Canadian pastor returns home after N Korea ordeal

Claudine Rigal
Août 14, 2017

Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim, the Christian pastor who last week was freed and returned home to Canada, revealed what he had to suffer through at the North Korean labor camp where he was held.

On Sunday, the pastor addressed his congregation and opened up about his time in prison, saying it "still feels like a dream" that he was able to return home. "I had tears of joy", Noh said.

Because he was unable to have contact with any other prisoners, Lim said there were days of "overwhelming loneliness" in prison. "It was hard to see when and how the entire ordeal would end".

"I was amazed to see him", Cho said.

During the winter, the pastor was forced to dig large holes in the frozen ground.

Speaking to his congregants in Korean, he added: "It's a miracle for me to be here today".

"The mud was so hard that it took two days to dig one hole, 16 hours", he told hundreds of parishioners.

"It was incredibly challenging", he admitted. "My upper body was sweating; my fingers and toes were frostbitten", he said. I also worked inside a coal storage facility, breaking apart frozen coal. "I always knew Canada was a very warm and compassionate nation, but through my ordeal I really began to grasp that very deeply". James Lim said his dad was extremely grateful to the Canadian government.

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim arrived in Canada on August 12.

When Lim arrived at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., he was greeted by a cheering crowd.

But some projects he worked on, including a noodle plant and flour mills, were linked to associates of Jang Song-Thaek, the purged uncle of leader Kim Jong-Un. Jang was arrested and executed for treason in December 2013.

That was his first public appearance since his release on Wednesday, during a week when Washington and Pyongyang were exchanging escalating threats of violence amid their long-running dispute over North Korea's nuclear program. Pak said it was not clear whether Pastor Lim, 62, would be at the press conference, but said he would attend church services on Sunday. South Korea, the US and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions, and foreigners have said after their release that their declarations of guilt were coerced while in North Korean custody. "Then I was turned over to the Canadian delegation, '" Park quoted Lim as telling him. "(But) I do not think it is directly connected to the tensions the USA president has ratcheted up.

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