Two North Korean Christians Killed for Their Faith
Jan 23 2013 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
Cross on Protestant Church in Pyongyang, North Korea
Open Doors has confirmed the deaths of two Christians in North Korea. One Christian was recently shot while attempting to return to China for more Bible training. The other died in one of North Korea’s notorious labor camps.
The first Christian killed had travelled to China several times before. He first came to China because people told him he could earn more money there. After working in China for six months, however, he still hadn’t received any money, even though he had found several jobs. Later, he met an Open Doors worker who cared for him, and he became interested in the Christian faith. After studying the Bible and receiving teaching, he became a believer. Eventually, he chose to return to North Korea.
“He was very excited about his new faith and wanted to share the gospel with his family,” says an Open Doors worker. “He wanted to come back to China to study the Bible more so he could explain the Christian faith better to his family. It is heartbreaking that he was killed. I cannot stop thinking, ‘If only he had arrived a little later at the border river, the guard would not have seen and shot him. He could still be alive today.’”
Another Christian died recently in a labor camp. This man also studied the Bible while living in China. After eight months, he decided to return to North Korea. According to Open Doors, he became a dedicated and faithful Christian. When North Korean authorities found out about his secret faith, he was sent to prison.
“We just received an update that he was dead,” says the Open Doors worker. “He was terribly tortured because of his faith. He was also forced to do heavy labor while hardly receiving any food. Before his return to North Korea, he was baptized and willing to deal with the all the hardships he had to face. We never tell people to go back to North Korea, but he was happy to. We are devastated to hear about these murders. We know Christians die for their faith almost every day in North Korea, but it is still hard to deal with.”
North Korea has been No. 1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List for the past 11 years. Nowhere else in the world is the persecution of Christians so intense. Even the possession of the Bible is enough to be killed or sent to a labor camp for life along with your entire family. The 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in North Korea have to profess their faith in secret. Approximately 50,000 to 70,000 Christians live, work, and ultimately die in the nation’s infamous concentration camps.
A refugee from North Korea recently stated, “there is no religious freedom whatsoever in North Korea. People are simply killed if they believe in Jesus. Kim Jong-Un is a god and there cannot be any god besides him. Yes, there are church services in North Korea, but only when foreigners are present. The state calls up some locals to be present. There is no freedom of religion, speech or press in North Korea.” Through its networks, Open Doors strengthens persecuted Christians in North Korea. Open Doors also ministers to refugees who flee to China because of hunger or political persecution.
Father, it is with heavy hearts that we bring before You the suffering of Christians in North Korea. You know it even better than we do and You hear their cries. Their only hope in earthly life is Your Spirit within them and the hope of heaven that lies before them. And now these two precious ones are in Your very presence. Every tear has been wiped away and they are free. We pray now for those who remain. In the midst of their suffering they know the joy of Your presence. Thank You for the testimony of those who risk their very lives to remain in North Korea or return there to share the Good News with their families. Grant them courage and protect them from the piercing eyes of the ever-present authorities. Take the Word they share in secret and make it effective in the hearts and minds of those who are lost, that they might be brought into the light of Your gospel. In the name of Jesus our only hope, Amen.