Ri Hyon Ok. Age 33. Martyr.
This woman was reportedly publicly executed in North Korea last month for distributing the Bible. She was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States.
Her parents, husband, and 3 children were sent to a political prison camp in Hoeryong, one of the largest prison camps in the country infamous for reports of chemical weapons experiments on humans and glass gas chambers according to a 2004 BBC documentary on the Axis of Evil.
Here is a 2003 description of the camp from a former guard.
Caution: This is very graphic. Chances are it hasn’t changed much.
I can’t imagine.
I can’t imagine living in a place where Christianity is so severely repressed.
I can’t imagine making the decision to sacrifice not only myself but also my family for the cause of Christ.
I can’t imagine.
I have no words.
Do I love Jesus enough?
Would I deny Him as Peter did?
Could I stand in the face of persecution and death? For myself? My children? My husband? My parents? My siblings? My friends? Could I bless and endure? (Romans 12:14, I Corinthians 4:12)
Have I really counted the cost of following Him? Of being his disciple? Even in my day-to-day life in a country with so much religious freedom?
If I’m not facing it in some form at some time, I need to think about how I’m living.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” I Timothy 3:12.
When Jesus talked with His disciples about the end of the age, He said:
“And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking but the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:10-13
At the time. There’s comfort in that.
Could I stand firm? Could you?
Rest in peace in the arms of Jesus, Ri. And may God hold your family close.