Kim Duk-Soo will never forget November 20, 1950. That was the day Communist troops found him hiding with his father in a root cellar.

Kim, now the administrator of Presbyterian Hospital in Taegu, has difficulty telling his story. He is not alone. Hundreds of thousands of Christians made up the human wave escaping the North for the free South. And each has a similar story of deliverance from a regime opposed to religion.

“When we heard the soldiers coming, I was sure we would be killed,” says Kim, his eyes filling with tears. “My Daddy told me we could not tell a lie to save our lives.”

Kim’s father had pastored the same church for 42 years. He had helped his wife hide their children by covering them with rice bags and dirt. But after two days of hiding, Kim uncovered himself. Just then, Communist troops approached the house. Kim and his father ran to the back yard and hid in the root cellar.

“I told God I would serve him all my life if I got out of the root cellar alive.”

The soldiers found Kim and his father and took them off to a makeshift prison. They were to be executed the next morning. That evening, a captain approached Kim. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. For a fleeting moment, life for a lie seemed the only logical way to go. But the young boy remembered his father’s instruction. “I am a Christian,” Kim said. The captain drew closer, and whispered, “I am a Christian too. I used to be a Sunday school teacher before the war. You must escape tonight. I will help you.” Kim fled that night, having to leave his father under heavy guard awaiting his eventual death.

The young Kim reached an American army base, and while “hanging around” there discovered an organ and began teaching himself to play. An American he remembers only as Captain Shoemaker learned of his musical interests and ordered a spinet from the States. For the next ten years, Kim played that organ for chapel services at the base.

It is Mother’s Day at First Presbyterian in Taegu. “A Mighty Fortress” reverberates from 2,000 Korean voices. As he has done for 30 years, Kim plays the organ. “I should have been killed after the Communists found me, but God sent that Christian guard to help me escape. When I play the organ at church, I am doing it for God.”

By Lyn Cryderman.

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