“God also comforted me and brought a secret fellowship into existence”, says Hae-Woo, a Christian survivor of North Korea’s labour camps. “Every Sunday we would gather in the toilets and pray.” It is thought that there are up to 100,000 Christians being held in prison labour camps, where they are clothed in rags, hungry, abused, tortured, worked to death, and some executed for their faith. Often the whole family, including the parents and children, of those suspected of being Christians are imprisoned.
To be a Christian in North Korea is illegal. In fact, North Korea is often cited as the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. The country’s secret believers must be extremely cautious. The country is ruled by an ideology known as Juche, which demands unchallenged veneration of the ruling member of the Kim family, currently Kim Jong Un. Christianity is a threat to this all-controlling system, which is religious, social and economic.
North Koreans isolated from the world and no access to foreign media or The government enforces a surveillance society, where everyone is monitored and unauthorised activity is punished. Teachers may ask children if they have seen their parents reading the Bible or saying prayers and authorities sometimes attempt to trap Christians by organising fake prayer meetings.
Starvation, isolation and the regimes strict repression have caused hundreds of thousands of North Koreans, including many Christians, to flee to South Korea via China. However, Chinese authorities routinely repatriate any North Koreans who manage to escape.
Lift up in prayer North Korean Christians subjected to a life of secrecy and caution. Pray that God will protect them and grant them great wisdom in how to live out their faith. Pray especially for Christians who are living in prison camps, for strength for each day and perseverance to endure. Ask also for a transformation of the political system so that the country’s citizens are released from fear.