By Peter Kim —
“Mother, I can’t live here…I have to go to South Korea.” The moment Young-Ae heard her son’s words, her heart sank.
A short time later, Young-Ae and her brother-in-law’s family decided to cross the river from North Korea into China. To their consternation, it was a night with a bright full moon. To make the situation worse, she could see the guard post along the riverside. Young-Ae caught her breath in fear.
Without knowing who God is, she began to call on his mighty power in heaven, “If you exist, please Supreme Power in Heaven, save me!”
Suddenly dark clouds covered the moon, making it pitch-black. It seemed like an answer to her prayer! Was heaven really listening?
After the whole family safely crossed the river, the clouds lifted, and the bright moonlight shone on the river. Young-Ae and her party quickly ran up a nearby mountain to hide.
She recounted the rest of her journey to Cornerstone Ministries International, translated here:
“And as we headed deeper into the mountains, we got lost. Shivering in the cold in the mountains I didn’t eat anything for three days, so my tongue got twisted and I couldn’t walk anymore. I lay down on the ground and did the same thing as I did before crossing the river.
“Although I did not know God, I said ‘Supreme Power in Heaven, it is okay if I die, but I do acknowledge you as my God. So, help us.’
“Then, I heard a sound. I was frightened. Carefully I looked around and saw that it was a shepherd tending sheep. The shepherd took pity on our family and took us to his hut and gave us food and water. He then contacted other workers working in the field. They took us to one of their shelters. When I went into the shelter with the help of a worker, three north Korean defectors were there already.
“From the day I arrived, they gave me a Bible (I did not know what that was at first) and I was asked to read the Book. They said, ‘God has saved you’. I raised a question, ‘Who is this God?’ At first, I thought that God was a living person like the leader in North Korea. Then, I acknowledged that it must be this God whom they are talking about. He must save us from the river and mountain. I finally figured it out and accepted that it was Him who heard my cry.
“After a night of rest, we had to travel a long distance by bus and train away from the border as I confessed this God they were talking about. At our destination, I met a South Korean missionary for the first time.
“I stayed there for three months, studying and copying the Bible all day from dawn to evening. When I first heard in more detail about God, I could not accept all those stories. Then, I wondered why He helped me. Then suddenly I began to believe what they were talking about because it was otherwise impossible for the eight of us to have safely crossed the border river and survived.
“So I asked, ‘Who on earth would feed and protect us so well?’ Then, I felt that God is alive and working. As I found a moment of silence, strangely I began to sing. I had not been prompted to sing, nor did I know the lyrics, nor had I been taught to sing. Yet, music flowed out of my tongue. Yes, it was a made-up song. The song began to slip into my heart. As I sang, tears flowed. I shed a lot of tears while I sang, ‘I didn’t know the Lord when I was wandering in the world.’”
It has been a year since Young-Ae came to South Korea, and the confession of gratitude has not left her for even a moment. She said, “When I come home alone at night after work, just when the light is brightly lit, I say, ‘Thank you, God!’ even while walking down the street, muttering to myself ‘Thank you, God. Thank you so much.’
She says, “I have nothing to say except to say, ‘Thank You’ because I am so full of gratitude for everything.”
Young-Ae wept as she prayed for her family in North Korea. “God, You have granted me the blessing of eternal life, please protect the families left behind in North Korea from being harmed because of us. Do not let them die, just let them live so I can share the Gospel with them. When unification comes, I will go and preach the gospel of God with all my might. May the day come soon when family members in North Korea believe and receive the blessing of eternal life. Until then, I will live with firm faith in God.”
Young-Ae did not stop crying while she was giving her testimony. — Cornerstone Ministries International