When “Joseph” first came to Crossing Borders for help, he was covered in sores. He was a North Korean refugees had just been released from prison in North Korea. It was so crowded there that bodies would cover the concrete floor at night. Inmates would punch him as people jockeyed for position. His body was infected from sleeping on the floor, which people used as their toilets. During the day he would get beaten by the guards. Seven years ago, Joseph shared a meal with our Crossing Borders staff members. And as he shared about the difficulty of being a North Korean refugee in China and the horrendous conditions of his incarceration in North Korea, Joseph said, “I’ve never laughed as much in my life as I did in prison.”
“If you don’t laugh, you’ll die,” he said.
Joseph became a believer when he first made the dangerous journey to China. He had the fortune of hearing the gospel through missionaries who ministered to him. It was after becoming a believer that he decided to return to North Korea , as a North Korean refugee, to see his siblings. It was in this journey that Joseph was sent to prison.
We have seen it many times, the incredible unflappability of North Korean refugees in the direst of circumstances, especially among those who believe. This is surely a testament to the superhuman strength promised in the Bible when believers experience “trials of many kinds.”
As you pray with Crossing Borders for North Korean refugees and their children this week, let’s pray for strength. As North Koreans continue to suffering at the hands of a regime who does not care for them, as many still lie hopeless in prison, as the church is still being persecuted, please pray for an unshakeable strength that comes from the Lord.