For the 9th year running, the “Hermit Kingdom” of North Korea has once again topped the Open Doors World Watch List—our annual ranking of the world's worst persecuting countries. In recent months of course, North Korea has also featured in international headlines, with the worst escalation of violence and volatility between North and South Korea since the 1953 armistice.
For both these reasons—the ongoing political instability coupled with the continuing merciless persecution of Christians—Open Doors is issuing an urgent call to prayer for North Korea. In his book, Prayer: The Real Battle, Open Doors founder Brother Andrew urges us to respond to crisis moments such as this by first asking, “Is there a church to be cared for?”
The growth and vibrancy of the church in South Korea is well known. But there is also a church in North Korea... which couldn’t be more different! There are approximately 400,000 Christians living in isolation behind North Korea’s closed borders. All have to practice their faith in secret—and discovery comes at a great price.
Last year, one small house church in Pyungsung province was raided by the police. Three members were immediately sentenced to death. The other 20 were sent to prison. Sadly, they are not the only ones—we believe that around 50,000 believers are currently incarcerated in the country’s notorious labor camps.
Bringing help and hope
Open Doors is working to bring help and hope to North Korea’s beleaguered Christians. Of course, there’s much that we simply can’t risk disclosing. But your support for our projects in the region will help us deliver Bibles, provide education and emergency relief aid—as well as fund our strategic ministry on the Chinese side of the border with North Korea.
It was through this ministry that we first met Sister Lee. Like countless others, Sister Lee crossed into China in desperate search of food for her family. The authorities allow a few of these journeys—but on the strict condition that their citizens travel promptly home. A failure to return brings severe punishment on seven members of a defector’s family and friends.
Stunned by God’s love
During her stay in China, Sister Lee found refuge in an Open Doors safe house in one border town. Local Christians shared the gospel with Lee, and gave her a copy of the Scriptures to read. Stunned by the news of God’s love and mercy, Sister Lee gave her life to Christ.
All too soon it was time for Lee to return to North Korea. She longed to take her Bible—but knew that the risks were too great. A simple search at the border was all it would take to land Lee in a labor camp... or worse. And so, before she departed, she committed to memory the entire book of Romans.
Prayer... the real battle!
Sister Lee—and all those North Korean believers she represents—desperately need your prayers in the coming days. As Brother Andrew says in his new book, “Prayer is the real battle!” And please pray for Open Doors teams in their dangerous—yet vital—work. As one courageous North Korean pastor said, “Believers here are in danger every day yet still they follow the Lord. This could not have been possible if it wasn’t for your endless effort and love towards us. Please continue to pray for us.”
Source: Open Doors USA