Esther* slipped across the North Korean border into China.
But she still wasn’t free. She knew that if she was caught, she would be sent back to North Korea and imprisoned or even killed. While in China, she met an Adventist woman who befriended her. The woman offered Esther a place to stay and introduced her to Jesus.
One day Esther was stopped by security police. Without a Chinese passport, Esther was arrested and sent to a North Korean prison. “God, why are You allowing this to happen?” she pleaded.
The prison was surrounded by high walls, and thick bars covered every opening. Prisoners were guarded constantly when they were allowed out of their cells; there seemed no way of escape.
One cold, rainy day Esther shivered as she waited in line to use the bathroom. The guard was called elsewhere, leaving the prisoners unguarded. Suddenly Esther felt an unseen hand push her toward the prison wall, where she found sacks of cement piled like a stairway. She climbed over the wall and ran to the nearby village. She hid in a small building, shivering from the cold.
She heard voices and watched as a search party moved from house to house looking for her. “Jesus, help me,” she pleaded. The guards skipped the building where she was hiding and eventually turned back toward the prison without finding her.
The rain turned to snow, but Esther couldn’t stay any longer. She trudged out of the village through the deepening snow. “God, show me the way,” she prayed. Immediately a light illuminated her path, and she followed it. The path led out of North Korea and back into China.
For two months Esther walked, crossing a desert and cutting her way through barbed wire fences. She found shelter with sympathetic farmers. At last she crossed out of China. She found soldiers who took her to the embassy of South Korea, where she was given asylum.
Esther eventually arrived in South Korea, where she met Sister Park, an elderly Adventist woman who has made it her ministry to help refugees from North Korea find a new life in South Korea. Sister Park is their Dorcas, cooking for them if they are sick, providing food and clothes and shelter for them until they can care for themselves. But most important, Sister Park leads these people to Jesus.
“God led me to freedom,” Esther says. “Today, thanks to His love and His people who helped me, I’m free indeed!”
Our mission offerings help people such as Esther find freedom and faith in Jesus.
*Not her real name.