Hundreds gathered in Toronto in late June for one of the largest prayer meetings held on behalf of Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, the Korean Canadian pastor who is currently detained in North Korea.
Lim, who was arrested and detained in February of 2015, was sentenced to life in prison. Since then, multiple prayer gatherings for his safe return have taken place in Canada, the U.S., and South Korea.
This recent gathering drew more than 800 people, according to Radio Free Asia. Pastors from the surrounding community led prayers for the government to handle the situation wisely, and for Lim's health.
“We heard that a direct interview with Reverend Lim took place at the Swedish embassy last month,” Rev. Jason Noh, who currently leads Light Presbyterian Church where Lim used to pastor, said at the gathering. “They took a photo of Reverend Lim and sent it to his family.”
Noh added concerns that Lim’s health seems to be deteriorating, as his weight has dropped from 90 to 60 kilograms.
“The efforts of our Canadian government thus far, though appreciated, have failed to capture the seriousness of this issue,” Richard Ha, a spokesperson for Light Presbyterian, was quoted as saying by The Star.
Indeed, the family expressed increasing concern for Lim after Otto Warmbier, an American university student who was also detained in North Korea, died after his return.
“The family is very concerned at this point,” Lisa Pak, a spokeswoman for Lim’s family, was quoted as saying by Reuters at the time. “They are hoping the Canadian government will turn (efforts) up a few notches in terms of active diplomacy and really start engaging.”
The prayer gathering also included a time to pray for Warmbier’s family and loved ones.