A North Korean Christian woman left her homeland when she was a teenager and journeyed 3,000 miles to pursue the freedom to worship God.
Liberty in North Korea, an international nonprofit organization that helps liberate North Korean people from a tyrannical regime, released an inspirational video showing the story of a believer who left her homeland so she could be free to praise and pray to God.
When she was a teenager, Sookyung Kang decided to make the 3,000-mile journey to leave North Korea. She recalled how she thought about choosing between her spiritual commitment and devotion to God and staying in her comfort zone-a dilemma many North Korean Christians find themselves in.
She remembered asking God what she should do.
"I want to be able to dream. I want to live the life I choose. But I don't want to abandon my family," she said. "What should I do? In the end, I chose my dreams and freedom."
Kang's eyes were opened to the reality of Christian persecution in her country when her uncle, a Christian missionary, was incarcerated for sharing the gospel. She would visit him in prison to bring him food, and there, she "started seeing North Korea as it really is."
In 2011, she made the difficult and life-changing decision to leave her family. Her journey involved many risks. If the Chinese caught her, she would be returned to North Korea. She also faced the danger of encountering human traffickers along the way.
She successfully made it out, thanks to Liberty in North Korea, which helped her make it through to South Korea. There, she could worship God to her heart's content.
"I was so thankful for this freedom. My heart was full of gratitude. I don't think I came to South Korea without a purpose," she said.
When the day should come that her country would be opened, Kang said she would surely help rebuild it.
Kang resided in Ryanggang Province, which is situated along the country's northern border with China. North Koreans in this part of the country sometimes get access to food smuggled in from China.
Kang believes the government intentionally starves the people to keep them occupied with trying to find their basic needs like food, safety, and rest. This ensures the regime that the people won't have the desire or strength to rebel or think about liberating the country.
Kang explained that the North Korean government presents the state leaders as gods to the people, but they still fear that the people would not worship them. They view Christianity as a threat.
In 2014, a UN report revealed that the state "considers the spread of Christianity a particularly serious threat, since it challenges ideologically the official personality cult and provides a platform for social and political organization and interaction outside the realm of the state."
Today, North Korea remains as the number one country in the world where Christians are most persecuted, according to the World Watch List of Open Doors, an organization that helps persecuted Christians around the world. Believers in the country are either killed or sent to labor camps where they are tortured.
Because of this, North Korean Christians keep their faith a secret. Yet, despite all this, an underground church with 200 to 400,000 Christians has been growing in the restricted country.