North Korean Christian Defector First Heard About God from Her Torturer

ICC Note: Mission Network News shares the story of a North Korean woman who crossed the border into China to find food for her starving family. When she was arrested upon her return, her interrogator pressed her with questions about whether she had learned about God in China. Though she had no knowledge of God, the Lord used those questions to plant a curiosity that would lead her to Christ.

02/22/2018 North Korea (Mission Network News) – Kyung-ja’s* first experience hearing about God in North Korea wasn’t from a missionary or radio broadcast or pamphlet — but from her torturer.

The North Korean guard continued to beat Kyung-ja with a club even as she faded in and out of consciousness. She had snuck into China to try and earn money for food to bring back to her starving family in North Korea. But when Kyung-ja returned to North Korea, she was arrested.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs USA shares, “Her interrogator kept asking her about God. ‘Did people in China talk to you about God? Did you meet with people who are followers of God? Did you read the book about God while you were in China?’

“Kyung-ja had had no contact with Christians even while she was in China. In fact, she had never heard the name of God and she kept telling the interrogator, ‘I don’t know who that is! I don’t know who you’re talking about!’”

From there, Kyung-ja was transferred to a labor camp. She asked another prisoner about God, and even her fellow prisoner affirmed there was a God but was too afraid to talk about him in the camp. However, Nettleton says the Holy Spirit planted a seed.

“If [God] was so scary to the North Korean guards and the interrogators, maybe he was powerful. She began to pray, ‘God, I don’t know if you’re real. I don’t know who you are. But if you’re there and if you can hear me, can you help me?’ She began to see answers to prayer even in those very simple, early, desperate prayers.”

Eventually, Kyung-ja escaped North Korea again. Her daughter had defected to South Korea and when Kyung-ja connected with her on the phone, her daughter was able to answer her questions about God, Jesus, and the Bible.

Kyung-ja is now faithfully following Christ and lives in South Korea where Nettleton met with her.


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