North Korean Refugee Retreat, Part Two: Vision Restored

While the Great North Korean Famine raged on, “Susanna” saw death all around her. She met someone who promised work for her in China. She left her three sons in North Korea and set off to find work in China. When she got to China, she realized it was all a lie. She became a North Korean refugee and was sold.

Though her Chinese husband was kind, his parents, brothers and sisters physically abused her. Their abuse was so severe that, when she lost her eyesight, they did not seek treatment for her. They liked that she could not see because she was less likely to flee.

“My husband never stands up for me,” Susanna told us this summer. “He is very soft spoken and can’t stand up to his family.”

Susanna is in her 40s but looks like she is in her 60s, according to our missionaries. Her hair is thinning, she is missing most of her teeth and her blindness has muted her expressions. She rarely smiled or showed very much emotion.

For over a decade she lived under the abuse of her family with no one to advocate on her behalf. That is until last year when Crossing Borders started a church in her village. 

It was then that she found hope in Jesus and, for the first time in over a decade, friends.

Our worker in charge of the area as well as the local leader took special notice of her and cared for her needs. They would hold her hand to walk her where she needed to go. They would also pray for her. This summer at our retreat she prayed for God to restore her vision.

This fall, our staff worker heard of an eye doctor from South Korea who was doing volunteer work in China. This doctor happened to be providing care near where our worker lived. So he arranged to have Susanna travel by bus so that she can see this doctor.

At her appointment the doctor said he could perform surgery on Susanna and restore her eyesight. 

We were able to visit her last week. 

“When she first saw us, she was leaping and was busy telling us how she can see things so clearly,” our missionary reported. “She said that the whole world was new to her.”

“God is so good, so amazing,” Susanna repeated over and over. 

Never have the words to the old spiritual rang truer to us on staff. 

“I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”