North Korean Defector Mi Jin’s Journey to Catholicism
ICC Note: North Korean defector Mi Jin Kang, a reporter at the Daily NK, shares her story of how she became a Catholic after she escaped her motherland to make South Korea her new home. She encourages people to pray for North Korea and hopes to see the unification of the two Koreas.
02/17/2018 North Korea (Crux) – During her childhood in North Korea, Mi Jin Kang never believed in the existence of God, until one person began to spark her curiosity.
“From school education, I learned that religion is a drug,” Mi Jin told CNA, “However, I heard the story of God from a girl that I met in North Korea before my escape. This was the first step to belief.”
“Before escaping North Korea, the story of God was a curiosity and miraculous,” said Mi Jin who decided to escape North Korea in 2009, at the age of 40.
“When I escaped from North Korea, I prayed with my two hands,” remembered Mi Jin, “When my prayer to God at the moment of escape was answered, I decided to be a child of God.”
“It was especially this prayer to God at the moment of escaping from North Korea that led me to be a believer during the process of settling in South Korea.”
Though she did not share details of her escape, many North Korean defectors are helped to South Korea by a network supported by Chinese Christians.
In South Korea, an order of Korean religious sisters taught Mi Jin and other North Korean defectors about the Catholic faith. Mi Jin learned about Saint Therese the Little Flower from the sisters.
At her baptism, Mi Jin took a new Christian name, as is the custom for Korean Catholics. She became Teresa.
“I wanted to be like Saint Teresa, who lived a faithful life,” Mi Jin said.
When Pope Francis visited South Korea in 2014, Mi Jin was invited by the Korean bishops to see Francis face-to-face, in the front row of the beatification Mass for 124 Korean martyrs. She also attended the pope’s Mass in Seoul’s historic Myeongdong Cathedral.
“I got to experience the glory of a Mass close to the pope,” said Mi Jin.
Mi Jin now works as a journalist in South Korea at the Daily NK, helping others to understand what life is like inside the world’s most opaque country.