A Second Miracle!

During our first summer in North Korea, Stephen began treatment for a long line of people that had queued up to be treated for various muscular and skeletal disorders. Despite our initial hopes to treat young and acute patients, we discovered that most of the patients coming to the clinic were elderly with chronic medical conditions. Stephen was worried that there was nothing as a Chiropractor that he could do for his patients. Many of them were beyond Chiropractic care and required surgery.

But then an elderly lady came in for treatment for a condition known as “frozen shoulders”. We explained to her that even if we had the best technology and doctors working with us, we might be able to help her after several months of treatment. She came back to us the next day, and to our surprise, after the second treatment, the lady was unexplainably able to lift her arms all the way up to her shoulders. It was nothing short of a miracle!

Site Where Miracles Occurred in the NE Free Economic Zone of North Korea

Site Where Miracles Occurred in the NE Free Economic Zone of North Korea

Shortly following this incident, Stephen was suddenly interrupted by a high official from the capital city. From the second floor of his treatment room, he saw a black Mercedes drive up the hospital driveway. Needless to say, this was a rare sight in that city.  There were few cars to begin with, let alone seeing a North Korean drive up in a Mercedes! All personnel, except for Stephen and his accompanying doctors, were asked to evacuate the room immediately.

In came a middle-aged man, carried in piggy-back by a few escorting officials.  He was thin and in so much pain that he could not even stand up on his own. This high official from the capital city was visiting the region for important international meetings, yet he was unable to continue attending the meetings due to his poor physical condition. For the duration of these negotiations, he had been hospitalized in the main city hospital. Once he heard about Stephen, a foreign doctor, being in town who was achieving positive results, he had his escorting officials carry him to see Stephen.

Stephen's heart began beating fast; his nerves transmitting through his body made it hard for him to breathe. He knew how significant it was to treat such an important official. This could make or break his acceptance in North Korea. Calmly, he once again laid his hands on his patient. It took no more than ten or fifteen minutes to treat him. The official's response was, "It’s a miracle!" 

A little surprised, Stephen replied, "You may get up now." Unexpectedly, he stood up, and walked out of the room, down the steps, on his own, without any assistance.

At the follow-up treatment the next day, the official made practically a full recovery. In front of the ten doctors shadowing Stephen, he commanded the doctors to, "Listen to this man closely and learn all that you can from him!"

We were both shocked and amazed. A high North Korean official was not only supporting our presence and work in North Korea knowing that we were Christian humanitarian workers, but he was also urging the North Korean doctors to learn all that they could from us.

We never saw that man again. Over the years, we have often wondered who he really was. But it was not long after that incident that Stephen was asked to come to Pyongyang and treat patients in the capital city. Our suspicion is that he had some influence in granting that invitation.

North Korea or “NK” for short can also be known as the country that you “never know” what will happen. Although this often implies to the fact that we never know if things are going to go the way we envisioned them to go, from our experience, it also means that surprising things like this can happen. Incredible opportunities can be laid right in our laps.

This encounter with the Pyongyang official was not something that we had ever expected to happen. It was the second major miraculous healing that we experienced in North Korea. So many surprising opportunities have been opened up to us in North Korea. Our family set out to work in the Northeast Free Economic Zone in North Korea, but beyond our initial plans and expectations, we later ended up also living five years in the capital city. We are extremely grateful for the unique experiences we have had in North Korea. And despite the current political climate and the many challenges we are facing, from experience we know that there can still be good things in store for us just around the corner, perhaps even greater things than we have envisioned.

Joy Yoon