By Mark Ellis
For Christians incarcerated in North Korea’s prison system, the conditions are unimaginably harsh. But one humble believer witnessed the atmosphere of his prison transformed when Jesus began to heal fellow prisoners.
Moses* and his wife escaped from North Korea, crossing the border into China, desperate to find food. In their quest to overcome their physical hunger, they didn’t expect to find Jesus, the Bread of Life, who quenched the hunger in their souls.
“He was found by Cornerstone Ministry and trained to be a worker in the underground church,” says Peter Kim, with Cornerstone Ministries International. When their training was completed, Moses and his wife made the courageous decision to go back to North Korea to help train other believers there.
Unfortunately, they were both apprehended by a North Korean border patrol and interrogated. “The interrogation was so harsh he could not eat,” Kim says. Apparently the blows to his face and mouth caused such swelling that eating was impossible.
“Give us the names of the people you met with in China,” his interrogators demanded.
In response, Moses took the paper they gave him and wrote about the greatness of God’s love. When they read this, they were infuriated, tore up the paper, and beat him more severely.
“Give us the names and addresses of the people who trained you,” they demanded once again.
Moses wrote about God’s love and provision, how he and his wife were fed when they were hungry and given a place to sleep for 11 months in China when they had no place to go.
His paper was torn up again and the demands for a detailed confession continued. After four months of torture, his body was severely weakened and he could no longer stand. His voice became a whisper.
One day, alone in his cell, he weakly cried out, “God, if you’re real, why should I continue to be tortured? I can’t survive any longer.”
“You brought me to China to believe in you and trained me to be your worker. But I may die before I am able to work for you in North Korea.”
A few nights later Moses had a powerful dream about the men who interrogated him. In the dream, the officers who mistreated him were hung with thick wire on telephone poles and were dead.
Moses believes it was a picture of the officials on judgment day. He rose from his bed and a profound recognition gripped his heart. I will be with you O God eternally, but they will not. For the first time, he felt compassion for the men who beat him because they faced an eternity in hell.
“He began to tell other prisoners about God boldly whenever he had his chance while still being beaten and tortured,” Kim recounts.
One day a prisoner in the adjoining cell complained to him about stomach pain and diarrhea. The poor man was severely emaciated due to malnutrition. “These prisoners receive less food than pigs,” Kim notes, because pigs are intended for high government officials.
Moses decided to do something he had never done before. He reached out and touched the suffering man and proclaimed healing in Jesus’ name.
To Moses’ great surprise, the man immediately felt a warm sensation in his body and was healed completely. It was the first miracle Moses witnessed. “He realized that the Word is true and there is power in the name of Jesus,” Kim says.
There were many other prisoners suffering from malnutrition in the prison. Some of those confined to tiny cells became paralyzed after many months, unable to move. “As Moses laid his hand on them and prayed in Jesus’ name, one by one people were healed,” Kim reports.
One man had a terrible infection in his gums, which caused an awful smell in his cell. Moses placed his hand on the sick man’s face and asked God for healing. “The swollen part subsided immediately,” Kim says. “The pain disappeared and he was healed.”
Many of those who were healed became believers in Jesus. One officer witnessed a healing with his own eyes and exclaimed, “This man is a true Christian!”
Because the facility had no medicine available to treat prisoners, Moses was permitted to visit many prison cells to pray for the sick.
Officials in the prison decided they should release Moses early, before everyone in the prison became followers
of Jesus. An officer re-wrote Moses’ confession himself, stating that Moses and his wife went to China to find food and did not cause any shame to North Korea. Moses signed the confession and he and his wife were released.
As they were leaving the prison, an officer made this unexpected statement, “I know you will escape to China, but return to North Korea when North Korea becomes a better country, since North Korea needs true and genuine Christians like yourselves.”
“That officer is expecting North Korea will be changed and open for freedom soon,” Kim observes. “Moses when home and planted an underground church.”
*name changed for security reasons
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