Christian Returns to North Korea in Hopes of Being the Rock for Christ

Dec 10, 2002 01:36 PM EST

North Korea – 3 million people are believed to have died of starvation in the last few years in the world’s most atheist country. People are worked to death in Nazi-style camps, while Kim Il Sung, the nation’s dictator maintains a god-like position. However, in this dark and repressed country, the light of the gospel shines like a star in the night.

A man who escaped North Korea 2 years ago, return to help the growing Christian community in spite of persecution and danger. Cho Byung il, a fatherless, childless widower tells his amazing story and testimony of faith.

"My prayer is that I do not get executed on the spot, but sent to a concentration camp. At least I can witness there," Cho said before he set out on foot to return to North Korea. Despite giving himself only a "one percent chance of survival," Cho said he had to go back because "in North Korea it is virtually impossible to hear about Jesus Christ. We are utterly cocooned."

"It never occurred to me that North Korea was not the best of all possible worlds," said Cho, who in 10 years' army service was given home leave only twice. Moving to a new posting in 2000, he was shocked to discover the extent of the famine.

"Everywhere people were lying by the road, sick or dead," he said. "Blackouts were common. There were confirmed cases of parents eating their grandparents to stay alive."

When Cho returned home to attend his mother’s funeral, he found out his wife and child had starved to death while he was in service. At his mother’s funeral, Cho heard his father whisper, “May she rest in the bosom of Jesus.”

Upon hearing that his father, one of the estimated 10.000 ~ 500,000 Christians in North Korea was soon investigated by authorities, Cho fled to neighboring China, but was soon caught by injured in the process.

As he successfully crossed the border, Christians helped him regain his health, and through their testimony, Cho gave his life to Christ. After two years of training in an underground house church, he decided to return voluntarily to spread the Gospel to North Korea.

Referring to a bible passage in the book of Daniel, Cho said he hoped to be a part of the “uncut rock” that destroys a massive statue.

Cho said that he hoped he might be "the uncut rock," referring to the Bible passage in Daniel which describes how God takes a small rock and destroys a huge statue.

"The idolatrous kingdom of North Korea will fall," he said. "God will send a rock to smash its feet, and I will play my part. Who knows? Perhaps the time of smashing has already come."

By Pauline Chang
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