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North Korean Escapes Internment Camp Through Friend's Sacrifice

In 2005, Shin Dong-hyuk, became the only person to ever escape from a "total-control zone" internment camp in North Korea and live to tell the tale. Because Shin was born in the prison, he knew no other life. In his mind, the entire world was Camp 14, and there were only two types of people in the world: prisoners and guards. You were born as one or the other, and you lived your entire life that way. He later said that he never considered escape because he always assumed that "the society outside the camp would be similar to that inside the camp."

Every day, Shin was told what to do and he did it. For twenty-three years, he was always hungry and tired from daily hard labor.

But Shin said everything changed in one day. A new prisoner named Park was brought to Camp 14, and with him came tales of a different world on the other side of the electric fence. He talked about living in cities and traveling to China. But one particular thing Park talked about defined freedom in Shin Dong-hyuk's mind more than anything else: broiled chicken. Park told him that outside the electrified fence of his world was another world where you could eat broiled chicken—and you could eat it anytime you wanted.

Shin had never eaten chicken. But he knew what chicken tasted like: freedom. This quest for broiled chicken led Shin and Park to attempt to escape over the electrified fence. Park touched the fence first and immediately died. An untold number of volts coursed through his body and stopped his heart. His body became a bridge over which Shin was able to climb to freedom. That day he became the only person to ever escape from [a "total-control zone" internment camp in North Korea] and live to tell the tale.

Shin Dong-hyuk is no longer a prisoner. He now lives in South Korea and eats broiled chicken whenever he wants. This chicken, along with his freedom, was purchased by a friend who gave his life for him.

Possible Preaching Angles: C.J. Green summarizes this story: "Christianity is a religion borne of an event so remarkably similar—Christ dies so that we might live. By his sacrifice, we are freed from the prisons of our selves—freed to eat delicious food, freed to be imperfect and make mistakes…. free, full stop."

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