By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – June 9, 2017) — A decade ago, 23 South Korean missionaries were captured and held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some now say they miss their captivity, because of the unusual intimacy they experienced with God during that time.
The hostages attended Saemmul Presbyterian Church in Bundang, a commuter town south of Seoul.
They “felt the presence of Jesus” in such an unbelievable way in prison, they wish they could return, Francis Chan told The Bridge 2017 conference, according to a report by the Gospel Herald.
The missionaries were taken hostage when the Taliban captured their bus traveling between Kabul and Kandahar. Church leaders said the Koreans were in Afghanistan as volunteers to help doctors in the hospitals and teachers in schools.
One of the missionaries told Chan: “’These women that were in these camps with us, they come to me and they say, ‘Pastor, don’t you wish we were still imprisoned by the Taliban?’”
“They tell me, ‘When I was surrounded by these soldiers, I felt the presence of Jesus in there with me. Now that we are back in Seoul, I am trying to experience that intimacy with Him but I can’t. I fast and I pray and I don’t feel it. I would rather be back there because of the intimacy I had with him.’”
Martyrs for the faith – beginning with the Apostles and extending throughout church history – felt this same peace, Chan told the conference.
When Nebuchadnezzar threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace, Jesus was there in their midst, protecting them, he noted.
As Stephen was about to be stoned to death, God comforted him with a heavenly vision, Chan said. “Is there a special fellowship that we share in that suffering that we will miss out on because we just think comfort is everything and we just want to pull everyone into our comfort and into our civilian affairs rather than joining in their suffering and losing our life so that we can actually find something so much better?”
Chan was shocked to learn that two of the South Korean missionaries even got into a squabble over who would have the honor of being martyred first.
“He talked about how they got into this argument because they found out that they were going to be killed one at a time. This man I was having dinner with was saying to this other guy, ‘Look, I know they are going to kill us one at a time. I die first,’” Chan recalled.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and is also the founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions. Previously, Mark co-hosted a TV show called “Windows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, aired on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/), which is now co-hosted by Dr. Garry Ansdell, Senior Pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California.
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