SANTA ANA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2013) – Open Doors has confirmed the death of two Christians in North Korea. According to the ministry that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, one Christian was recently shot while he was on his way back to Bible training in China. The other died in one of North Korea’s notorious labor camps.
The first Christian had travelled to China several times before. People told him he could earn more money, but after working in China for six months he still hadn’t received any money, even though he found several jobs.
After awhile he met an Open Doors worker who cared for the North Korean refugee. The North Korean became interested in the Christian faith. After studying the Bible and receiving teaching, he became a believer. He eventually 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 recently died in a labor camp. This man also studied the Bible in China. After eight months he decided to return back to North Korea. According to Open Doors, he became a dedicated and faithful Christian. However, North Korean authorities found out about his secret faith and 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.”
Open Doors has confirmed both deaths through several sources, which cannot be mentioned for security reasons.
North Korea has been No. 1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List for the past 11 years. No where 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 with your 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 one of the horrible 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.
Christians are persecuted for their faith in at least 60 countries worldwide. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death in some of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world. For 58 years Open Doors has supported and strengthened believers worldwide through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development and prayer and presence ministry. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected].)