A Christian, who was exiled to a remote village in North Korea for owning a Bible, revealed her plight to spread the Gospel through a letter sent to an international persecution watchdog.
The International Christian Concern said the woman is a Christian leader hidden under the name "Bae" by Open Doors UK, who published her letter. Bae was forced to live in exile in the remote village where she and her family are faced with hard labor and limited supply of food. She chose to stay in the village to safeguard and maintain "her underground church."
In her letter, Bae disclosed that she spends mornings picking crops in the fields. While she and her companions huddle in a circle before a small candle at night to read the Bible once the windows have been covered with blankets. She would then read from the Bible.
"Dear Brother, we are well and at peace through the grace of Jesus Christ and your prayers. When our Bible was found, it was immediately destroyed. And because we are Christians, we were exiled to a remote village with no chance of ever leaving. Work here is hard. Rations are limited. We are always hungry or sick," Bae recalled.
"We need to forage to survive. But every morning when I open my eyes, I feel the presence of the Lord and thank our father God that I am still strong enough to be used as His servant," she continued.
Bae then quoted from Matthew Chapter 4, which spoke of the temptation of Jesus, to reveal their source of strength in the face of such difficulty.
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God," Bae cited the Bible.
Bae shared how she was able to escape the village for a while and reach China. She was offered shelter by Christians in China to stay with them but she refused to stay out of her love for her fellow believers.
"Even though it was difficult, I recently was able to cross the border into China. There I met with other Christians. They gave me food, medicine and--by the grace of God--a new Bible. I was offered a place to stay in China. It would have meant freedom. But I could not abandon my family and church however small it may be," Bae revealed.
Bae clarified that she and the rest of the North Koreans exiled in the remote village are not "suffering" but have found their circumstance a "blessing." She expressed gratitude for those who prayed for them and promised to propagate the faith.
"From your perspective, brother, our suffering must appear as though we live a cursed life. However, we see it as a blessing because it is a shortcut to the father. But yet brother, I have one more request that you send our gratitude to those who continue to pray for us. In return we'll stay healthy and continue to spread the Gospel throughout North Korea," Bae said before closing the letter.
North Korea ranks second in Open Doors USA's 2022 World Watch List, a listing depicting countries where it is most difficult to live as Christians. According to Open Doors USA, North Korea has been in the top or almost at the top of the listing for two decades due to the Communist rule.
There are around 50,000 to 70,000 Christians held in "notorious" prison camps where they experience "brutal torture and death" on account of their faith. The COVID-19 mandates of North Korea's government have increased Christian persecution in 2021.