When Sister Dreamer* made the treacherous journey from North Korea to China in search of a better life, little did she know that she’d encounter Jesus. Here she shares her extraordinary story…
Sister Dreamer's life has been transformed by Jesus and she is passionate to see the kingdom of God grow in her homeland of North Korea
Born and raised in North Korea, I revered the supreme leaders. While at primary school, I discovered that I had an aptitude for sports. I thought that my life’s calling was to be a highly decorated athlete and bring pride and joy to the supreme leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
I studied diligently, finished university and worked for some time before going back to university for further study. Although my dream of being an athlete was behind me, I had another dream: to marry a wealthy and powerful man from the Party or from the army and live a comfortable life. Little did I know that my life was about to be turned upside down.
During that time, Kim Il-sung, the supreme leader whose reign we thought would be eternal, suddenly died, plunging the country into economic collapse. Millions of North Koreans were starving to death. Hearing about the people who were crossing the border to China in hope of a better life, my mother and I hatched our own plan to escape.
On one pitch dark night, leaving my siblings and other family members behind, my mother and I began our escape with the help of a broker. While crossing a river to get to China, my mother never made it out of the water to the other side. Tragically, she did not live to see the happy ending we were looking for.
"Little by little, my heart was opened to the gospel" Sister Dreamer
I managed to find my uncle and aunt who were living in China. Whilst living there, I met a South Korean woman working for a Christian organisation who invited me to a programme where I had the opportunity to learn about Bible and get pocket money. She was very nice to me, so I happily obliged. Little by little, my heart was opened to the gospel and, before long, I was praying and attending church services.
But one of my cousins was against me staying with my uncle and aunt. The conflict intensified, until my cousin reported on me – not as an illegal immigrant but as a secret agent from North Korea. Government agents were quick to come looking for me, but by the grace of God, I was able to hide from these agents and escape to another location.
I was on the run from place to place, but along the way I met wonderful people who helped me – especially a Christian couple in China. “I will definitely go back, set their house on fire and kill everyone,” I said to the husband as I told him about my cousin. He listened before sharing the story of Joseph, whose brothers sold him as a slave, yet he was able to forgive them.
I had many difficulties in China, including being diagnosed with tuberculosis. I felt resentful towards God: “Why didn’t you just kill me back in North Korea? After all this suffering, is this how it ends?”
For a long time, I couldn’t go to work or visit anybody, but God used this time to transform me and help me grow closer to Him. I also kept thinking to myself, “If God called me like Joseph to save my own people, I should not stop here.” It was then that I felt the desire to go to South Korea and study theology.
I was jumping with joy when, after more than a year of waiting, I arrived in South Korea. To my surprise, doctors there told me that I was fit as a fiddle. I praised God for restoring my health.
Just like how God used 40 years in the wilderness to train Moses, I was also called for such a journey. My athletic ability and my education were part of my ego. But having to be on the run, unable speak the language and barely able to support myself, I always had to ask for help. Ten years of such ‘wilderness’ brought me to the lowest point. Looking back, I can see that God has been using my journey to break me, teach me humility, and mould me into a person that can be used by Him.
Until now, coming to South Korea was the dream. But gradually, God was putting a vision in my mind – to serve my fellow North Korean brothers and sisters.
In South Korea, I was able to study theology and participate in ministries serving my people from North Korea. I could not have been happier to share the message of Jesus with my brothers and sisters. I even led various prayer meetings with them. I was continually meeting new people and developing friendships. I was not just a minister to them – I was one of them.
"I would like to see His kingdom come and His will be done in North Korea" Sister Dreamer
Ever since I encountered Jesus in China, God has been faithful to me. He was there when I lost my mother and stayed at my uncle’s house. He was there when I escaped to the home of the Chinese couple. He was there when I was fighting fever and cough all alone in a small damp basement. He was also there with me in my time of waiting at the embassy.
I had acknowledged the existence of God and had also been praying for some time, but it was during these times of uncertainty and helplessness that I truly experienced Him in the most tangible ways. All these experiences helped me serve my people even during challenging times, as I am confident that He is always with me.
I thank God for visiting me and calling me to participate in His mission. God spoke to me through dreams and helped me be a dreamer for His kingdom. I will forever praise Him and give myself to Him as a tool for His mission. One day, when the time comes, I will go back to my home country and devote myself to the Christians and the church there. Above all, I would like to see His kingdom come and His will be done in North Korea.
*Name changed for security reasons
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