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Family of pastor released from North Korea says, 'His faith has grown stronger'

From CTV - August 12, 2017

The son of the Toronto-area pastor who served more than two years of a life sentence with hard labour in North Korea for anti-state activities says his father will worship with his congregation on Sunday morning, following a day of rest and reunion with his family.

It was surreal from the beginning to witness my father coming off an airplane after two-and-a-half years, James Lim told reporters at a press conference on Saturday. His faith has grown stronger.

Hyeon Soo Lim, 62, landed in Ontario on Saturday morning, according to the familys spokesperson Lisa Pak. He had not seen his relatives in person since his 2015 arrest on a missionary trip where he is said to have been mainly working to improve food security within the insular communist state.

North Korean authorities freed Hyeon Soo Lim earlier this week. A six-member Canadian diplomatic envoy travelled to Pyongyang to help secure his release.

James Lim said his father first embraced his mother, and then went straight towards his infant granddaughter, who was born while he was imprisoned, when the family was reunited.

It was just incredible. Just to see two people that I love more than anybody else in the world finally meet and embrace, James Lim said. You play in your head many times what that moment is going to be like. Its far greater than anything you could have imagined.

Pak said the family still does not know why North Korean authorities released Hyeon Soo Lim, or what led to his arrest. She estimates the pastor travelled to the country over 110 times to do similar work over the course of two decades.

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