A North Korean Christian woman has recalled her treacherous experience of crossing the border into China so she could fulfill her wish to be baptised. The woman, referred to as “Bon-Hwa" to protect her identity, headed across the border into China two years ago, even though the crossing is fraught with danger.
It is illegal to help North Korea escapees who have made the crossing into China. Despite the risk, persecution charity Open Doors continues to operate "safe houses" that offer a place of refuge to those who are seeking to escape Kim Jong-un's regime. The houses also double-up as ministry hubs, where women who are escaping forced marriages gather to be cared for by believers. It was at one of these extraodinary shelters that Bon-Hwa decided to give her life to Christ.
“She wanted to be baptised so badly that she couldn’t wait any longer,” said the pastor who baptised her, noting that he had to take her to an even more remote location in order to carry out the ceremony without the threat of arrest. "It took many hours to reach the place,” one Open Doors staffer noted.
When the group arrived, the pastor conducted the baptism in haste. The three Christians in attendance recited the Apostles Creed: “I believe in God the Father, maker of Heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ our Lord..." Then Bon-Hwa came to be baptised.
"Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior of your life?” the pastor asked.
“Yes," Bon-Hwa replied.
“Do you believe that only through Jesus’ blood, you can enter Heaven after death?”
“Do you accept that you are sinful and you can only be saved by Jesus’ name?”
Calling the ceremony a “holy moment," the pastor said he had to hold back tears the entire time.
“I had to contain myself and focus on the steps of the ceremony,” he recalled. “Or else, I would have cried loudly myself. It was such a beautiful moment and such a privilege to baptise a North Korean believer in these circumstances.”
Desperate to inculcate her heart with scripture, Bon-Hwa noted that since her baptism, she has committed Psalm 119, Romans 8 and various other chapters of the Bible to memory.
"She is acutely aware she could be arrested any day, yet she rests in Jesus," Open Doors noted. "Because this woman who risked her life to leave her country and confess Jesus belongs to Him now."