression of faith—all of these things are still in place.”

In North Korea, which is once again at the top of their 2020 World Watch List, nightmares like Hae Woo’s aren’t rare.

The Christian community is significant there, he explains, but they’re “deeply underground.”

“There are many Christians,” he explains, but “they’re facing every kind of pressure you can imagine.”

Tens of thousands of Christians are in labor camps—a nightmarish place that Hae Woo describes like Nazi-era holdovers. “Each person received one handful of rotten corn, [and] there was nothing else to eat. We got something watery. It wasn’t even a soup. We got those as food for the whole year. Nothing else. People are obligated to work more than cows or animals.”…

“Every year,” Curry wanted people to know, “there are silver linings. Faith is growing deeper in these places where people are being persecuted for serving Jesus. Communities are getting smaller but stronger. And I think it’s causing people to [reflect] on the cost to faith.”

When I asked him what people can do, miles away from the stories like Hae Woo’s, Curry’s answer was simple. “We need everybody praying. I would love to see people pray daily—even, at a minimum, weekly—for the persecuted church….