A North Korean defector opened up about the underground church he led and the secretive life he and other Christians had there. He also revealed that despite being offered freedom for renouncing their religion, believers in the notorious prison camps refuse to do so.
Choi Kwanghyuk, who now lives in L.A., told The Christian Post in an email interview through the help of a translator with International Christian Concern on Thursday that he first learned about Christianity when he went to China to search for food.
There, he was connected with a Christian missionary and began studying the Bible. Eventually, he started sharing the Gospel with nine of his friends, and continued making trips back and forth to China with the aid of the missionary.
Despite the severe oppression of religious belief in North Korea — Open Doors USA ranks the regime as the worst persecutor of Christians in the world — Choi started operating an underground church there.
"We started with the book of Matthew," Choi said about some of the first Bible meetings.
"Our meeting spot was literally underground. In North Korea, we dig holes on the ground to store Kimchee and potatoes over the winter. It's very cold in North Korea and if we don't bury it underground, then it will freeze up. We don't have heating system in North Korea," he explained.
"We meet in this rectangular hole and use [a] lantern to study the Bible. Since we cannot sing out loud, we praise by humming the hymn."
Choi pointed out that because of the strict control of information in North Korea, many of the people there do not even know that religion exists.