Voice of the Martyrs has launched a campaign seeking the release of Jang Moon Seok, an ethnic Korean Chinese Christian who was kidnapped along the border by North Korea and sentenced to 15 years in prison for telling North Koreans about Christ.
Jang recently spent his 2,000th day in prison.
[Jang] is a simple man who never did anything political,” said Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley. “He just helped North Korean people for many years. That should never be a crime, and Christians should join together to help Deacon Jang and his family.”
Jang was friends with pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, a Chinese man who lived along the border and discipled 1,000 North Koreans before being killed by North Korean assassins in 2016. Christian Headlines profiled Han last year.
Jang ministered to defecting North Koreans in Changbai, China, alongside Pastor Han.
“We believe the reason for [Jang’s] kidnapping was to gather information about the North Korean ministry work we were doing with Pastor Han,” Foley said.
He is serving a 15-year prison sentence for defaming the regime, attempting to incite subversion of state power, and providing aid and the gospel to North Koreans. Several North Koreans have encountered Jang in prison since 2014, Voice of the Martyrs said.
Voice of the Martyrs is urging Christians to email or write Kim Song, North Korean’s ambassador to the United Nations, advocating for Jang’s release. Emails and letters should avoid criticism and accusations, Voice of the Martyrs said. Emails can be mailed to [email protected]t. Physical letters can be mailed to: Ambassador Kim Song; DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations; 820 2nd Ave RM 13b; New York N.Y. 10017.
One of those defectors, a man known as Sang-chul, told his story in a 2019 Voice of the Martyrs video. Pastor Han helped Sang-chul make money selling mushrooms. Pastor Han also told him about Christ.
“One day I asked Pastor Han for a Bible,” Sang-chul said. “He knew that if I was caught with a Bible, my life will be in danger. But over time, I persuaded him. I showed the Bible to my wife. At first, she refused to even look at it. ‘Why would you bring that here?’ -- she cried. She knew that if anyone reported that you have even glanced at a Bible, you would be arrested. And not just you, but you and all of your relatives [would be] sent to concentration camps for years and years and years.
“Over time, my wife, too, learned that God is real. She found hope.”
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.