By Mark Ellis —
She was known as the “greedy woman” who refused to share with the poor — even with her own relatives. She had a comfortable existence, in relative terms, in a totalitarian communist system where the average wage is five dollars a day and many struggle with malnutrition due to inadequate food supplies.
“She did not even share a bowl of rice with her cousins,” says Peter Kim, with Cornerstone Ministries International.
One day the woman traveled to China and stayed in a relative’s home. A Christian missionary visited the home and she overheard an unusual conversation about someone named Jesus, but she didn’t pay much attention.
The next day the same missionary came to visit and she heard him tell the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes. As she listened to the story, her curiosity mounted. “How could that be?” she asked several times.
Then she heard about Jesus dying on the cross for her sins. “Why in the world would someone die for someone else on a cross?” she asked.
Either that man was mentally retarded or the real God, she thought to herself. It bothered her all night and all day. Her consternation continued for several more days.
She actually stopped eating for a day as she pondered the reality of Jesus. “Did he also die for me?” she kept asking. “What would happen to my sin? Could I really go to heaven?”
After days of internal struggle, a mustard seed of faith opened her heart to believe. She invited Jesus to be her Savior and Lord.
When she returned home from China, she brought gifts of food and began to distribute them to her neighbors and relatives. “Even after all the gifts were given out, she sold her belongings and gave out more,” Kim notes. “Beggars and hungry children were fed. People gathered at her house and received food.”
The word began to spread. Something happened to the “greedy lady.” She has changed completely!
Unfortunately, the word also spread to the government security bureau and an agent was sent to investigate her.
When he went to her home he found her sharing freely about her changed life, talking about how thankful she was to know she belonged to God. She told about Jesus feeding the 5,000, walking on water. She told about how He died and took all our sins upon Himself and was resurrected from the grave.
“With this resurrection Jesus demonstrated that He is the Son of God sent to save people,” she declared.
The security bureau agent heard enough to arrest her and take her in for further interrogation. Throughout the harsh questioning she maintained God’s peace and actually smiled as they yelled at her. This bothered the security official even more.
As punishment, he placed her on her knees in a small metal cage, where she could not stand up. As hours
and days went by on her knees in a bent position, her muscles cramped, her circulation was impaired, and she suffered severe pain.
Even worse, many fleas, lice and other bugs on the wood floor burrowed into her flesh. “After a few days, these creatures placed their eggs on her decaying flesh. By then she could no longer walk but needed to be carried by other prisoners,” Kim recounts.
As they carried her, a strong odor caused people to turn their heads away from her.
“Her illness deepened and she died without any treatment. North Korea does not provide medical treatment to Christians in prison.”
The woman who related this story was a member of the security bureau herself and witnessed the incidents described. She managed to escape North Korea and became a Christian, partly as a result of the testimony of the “greedy lady” and other believers suffering for their faith in North Korea’s prisons.
She shared the story with Peter Kim at a pizza restaurant in South Korea. It was her first time at a pizza restaurant.
When the pizza was brought to their table, the aroma of gorgonzola cheese was noticed. “After a bite, she said it smells like that old lady’s decaying flesh,” Kim recounts.
When she made this unsettling comment, Kim stared at her for a moment, then a tear dropped from his cheek on to the pizza. Then the former security bureau agent also began to weep.
After a minute she regained her composure. “That old lady was martyred. She never denied God, but gave thanks to the end.”
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