Hyeon Soo Lim
(Photo : Christianity Daily)
Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim of Light Presbyterian Church was detained after traveling into North Korea on January 30, 2015. He was released on August 9, 2017.

After two years, six months, and nine days of absence, Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim returned to the pulpit of Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto during its Sunday service on August 13, and greeted the congregants. Lim then expressed gratitude toward Christians all over the world who had prayed fervently for his release, as well as toward the government leaders in Canada who had gathered their efforts to bring him home.

Though there were concerns for Lim's health, it appeared that his health was not significantly affected. His expressions and voice came out with strength, just as they had before.

"I believe that it was not by any human strength, but by God's extraordinary power that I was able to come out," said Lim. "During my detainment, I was faced with panic, fear, and many difficulties, but God gave me the strength to overcome each day's obstacles."

Lim, who was placed in solitary confinement when he was detained, said one of his greatest difficulties included the times that he was in isolation.

"After I was sentenced to life imprisonment, it was a war with loneliness," Lim said. "I ate alone 2,757 times, and it was particularly hard worshipping on Sundays on my own."

"It was a long, long time that seemed like it would never come to an end, but I was able to overcome as I spent time with the Lord, and while I was laboring I continued to pray," he continued.

Lim added he read the Bible five times in one year. His Sunday worships would begin at 7 AM with songs, and end around 8 PM.

As all information was blocked from reaching him, and as he himself was unable to record anything during his detainment, Lim said he focused on praise and Bible memorization.

"As I read the Bible and repeatedly memorized about 700 verses, I was able to organize them into different themes to preach on," said Lim. "Even the difficult times of labor, now that they have passed, turned out to be a time of refinement and repentance out of God's love."

"I discovered a new vision on training young people and young leaders, and awakening churches all over the world ... I don't want to waste the rest of my life, the time I have left. I want to work for God's kingdom and his mission."

This article has been translated. For the original in Korean, visit kr.christianitydaily.com.