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Hyeon was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour.

A Canadian pastor, who was arrested in North Korea last year for allegedly plotting to overthrow the state, is presently hospitalized because of poor health. According to Canadian diplomats, Hyeon Soo Lim has been receiving treatment in the hospital since August.

Hyeon, a pastor of Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, had gone missing in January 2015. The following month, news of his arrest broke out, reporting that North Korean officials accused him of committing crimes against the state. In August 2015, North Korean state news released a video of Hyeon confessing to the alleged crimes. However, those monitoring persecution noticed that he appeared to be reading from a script, raising suspicions that the pastor had been coerced into confessing the crimes.

In December of that same year, after a brief trial, Hyeon was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour. The pastor is in his 60s, and many people -- including his family -- expressed concerns over his health.

For almost 20 years, Hyeon has been involved in humanitarian work in North Korea, where he helped establish orphanages and nursing homes. By the time of his arrest, he had travelled to the country more than a hundred times. During an interview with CNN in January, Hyeon said he was required to work eight hours a day, six days a week, in the labour camp. He dug holes for the planting of apple trees. "I hope I can go home someday," Hyeon added. "Nobody knows if I will ever go home, but that is my hope. I miss my family. I am longing to see them again, and my congregation."

Please pray for Pastor Hyeon during his time of need. Ask the Lord not only to heal him physically, but to also comfort him in his longing to be with family. May he be released from imprisonment at the labour camp so he can return safely home -- whole in both body and spirit. Intercede for Pastor Hyeon's captors that they may come to know Christ through his testimony, and thus receive the assurance of God's salvation and promise of eternity.

Current Ministry Project

VOMC assists in the education and training of North Korean Christians to enable them to reach fellow North Koreans with the Gospel wherever they are found. VOMC also works with proven ministry partners who are broadcasting quality radio programs to equip and encourage believers of the North Korean underground church.

Project Fund: Underground Church

Country Information

Population
25,831,360 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese

Religion (%)
Juche (99) Christian (1)

Leader
Kim Jong-Un (2011)

Government type
Dictatorship, single-party state

Legal system
Based on Prussian civil law system with Japanese traditions and Communist legal theory

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for North Korea

Pray for the safety of the country's refugees – including those who are hiding in various parts of China, as they are frequently being hunted by Chinese and North Korean agents. Ask the Lord to also protect and strengthen believers faithfully serving within North Korea, granting them wisdom as they seek ways to effectively communicate the hope of the Gospel so the church can continue to grow. And like the Apostle Paul, may the country's primary political leader, Kim Jong Un, experience a profound life-changing encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ who is longing to extend love, mercy and forgiveness toward him (Acts 9).

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