11/20/2020 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – When she was 17 years old, the North Korean Christian Sookyung Kang fled from her repressive country because she wanted to be able to worship God with freedom.
She shared her 3,000 mile journey to South Korea with Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) in a video interview, according to Christian Post.
Kang was born in North Korea’s Ryanggang province, situated in the country’s central northern area. Since the province borders China, smuggling and defection to China take place regularly. This shows the desperation there is to survive.
“The constant battle with starvation is the North Korean government’s way to make sure people don’t ever think about being free,” she said. “By not satisfying the basic needs of food, sleep and safety, the system forces you to only focus on getting these needs met,” she added.
Yet she chose freedom. She wanted to be able to dream. She wanted to live the life She chose. Yet she did not want to abandon her family. The two competing thoughts fought in her mind. In the end, she went for her dreams and freedom.
Seeing what her uncle— a Christian missionary in North Korea—went through, it had an impact on her. The police caught him sharing the Gospel and put him in jail. Before his arrest, she said she was sheltered from the realities of North Korean life.
“He put his life on the line and lived each day as if it was his last,” she shared. “As I started visiting my uncle in prison to bring him food, I started seeing North Korea as it really is.”
Christianity is seen as an enemy of the state in North Korea. Once arrested, Christians face imprisonment, torture, or even execution. North Korea has retained its unbroken record as the country ranked the most dangerous place to be a Christian by Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors.
In 2011, Kang bid farewell to her homeland. She crossed the border into China and met with workers from LiNK, who escorted her out to shield her from police and human traffickers. After a long journey through various countries, Kang finally arrived in South Korea.
“Being able to worship and praise however I wanted in South Korea, I was so thankful for this freedom. My heart was full of gratitude,” she said. “I don’t think I came to South Korea without a purpose.”
Kang plans to attend graduate school in the United States so that when North Korea opens to the world, she can help rebuild her nation.
“I’m getting ready for it,” she said. “That is my vision. Freedom is expressing your faith.”
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