There are between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians being held in horrific labour camps in North Korea, simply for daring to believe in Jesus.
Hea Woo is a Christian who was imprisoned in North Korea. When she arrived at the prison camp where she was held, there was a sign saying ‘Do not try to escape, you shall be killed’. She says, “The guards were merciless. They kicked me and beat me with sticks. Christians are sometimes killed or locked up for the rest of their lives in concentration camps.
“Constantly there were people dying. Death was a part of our daily life. The bodies were usually burned and the guards scattered the ashes on the path. Every day, we walked down that path and I always thought, one day the other prisoners will be walking over me.”
And yet, even in these labour camps that are like hell on earth, God is at work. Hea Woo says, “God helped me to survive. Even more: He gave me a desire to evangelise among the other prisoners! He showed me whom I should approach. God used me to lead five people to faith. We met together out of the view of the guards. Often that was in the toilet. There we held a short service. I taught them Bible verses and some songs, which we sang almost inaudibly.”
One of the songs that Hea Woo would sing when she was imprisoned was Amazing Grace. When asked what the song means to her, she says, “There have been so many moments in my life where I should have died. But I’m still alive. Thanks to God’s Amazing Grace.”
Listen to her sing the first verse of Amazing Grace in Korean:
Thankfully, Hea Woo was eventually released and managed to escape from North Korea. She now lives in South Korea.
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*Names changed for security reasons
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imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.