Detained pastor Hyeon Soo Lim looks over one of the Light Presbyterian Church’s agricultural projects in North Korea. (Photo courtesy of Light Presbyterian Church)

Church’s faith resolute despite pastor missing in North Korea

“We need to take God’s calling on our life seriously and not sell out for a routine existence.”

MISSISSAUGA, ON—Congregants of The Light Presbyterian Church are continuing to pray for their for their founding pastor, who has been detained in North Korea since early March. Despite the lack of information about his condition, they remain hopeful that God will bring reverend Hyeon Soo Lim home.

“We want to intercede not only for reverend Lim and the church, but also for the nation of North Korea,” explains Lisa Pak, a family friend and member of the church’s pastoral team. “Of course this is going longer than we would like, but we always remind ourselves that God’s will trumps our desires, He hears our prayers and He is good.” The church held a special prayer service for its pastor June 28.

Lim disappeared while visiting a number of humanitarian facilities in North Korea. Under his leadership, the missions-centred church regularly sent small teams to the Hermit Kingdom to oversee agricultural projects, food factories, schools, orphanages, and a nursing home they founded during the past 20 years. Those who know him well say he had a long-term vision and wouldn’t have risked the opportunities they had by overtly sharing the gospel.

“There are so many rumours [about what happened],” Pak says, “but nothing can be substantiated. For those of us who know him, it’s a discipline of not letting our minds go there. One of the reasons for this prayer meeting is to help ground us. It reminds us that even when we don’t know what’s going on, God certainly does.”

When they pray, Pak says many members feel Lim will be released in God’s time and that God has a purpose through all of this.

“It’s not just that he will come out, I think there is something that God is working in the hearts of the people who are around him right now.”

In the meantime, Pak says the ordeal has inspired them to carry on Lim’s vision of discipling the young Korean diaspora and doing evangelism among unreached people-groups.

“For me, this has sharpened my vision, expanded my prayer life and my sense of trusting God daily. It has reminded our church how important it is to pass on that faith properly to the next generation, with courageous, sound doctrine. We need to take God’s calling on our life seriously and not sell out for a routine existence. We’ve always been missions oriented, but this has galvanized us more for the courageous work of Christ and understanding what a privilege it is to serve Him.”

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About the author


Senior Correspondent

Craig Macartney lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he follows global politics and dreams of life in the mission field.