PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

Following a seminar in Truro about persecuted christians around the world, it was thought it would be good to share the information, and ask you to join us in praying for them.

A new country each month:

This month's focus is on the persecution of Christians in . . . . 

NORTH KOREA

The Korean Peninsular has had a chequered history, mostly at the hands of China or Japan as their respective empires ebbed and flowed. In 1910 Japan annexed Korea and it remained under its control until Japan’s World War 2 defeat in 1945. Korea was then split along the 38th parallel. The south administered by United States, with democratic elections, and the north by Russia and the imposition of a communist regime. In 1948 Syngman Ree was elected President of the Republic of Korea (South) and Kim Il Sung became President of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North). In 1950 the North,with Chinese support, thinking US/United Nations would not defend the South, attacked it, starting the Korean War, with massive destruction and loss of life on both sides. In 1953 an armistice was signed and is still in force today. In 1991 both South and North joined the UN, though technically still at war with each other.

In the South, with massive injection of capital, the country forged ahead industrially and, with freedom of religion, the Christian Church grew enormously.

In the North, with an ever stricter control of the individual and central control of the economy, the country struggled to grow, with poor harvests, and low industrial output.

The ruling hierarchy, headed by the Kim family, developed the Juche (self reliance) ideology, in effect an extreme cult of personality, which venerates the Kim family, presently Kim Jong-un.

Any other belief systems, especially Christianity seen as an import of the west, are viewed as a threat to the regime’s authority and are suppressed mercilessly.

It is illegal to be a Christian or to take part in any Christian activity.The authorities even set up fake prayer or worship meetings to trap Christians, and children are encouraged at school to report on their parents or others in their family if they are praying or reading the Scriptures. Possession of a Bible or Christian literature is an offence carrying a death sentence, and public executions are used as a warning and a deterrent.

Those found praying or meeting others to pray or even talk about Christianity are usually detained in labour camps where they are abused, tortured and often literally worked to death. Not only that but innocent family members also suffer the same treatment.

There is also tight control over all media, so information other than that provided by the government is difficult to access.

Many thousands of North Koreans have fled to China and South Korea to escape persecution and famine, which is always likely in the country. A whole network of channels and safe houses are set up over the border in China, to help refugees reach South Korea. Sadly any caught by the Chinese authorities are routinely repatriated to North Korea where they can expect no mercy.

In spite of this terrible persecution there are thought to be several hundred thousand followers of Christ in this awful country. 

PRAYERS NEEDED...

• Praise God that he is building his church in North Korea despite the government’s brutal efforts to eradicate it.

• Pray for the protection of secret believers in North Korea, from persecution and from Covid 19, and that God will encourage them and provide for all their needs.

• Pray for believers who are imprisoned. Ask that even while in prison they will know God’s presence and love.

• Despite the risk, North Korean Christians share the gospel with others. Pray that they will shine as lights in the darkest places on earth.

• Pray for a political breakthrough in North Korea that will result in justice and freedom for all its beleaguered citizens.