04/21/2012, 00.00
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Hye Jin, fled famine, filled by Christ

The Story of a North Korean family who, to escape hunger and violence of the regime in Pyongyang suffered until their encounter with Jesus and salvation in the United States. A journey of pain, that ends with the most important encounter of all.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - From famine to the love of Christ this is the story of Jo Hye Jin, from North Korea 24 years, who saw most of her family die in front of her.  She survived and  managed to escape in the United States where she encountered Jesus. Her story, reported by the Protestant Ans network, is incredible.

"We were raised as atheists - says young woman, who now lives in Virginia with her sister and mother Han - and we are the only survivors of a family of 8 persons. My grandmother died during the last famine in North Korea: I still remember that, before she died, she asked to be able to eat a potato. "

The period referred to by Jin is the beginning of the 1990's, when the fall of the Soviet Union and China's de facto openness to the world cut off Communist axis aid to Pyongyang. The population was decimated and families, such as Jin's, forced to eat everything from tree bark to raw fat.

After years of suffering, in 1997 the parents of Jin - Han and Jo - decided to risk crossing the border with China and shocked by the abundance of food there, they decide to make several trips to accumulate as much rice as possible. However, on the third attempt they were arrested.

His father disappeared into thin air: "Later found out that he died on a train for prisoners, his hands tied behind his head, without food or water for 10 days. The regime could not feed the people, let alone prisoners." Jin's mother was rather savagely beaten: her skull, still bears four open holes from the beating. However, Han was pardoned: "Perhaps they realized that she was pregnant."

A few months later, the woman gave birth to a son. But in the meantime her eldest daughter, who was also travelling to China in search of food, disappeared into thin air: "She probably ended up in the hands of human traffickers. I do not think that we will ever meet again." Han's son was hungry, and so the mother decided to return to China: but the famine killed both the child and grandmother.

A year later the police returned to Jin's house in search of all the inhabitants: according to North Korean law criminals must be punished "down to the third generation." At this point, the family was halved: only Han, the daughter Jin Hye (11 years old), Eun of 7 and BoKum of 5 remained. Together they set off for the journey of 100 miles to the border.

After a stop in a village where an acquaintance lived, Han realized that she can not take care of the of all 3 children: torn by grief, she was forced to leave the little BoKum with a widow who was family friend. The sister now says: "I am so sorry for him, I know I'll never see him. But my mother had been tortured, she could not make it otherwise."

After crossing the border, they were unable to hide in China. Walking through the countryside, small Jin hears a song that she had never heard it was a Christian hymn. Hypnotized by the music she approached the clandestine group of Christians: "As I listened my grandmother appeared to me, saying that this was a place where I could be cared for."

The girl had encountered underground missionaries and giving Bible schools. She discovered the greatness of the Gospel and love of other Christians, and decided to convert. Han's mother, however, was against this: "She told me that if I converted, I would no longer be her daughter. But Christ asked me to have faith in Him, and he was right." Some time later, after getting to know the Christian missionaries, Han and even small Eun converted.

After 10 years of living underground in China, the family managed to obtain the status of political refugees to the United States and now live in America. Jin wants to become a missionary: "Sooner or later I will go to Korea, and I want to bring the good news of Christ to all my brothers."

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