The risk of being a North Korean Christian is always there. We’ve talked to enough former prisoners and North Korean refugees to know the dangers and consequences of their decision to follow Jesus. But when our field shares an urgent request like this, once again we’re brought up close to the reality of the North Korean regime’s intolerance and cruelty.
Of course, a story like this also illuminates the great courage and devotion of our North Korean family who defy their leaders to walk with God. We know that from an early age, North Korean children are subjected to stringent indoctrination. They grow up learning to bow to and worship pictures of the first leaders of the country, Kim II-Sung II and his son, Kim Jong-II. They also learn that Christians are the enemy.
North Korean refugee John Choi* shares how he grew up believing Christians were evil and dangerous. “We watched the government’s propaganda alongside public executions. It told us that Christians wanted to kidnap children and that the cross was a symbol of the devil.
“Even in nursery school, we had to bow to the pictures of the first leaders of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung and his son, Kim Jong-Il. The first man I saw executed was a Christian. They said he had smuggled Christian things into the country and had enticed people into the church. The whole village was told to come and watch. The children were allowed to sit at the front to get a good view. It enforced this belief that Christians were dangerous.”