As Americans, Christians are free to read their Bibles, attend weekly church services, and socialize with other believers. Due to generations of Americans enjoying these freedoms since the establishment of this nation, many in the United States are unaware of the brutal persecution of believers across the globe. Perhaps, nowhere is this suffering more evident than in Communist North Korea.
For the 18th straight year, the country topped Open Doors USA’s World Watch List. Charity Aid to the Church in Need reported that at least 200,000 believers have went missing in the rogue nation since 1953. Recently, a brave Christian in North Korea learned she was soon to be released from prison. She recounted her harrowing life in jail during an interview with Open Doors.
On the day she was ushered into the filthy prison that has been her home for years, the North Korean believer revealed she lost her identity. From that day forward, she was simply called “Prisoner 42.” She told Open Doors, “The name I was born with in North Korea was the first thing they took away from me when I arrived here in this North Korean prison.” The prisoner informed Open Doors that she is “beaten and kicked” every day. The inmate stated, “It hurts the most when they hit my ears. My ears ring for hours, sometimes days.”
Each day, Prisoner 42 is reportedly sent to an interrogation room. In this space, guards berate her with inquiries regarding her religious background. She is asked, “Did you go to church,” “Did you have a Bible,” “Did you meet any South Koreans,” and “Are you a Christian.”
Prisoner 42 trusts in Jesus with all of her heart. Sadly, she feels unable to proclaim her love for her Savior while living within the confines of the prison. The inmate told Open Doors, “Am I a Christian? Yes. I love Jesus. But I deny it. If I admit that I was helped by Chinese Christians, I will be killed, either quickly or slowly.” She went on to add, “They will murder me in this North Korean prison.”
Prisoner 42’s earthly possessions have all been confiscated. Therefore, she doesn’t have anything to help her pass the long, lonely hours she spends in solitary confinement. However, she revealed to Open Doors that her one comfort is prayer. The inmate said, “All I can do is pray. And sing — in my heart. Never out loud. In my head, I sing a song I wrote.” This courageous Christian’s song closes with “Guide me to your blessings daily.”
During the sit-down, Prisoner 42 told Open Doors about one of the blessings she received while serving her sentence. While confined to her bed during a sickness, the inmate noticed a figure, wrapped in a blanket, in an area of her barracks. She revealed, “It was moving. I studied it and realized that underneath it was a person.” When she ventured to see who this mystery person was, she heard strange voices and realized the person was praying to God in tongues. Prisoner 42 recounted, “I went back to my mattress and watched her for days.”
One day, Prisoner 42 worked up the courage to go and speak with the unknown person. The inmate said, “Hello, greetings in Jesus’ name.” Prisoner 42 revealed that the mystery person appeared “completely shocked.” She went on to add, “Fortunately, I could calm her down quickly before her gasps alerted the guards.” Not long after their initial encounter, a friendship between the two believers began to blossom. Prisoner 42 said, “When we met and felt safe enough, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed. She was actually much braver than I was. She spoke to others about Christ as well.”
Unfortunately, Prisoner 42’s sister in Christ was later sent to a maximum-security prison. The inmate immediately knew she would never see her friend again. But, like so many others, the upsetting event didn’t shake Prisoner 42’s faith. She told Open Doors, “God has been with me every day, every hour, every minute and every second.” She also commented, “God has watched over me here in this North Korean prison, and I pray and believe that he also watches over my family every second of every minute of every hour of every day.”
Pray for Prisoner 42 and all those around the world who are facing unimaginable hardships due to the Christian faith they hold dear.
~ 1776 Christian