Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, was known as ‘the Jerusalem of the East’ in 1907. Over a century later, that’s hard to believe. North Korea is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Anyone who is even suspected of following Jesus faces imprisonment, torture – even death. And yet, despite these terrible risks, the church in North Korea is enduring – and growing.
Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans follow Jesus in secret. Despite meagre food resources, Christians in North Korea perform a practice they call ‘holy rice’. They take a little of their food, even if they don’t have much themselves, and share it with others who are in even greater need. Their lives are constantly scrutinised by the Inminban, a neighbourhood watch system where the leader writes reports on their neighbours, trying to work out if anyone is disloyal to the ruling regime. Christians often don’t even tell their children about their faith
in Jesus until they are older for fear that they might let something slip.
And when you know what kind of fate awaits those who are discovered, you can understand why. If someone is even suspected of being a Christian, their entire family will disappear, sometimes up to three generations. They may be executed. Often they are sent to horrific labour camps where torture and rape are common practices. Open Doors estimate that between 50,000 and 70,000 Christian are imprisoned in these camps. One mission worker spoke
to a family forced to work as slaves when their faith was discovered.
They told him, “We thought God had forgotten us. How else could he allow us to suffer so much? Every day we worked and at night we needed to find our own food to survive. We wanted to give up on God and deny our faith.” But for this family, a miracle happened. They were released, and local Christians, supported by Open Doors, were able to help them resettle. The family said, “We just found out that God has mobilised Christians outside this country to pray for us and help us financially. We are astonished that God loves us so much that He uses brothers and sisters we don’t know to support us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Source: Open Doors
Bible Study: 1 Timothy 6:12
APRIL: Pray that these believers would be resourced with Bibles and all they need. Pray WIDER that they would be ‘wise as serpents and innocent as doves’ in the way they deal with the authorities.