Yesterday North Korea launched a missile, hoping to put a satellite into space, as part of its 100 year celebration of the birth of Kim Il-Sung. The missile exploded before leaving the atmosphere and fell into the sea. Members of the world community, including the US and South Korea, had threatened to cut off food aid if the government launched the missile.
North Koreans are taught by their government, that their leader is god. They are required to worship him, memorize his sayings, and do as he instructs. This Sunday, April 15, 2012, the country will celebrate their annual Day of the Sun celebration, in honor of the founder of their religion, Kim Il-Sung. Throughout the country, citizens, already suffering starvation and poverty, are required to paint their houses, clean up the streets, repair their fences, and fix everything to honor their leader. They must pay for the expenses themselves. In addition, many families must pay 20,000 won to the state to cover the costs of the festivities. An average worker in North Korea receives 2,000 won per month in salary. Roughly ten million people in the country are malnourished, many living on grass and bark!
North Korea is the most hostile country in the world, to Christians, according to World Watch, of Open Doors, an organization that monitors persecution of Christians world-wide. It’s estimated that about 25% of the Christians in that country are imprisoned in labor camps for refusing to worship their “Great Leader,” Kim Jong-Un. They must bow to him, wear lapel pins honoring him, display his image in their homes, and obey him. One of the church leaders working with Open Doors reported this regarding the current situation:
“All executives, citizens and even students are forced to attend meetings. Between December 30th and January 8th there have been thorough investigations to find anyone who has not participated sincerely or has not participated at all in the national mourning of the death of the leader. Therefore all criticism meetings and self-reflection classes are being closely watched and secret agents are seen everywhere. All these movements are to prevent any sort of individual dangerous elements who may not devote themselves to the ‘military first’ policy and protest against its current system. It seems like it is part of an extreme reign of terror just to create a terror atmosphere. It is very difficult to speak our minds, even to our friends and family. There is a good chance we will be arrested if we speak freely.”
Christian parents who teach their faith to their children are imprisoned, their children with them. Many Christians in the country seek refuge by escaping into China, but they are repatriated when discovered. Bibles are rare. Often, while hiding in China, North Korean Christians will memorize a book of the Bible, to “bring back with them” to their brothers and sisters in their homeland.
What you can do:
- Pray and fast for the country. Pray for the leaders as well as the people. Pray for those living in darkness and despair that the light of the good news of Jesus will change everything, including their leaders.
- Sunday, April 15 is a Global Day of Prayer for North Korea. Join together with Jesus’ followers everywhere to support our brothers and sisters in North Korea.
- April 23-29 is North Korea Freedom Week. Consider fasting and praying with believers around the world for freedom for these precious people.
- Pray for imprisoned Christians and their families.
- Pray for escaped Christians and their families.
Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, You are the ruler of all nations. You’ve said that no leadership is in place except what You have established. You have a plan in place for the nation of North Korea. We can’t understand it, but we believe that what You say is true. Right now we are looking at things through a dark, discordant mirror, but one day we’ll see with clarity all that You are doing in this country that You love. We pray for Your children who are imprisoned for their faith. Encompass them completely–walk before them, beside them, and behind them. Shelter them in Your mighty fortress. Keep their hearts pure, filled with love for their enemies, blessing those who abuse them, praying for those who curse them. Protect their children. Keep them safe from the evil one. Flood their lives with Light, refresh them with Your Healing Water, and feed them with Your Living Bread. We pray for the lost children of North Korea. Lord, don’t let the adversary blind them to the light of Your Truth. Send Your Spirit like a refiner’s fire throughout the land of North Korea–set the prisoners free, release the captives, heal the broken, bring Your children back to You. Protect your people during this “celebration”, and bring them all safely into the kingdom of the Son of Your Love. In Jesus’ most powerful name, Amen!