North Korean Christian Risks Life, Walks ‘Many Hours’ to Be Baptized

A North Korea Christian woman who fled to China illegally was recently baptized, even though such an action could have resulted in her being repatriated back to her nation and killed.

The woman, identified as “Bon-Hwa” by Open Doors, crossed the border more than two years ago into China, where it is illegal to help North Korea escapees.

Despite the risk, Open Doors ministry partners have set up “safe houses” along the border for North Korean Christians as well as for women who could be forced into a marriage. It was at one of these safe houses that Bon-Hwa became a Christian.

“She wanted to be baptized so badly that she couldn’t wait any longer,” the Open Doors pastor who baptized her said.

She could not be baptized in her new hometown – it would have been too risky – so she and two other Christians, including the pastor, walked to a remote location.

“It took many hours to reach the place,” an Open Doors staffer said.

The pastor opened the ceremony in prayer, and the Christians recited the Apostles’ Creed. Unlike baptisms elsewhere in the world, there was no crowd. Including Bon-Hwa, there were only three in attendance.

The pastor became emotional.

“I had to contain myself and focus on the steps of the ceremony,” he told Open Doors. “Or else, I would have cried loudly myself. It was such a beautiful moment and such a privilege to baptize a North Korean believer in these circumstances.”

The pastor asked a series of questions, with Bon-Hwa answering each time:

“Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior of your life?”

“Yes.”

“Do you believe that only through Jesus’ blood, you can enter Heaven after death?”

“Yes.”

“Do you accept that you are sinful and you can only be saved by Jesus’ name?”

“Yes.”

Bon-Hwa, too, cried, as she was baptized “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

“It was a holy moment,” the pastor said.

She has memorized Psalm 119Romans 8 and other biblical chapters since her conversion.

“She is acutely aware she could be arrested any day,” Open Doors said, “yet she rests in Jesus.”

Photo courtesy: Pixabay/Chicken Online


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity TodayThe Christian PostThe Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.