On Sunday evening it was announced that Kim Jong-Il, the leader of North Korea, had died. North Korean news agencies reported that Kim Jong-Il had died of fatigue from “overworking to serve the people of North Korea.” Kim Jong-Il was 69 years old. According to Open Doors sources, North Korea has closed the borders and sealed off the usually-tolerated black markets. Security agents and police officers are seen on every street and alley. The sound of wailing people is being heard throughout the country.
“Today marks a significant day in North Korean history,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. “Though this brutal dictator, who was responsible for so many atrocities, has died, the future is still unknown. Some speculate that his son Kim Jong-Un will be just as cruel to all dissenters. Others suggest that he may be more lenient. We simply do not know the future of North Korea, but God does.
This is why it is vital that Christians around the world pray for North Korea during this transitional time.”
Simon, Open Doors’ main contact for Christians inside North Korea, says; “It is very unlikely that there will be any policy changes. In fact, since Kim Jong-Un came closer to the helm, North Korea has stepped up its attempts to uncover any religious activities. There have been more house raids, more spies trained to infiltrate religious and human rights networks, and one South Korean Christian murdered in China for helping refugees. Christians fear what Kim Jong-Un is capable of doing. He will do anything to keep hold of power.”
Brother Simon adds, “North Korea is the first communist country that has established a real dynasty. The rule has been transferred to the third generation, but there is a big difference from the previous succession. Kim Il-Sung had the support of the entire communist bloc. Kim Jong-Il had been preparing for his role for over 20 years before he had to assume power. Kim Jong-Un was only designated as the next leader in October 2010 during a rare Worker’s Party Congress. He is young and inexperienced. There may be a power struggle, which he may not win. On the other hand, the clique around the Kim’s dynasty has been able to hold the ropes for over six decades. They have made it very difficult for opponents to get organized. Something special is needed to topple the regime.”
For the past nine years, North Korea has held the No. 1 spot on the Open Doors World Watch List. The list ranks the top 50 countries in the world which are the worst persecutors of Christians. The 2012 World Watch List will be released on Jan. 4, with North Korea expected to retain the top spot.
But, in spite of the difficulties working in this closed country, Open Doors has secretly trained over 4,000 Christians and given emergency aid (food, clothing and other goods), to 56,000 North Korean Christians in 2011. Open Doors distributed more than 30,000 Bibles, books and other materials in North Korea. Additionally, Open Doors formed a network to help train North Korean defectors and believers living along China’s border areas.
With the passing of North Korea’s Kim Jung Il, its inhabitants, family members around the world and country neighbors are living in the fear of uncertainty. Because of possible ramifications, Open Doors is calling for prayer… And because only God knows what will happen next, we can meet Him in prayer.
Please pray for:
- The new leader, Kim Jung Un. That he will have a heart for mercy and end the cycle of inhumane dictatorial rule.
- Those in government and who have been “secret Christians” will gain more power and influence in the days ahead.
- The estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians being held in North Korean prison camps because of their faith. Pray that they will have opportunities to lead others in prayers. And while they pray, let the Holy Spirit be revealed to those who do not yet know Jesus.
- An increase in opportunities throughout North Korea to share about Jesus without fear of retaliation.
- The brave Christians inside North Korea. Pray that they are not fearful that they might face even more suffering.
- North Korean Christians to gain a new boldness and wisdom, and seize opportunities to tell others about the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. Pray that on Christmas day, and thereafter, the light of Christ will penetrate every home and heart in North Korea
- The refugees who have fled into China, and have become Christian. Pray that they will courageously return to North Korea and share the hope of Jesus to a hurting nation.
- The horrendous situation where so many are starving. Pray that it will not escalate even further because of the government’s desire to demonstrate control.
- The many children who are homeless. Pray that they will find shelter, comfort and love in the home of a believer.
Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law. I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them. – Psalm 119:49-52