Tired and discouraged, Esther Kim recently finished a grueling round of chemotherapy and drove to a nearby church, looking for a quiet place to pray. She ended up at our church but couldn’t find the chapel. She was miraculously discovered wandering the halls by one of our prayer groups and within minutes all of them were crying and praying together as Esther shared her struggles with cancer and told the incredible story of Pastor Dong-Shik Kim, her husband held prisoner in North Korea.
For months we have been in contact with governments and organizations around the world urging Pastor Kim’s release. Above all, we have prayed. On the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping, representatives from the Korean church and others throughout the community joined us in a special service to pray both for Pastor Kim’s release and the peaceful unification of Korea. As a part of the service, Esther Kim wrote and read a letter… of love and continuing faith in God.
On January 16, 2000, North Koreans kidnapped Pastor Dong-Shik Kim, my husband. I appreciate those who have joined the prayer movement for him. I wish for you to pray not only for my husband but also for the people who are suffering in North Korea.
My husband was inspired by the biography of Pastor Ju Kichul. He attended the Ungchun Church in which Pastor Ju ministered. Ungchun church was also the place he prayed about marrying me.
My husband lived for the smallest. In 1986, he was involved in a serious traffic accident, which left him unable to walk without the use of a cane. After that, he began to emphasize that he and I should take better care of our five adopted children than of our own three children. He believed that if every Korean church adopted at least one orphan, they would no longer need foreign adopters and Korean churches themselves would benefit. He himself led such a life.
Pastor Kim worked for handicapped people. He opened a talent conference and a ski camp in Korea for the handicapped. He interpreted To Live is Enraptured by Dahara Uneko and Dream of the Wheelchair by Jang Heduck into Korean. With the help of several South Korean churches he built noodle factories in North Korea. He sent containers of clothes and socks to protect people from harsh winters. He supported several orphanages and kindergartens in North Korea and sent provisions.
While working in China, Pastor Kim began taking care of escapees from North Korea and looked for ways to bring them into South Korea via a third country. On November 30, 1999, he miraculously succeeded in leading five families (13 people) into South Korea through Mongolia where they were detained for seven days. He reentered China on January 15, 2000. The next day, shortly after worshipping at church, he was kidnapped by North Korean spies.
Each year my husband chose for our family a hymn such as: “The Lord Who Helps Me Behind My Back” in 1997, “On a Hill Far Away” in 1998, “God is Our Refuge Strong” in 1999, and “We are Bound for Canaan Land” in 2000. He wrote Scripture verses on our calendar. His favorite was 2 Kings 6:16,17: “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
After surgery for rectal cancer on September 30, 1999, when his body became weak, people urged him to look for a successor. He said, “There is no one who would die for this work. We should make up our mind to die for the LORD if we really want to do the work of the LORD.” He continued to take care of the weak without taking care of his own body.
I don’t know where my husband is or how he has been. North Korea is a country in which people have no freedom and do not know God. Would you, who enjoy freedom and know the Gospel, pray for the evangelism of North Korea and the unification of all of Korea? It is what my son, Heaven, and I and my husband Dong-Shik Kim want. As for us, there is nothing we can do but pray. In Christ, Esther Kim.
World events and politics are often hard to comprehend but we can all appreciate a devoted wife and family who want their loved one home and the country they love reunited. Will you join us in prayer?