An Hyuk was arrested for crossing over into China from North Korea, out of curiosity. All his life he had belonged to a loyal Communist Party family. He had received a government scholarship to a physical education school at age 12. But one day he was out ice skating and China "called." He was caught just over the border and of course sent back. Now, "sent back" 18moa to North Korea isn't the same as "sent back" to Mexico. He was detained in solitary confinement underground for 20 months! Then sent for a second dose of punishment,18 months, at another site.
While at the first location, guards kept him awake constantly and forced him to sit motionless for days. [All for ice skating into China]. Down the hall from him was a man who had spilled ink on a picture of North Korea's leader. Another who had not adequately dusted a photograph of the "Great Leader."
At the second site, it was time to do manual labor. His first job was to break the ice, jump in the water, and wade waist-deep looking for stones and laying boards to re-channel the water. Many died at this same job from exposure, or lost body parts to frostbite. Second job: go to the top of the mountain, cut down huge and heavy hardwood trees, and carry them down by hand. Many died in this project too.
Thankfully, he was able to escape, tell his story, and be a part of the gradual unfolding of the evil that is North Korea. Too bad for most of us, the book he published in Seoul (Yodok List) was written in Korean.
Now, my brother-sister in the Lord. If spilling ink, not dusting photographs well, and ice-skating into China brings on periods of misery such as this, can we imagine the pain of a believer in Jesus who will not give up his faith in our Lord Jesus? What can we do for a North Korean prisoner today? As always, we are called to pray, to give, to go, and of course to be ready to bear Christ's cross ourselves.