From 2016 to 2017, Kim Hak Song, Kim Sang-duk, and Kim Dong-chul, three American citizens were arrested, separately, in North Korea. Dong-chul, a pastor in his 60’s, received the longest sentence of 10 years’ hard labor.
What were their crimes? “Espionage,” “crimes against the state,” and “suspicion of ‘hostile’ acts,” according to North Korea.
In the North Korea pre North Korea-United States Summit there was no hope of a fair trial or parole for these men. The government answered to no citizen and certainly no counsel of united nations. They were spies, anarchists, dangerous men. They were Christians.
Jump forward to May of 2018 and relations with North Korea have dramatically changed. President Trump made history by becoming the first sitting U.S. President to meet face-to-face with a North Korean leader.
The Trump administration convinced the North Korean government that things would be friendlier at the upcoming summit if they released the imprisoned men, and to the surprise of many, they agreed.
North Korea has a long history of being one of the most hostile countries to Christians. Simply reading the Bible or referencing prayer could subject you to brutal treatment and imprisonment. Stories of labor camps, public on-the-spot killings, and rounding up of entire families evokes images of WWII Nazi concentration camps.
But it seems the prayers of the underground Church and Christians worldwide are tearing down the strongholds.
President Trump tweeted: “I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting.”
It was a powerful moment to see Kim Hak Song, Kim Sang-duk, and Kim Dong-chul step back on American soil.
The men are said to be in good health as they return to family and loved ones.
Kim Hak Song, who had been accused of promoting religion, had this to say about his detainment, “I was thinking, I don’t know what I did wrong.” While he may not have been actively promoting Christianity, he certainly didn’t lose the opportunity to evangelize in prison. During his detainment an “official” asked him to write about Christianity. “I was grateful and thankful that at this time I was able to share God’s message to this person,” Hak Song said.
Hak Song, who by God’s protection was not brutalized, spoke also of dreams and visions he had while imprisoned. Unaware of any U.S.-North Korea summit, or intervention plan of President Trump, Kim Hak Song had dreams of being in Trump’s car with Americans cheering around him.
“The dream became reality. God is walking with us.”
The miraculous release of Kim Hak Song, Kim Sang-duk, and Kim Dong-chul is the modern-day re-telling of Paul and Silas in prison:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” – Acts 16:25-26
We at GOD TV rejoice with the Body of Christ for the release of Kim Hak Song, Kim Sang-duk, and Kim Dong-chul. May Christians continue to shake the foundations through our prayers and worship.