Mississauga Pastor Returns to Church After Being Held Captive in North Korea

Hyeon Soo Lim was released from prison earlier in the week after a Canadian delegation - led by Daniel Jean, who serves as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's national security and intelligence adviser - travelled to Pyongyang, North Korea.

A Canadian pastor freed from a North Korean prison was met with cheers as he waded through a mob of people at church Sunday morning, making his first public appearance since arriving home.

Lim told the congregation that he worked outside eight hours a day even in the summer heat, and his health failed due to the hard labor.

Sitting on a "freezing ground", the pastor had to dig deep holes in order to combat his inner demons and prevent the frostbites.

The Canadian government has also thanked Sweden for its role in securing Lim's release, which comes as the United States and North Korea are engaged in a standoff after Pyongyang successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In direct conversations with North Korea and through China, Freeland said Canada sought to "get North Korea to understand that it must get off this path, which is so destructive for North Korea and the world".

"I was amazed to see him", Cho said.

He said his moments of "discouragement, resentment and grumbling" turned into "courage, joy and thanksgiving".

The two nuclear powers have been steadily increasing their rhetoric, leading Freeland to condemn North Korea's actions but suggest it's time to reel in the verbal threats.

Family spokeswoman Lisa Pak said in a statement Thursday that "there is a long way to go" in terms of Lim's healing and said he needs privacy while receiving unspecified medical attention. His son said Lim lost about 50 pounds during his incarceration.

Before Mr. Lim took the stage to raucous cheers, the congregation sang a hymn he wrote while imprisoned.

Pastor Lim ended the church service with the Benediction, praying for God's blessings for both North and South Korea.

When Lim was reunited with his family, he met his granddaughter, under a year old, for the first time, according to his son.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she is "deeply relieved" and "happy" that Lim has been released. I finally came home yesterday (Saturday, August 12) landing at 10 am on Canadian soil. His supporters have said he was on a humanitarian mission to North Korea when he was detained.

Vanessa Coleman

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