North Korean Refugee Retreat, Part Three: Anna

Some North Korean refugees did not know they were going to be sold before crossing into China. Others, like Anna, did.

Some North Korean refugees leave because they were starving. Others, like Anna, left because they were fleeing the government.

Anna was able to share her story with other refugees at our retreat and know she was not alone in her experiences. One of our missionaries said after it was over, “It was a beautiful, meaningful time, full of God’s grace.”

She told our missionaries that in 2002 and Anna had three daughters ages four to eleven. Her oldest was selling produce on the train. The North Korean government allows people to sell a maximum of 50 kilograms of produce per day. The safety officer weighed Anna’s daughter’s produce and discovered that she was over the limit.

This child committed a crime and she was beaten severely for it. She was scheduled for trial but everyone knew what the verdict would be. So Anna took her daughters and fled North Korea. She knew that she would be sold but it was far better than sending her child to the world’s most brutal prison system.

When the family got to China, things did not go well. Anna’s oldest became separated from her family. Despite a frantic search, Anna could not find her. It was especially painful for her because she herself grew up without her parents in North Korea.

“I still don’t know where she is but I believe God knows,” she told us this summer at our retreat.

Anna is trying her best to move forward. She lives with her husband, a poor farmer who purchased her and her two remaining daughters. Anna’s husband is supportive of her going to church.

Last year we were able to give audio players with Christian music to our refugees. She ties this player around her neck while she works. She says the songs help her work more joyfully.