1 North Korea
WHO IS THE LEADER OF NORTH KOREA?
Kim Jong-un is the leader of North Korea. Modern day North Korea was founded by Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and the family are worshipped as gods. Anyone who dares to believe in a higher authority than the Kim family is considered an enemy of the state.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN NORTH KOREA?
We estimate that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians in North Korea. However, it’s difficult to get an exact figure, as Christians in North Korea must keep their faith completely secret.
Of those, we estimate that between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in terrible labour camps – simply for choosing to follow Jesus. And yet, despite the risks, the church in North Korea is slowly but steadily growing.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN NORTH KOREA?
Christians are considered enemies of the state because they dare to believe in a higher authority than the Kim family. The North Korean regime demands absolute loyalty and obedience, and the Kim family are worshipped like gods. Portraits of the Kim family must be hung in all homes and schools. The first words parents must teach their children are ‘Thank you, Father Kim Il-sung’.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN NORTH KOREA?
Christians must keep their faith completely secret. If a Christian has a Bible, or part of one, it will be carefully hidden and only read when the believer is sure they are alone.
Most Christians do not even tell their own children about their faith until they are older teenagers for fear that they may let something slip. Read Sang-Hwa’s story of discovering her family’s secret faith as a child.
If a Christian is discovered in North Korea, they will be arrested and imprisoned in one of North Korea’s terrible labour camps. In the camps, Christians are worked liked slaves and often tortured; most are never able to escape.
And yet, our brothers and sisters in North Korea have decided that knowing Jesus is worth the risks they face. The church in North Korea is not only surviving, but growing - and they have great hope for the future. One Christian has shared: "One day the borders will open and we will unite with the South Korean and the Chinese church to bring the gospel to some of the darkest places on this earth."
And even in the darkness of the labour camps, God is at work. Read Hea Woo’s story of planting a church in a labour camp toilet.
"It’s impossible to imagine a car without an engine. In the same way, we cannot imagine how we’d be able to survive withOUT your concern, support and love for our believers."
- North Korean believer
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN NORTH KOREA?
You can give to provide vital support
Open Doors secret workers are smuggling in enough food to keep 60,000 believers alive in North Korea, as well smuggling in illegal Bibles, broadcasting Christian radio programmes into North Korea, and running safe houses at the Chinese border for those who are able to escape.
Every £59 could provide a monthly relief pack to keep a North Korean family alive during the freezing winter.
You can tell others
The story of Hannah, a North Korean believer who survived a labour camp, is included in our free Can you believe it? pack. Order yours and inspire your church or small group with stories of faith, hope and love.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.” You can't be with your North Korean brothers and sisters in person, but you can stand with them in prayer.
A PRAYER FOR NORTH KOREA
Lord Jesus, please protect those who follow You in North Korea; especially those who suffer in labour camps and prisons. Protect Open Doors secret workers as they smuggle in vital support. Please work in the heart of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, and give him revelations of You. Lord, please break the power of evil in this country, so that Christians may be free to worship you. Amen.
NORTH KOREA RESOURCES: