Friday, March 14, 2014

The story of Hae Woo

Hae Woo lived in North Korea. Her husband crossed the river into China, where he became a Christian. Sent back to North Korea, he was placed in a prison camp. When his children visited, he wrote the gospel on the palms of their hands so the guards wouldn't overhear. He was tortured to death.

Hae Woo was shocked to hear her husband had become a Christian, but she knew instinctively that this was the truth. She recognised the dangers, but having noted how her husband had kept his faith despite the pain and suffering, she decided to become a Christian to finish the work her husband had started.

She too had fled to China. Betrayed and sent back, she was sent to a prison camp. At the entrance, she saw a sign: "Do not try to escape. You will be killed." God spoke to her: "Do not be afraid. I will help you."

She was tortured for four days.

There are between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians in North Korea. Between 50,000 and 70,000 live and die in prison camps. Beatings, torture, starvation and exhaustion are routine.

Sometimes they had soup, with nothing in it but dirt. They were reduced to eating rats and snakes and searching for grains in cow dung.

God spoke to Hae Woo about evangelising other prisoners. He told her who to speak to and what to say. Five others were converted. They held secret meetings in the toilets.

Hae Woo had no Bible, but meditated on Psalm 23. "Psalm 23 was a real encouragement," she says. "The Lord was our shepherd, no matter what we faced. Even in the presence of our enemies, God was our rod and our staff. We had hope. The goodness and love of God followed us."

Released at the end of her sentence, Hae Woo escaped to South Korea.

Last week she spoke about life in North Korea at a meeting in the Houses of Parliament attended by more than 30 MPs.

"I'm stunned and horrified by what has been shared today," said one. "How can we do more to help?"

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