WATCH AND pray.

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1 North Korea Prayer Campaign WATCH AND pray WITH OUR FAMILY IN North Korea

2 WHY PRAY FOR NORTH KOREA? North Korea is number one on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. It is the most difficult place in the world to be a Christian. After the death of Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, power transferred to his son, Kim Jong-Un, but so far there have been few signs of genuine reform. Most North Koreans are chronically malnourished and live miles below the poverty line. More than 1 per cent of the population lives in Nazi-like labour camps. And for Christians the suppression is still severe. All religious activity is seen as a revolt against the cult of the Kim dynasty. Owning a Bible could get you killed or sent to a labour camp. watch and pray : Could you not keep watch with me one hour? Mark 14:37 The persecuted church in North Korea needs to be strengthened. That is why I call, from the bottom of my heart, for us all to watch with our suffering brothers and sisters. When I read this verse, I was overwhelmed by emotions. Can we watch with our Lord for one hour? Or is prayer just a short post-script on our time of family worship or our church service? Can earnest prayer for the worldwide body of Christ, especially the aching part, become part of our daily lives? - Brother Andrew Many North Korean Christians have to keep their faith secret because it s too dangerous to meet with other believers. Their isolation means they must rely even more on the prayers of their worldwide family.

3 1. Christians and the church Although the law officially allows freedom of religion, every form of Christianity is forbidden and real churches do not exist in the country. Since 1988, there have been four statecontrolled Christian churches in Pyongyang. But although these churches seem real, they are merely puppet churches fabricated by the North Korean government. Foreigners are forbidden to have contact with members of the congregation and all teaching is related to the regime. Persecution of Christians has intensified in recent years. Christians who are discovered practising their faith can be tortured and executed. Around 50,000 70,000 Christians are held in political prison camps in desperate conditions. For the growing community of underground Christians, numbering between 200,000 and 400,000, who continue to live out their faith despite the dangers. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35, 37 State-controlled church in Pyongyang

4 2. worship and control North Korea s Eternal Leader, Kim Il-Sung, understood the power of worship and set himself up as the only one to be worshipped. Everyone who did not honour him as the ultimate leader was labelled an enemy of the state and heavily persecuted. Statues of Kim Il-Sung were erected everywhere in the country and people still have to bow down to them today. For the many Christians in prison, that they will never feel alone, but supported by Jesus, the finisher of our faith. Pray for strength to endure the physical and mental torture. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Acts 12:5 In 1994 Kim Il-Sung died and was replaced by his son, the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-Il. After continuing his father s repressive cult of personality, the Dear Leader passed away in December 2011 and was succeeded by his third son, Kim Jong-Un. Kim Jong-Un has replaced a number of cadres with people considered to be more loyal to him. Everyone who refuses to accept the Kim dynasty as the supreme authority on religious grounds, is punished by a lengthy stay in a labour camp or even death. Up to three generations of the accused s family are also punished.

5 3. pride and prejudice North Koreans consider their race to be unique and pure, so choosing to follow Christ makes them a betrayer of their race. Citizens are brainwashed by the government to hate Christians and instructed to hand them over to the authorities. Christian activities are labelled as anti-north Korean. The government fears the spread of Christianity could develop into a revolutionary spirit that causes the fall of the regime, as in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Because people are constantly monitored, Christians have difficulty gathering for worship and knowing who to trust. Most meet in groups of no more than two. Despite the risks, secret Christians are eager to share the gospel and have started a prayer campaign for their country. God gave us a vision, say church leaders. One day our country will be opened and reunited with South Korea. Then the North Korean and South Korean Church will work together with our Chinese brothers and sisters to evangelise Asia. That is going to be a difficult task. We see the current persecution as preparation for that time. Thank God for the boldness and evangelistic zeal of many North Korean Christians. Pray that God will continue to give the church boldness to witness in secret. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20

6 4. Hunger and refugee s The famine is growing worse and people are dying of hunger. There are credible reports that people eat tree bark and grass just to survive. North Koreans with family in China are allowed to go to China and bring back food, money and other goods. But they have to pay a large amount for a visa and if they don t return, seven people close to them are shot. The Chinese security police along the border regions have intensified their search for North Korean defectors. Thousands of defectors have been arrested and sent back to North Korea, where they face terrible consequences. Those who are not arrested are in hiding and fearful for their lives. Black markets operate everywhere. However, it is not only goods that flow into North Korea; new ideas, like Christianity, come into the country as well. Although persecution by the government has intensified, the number of Christians is growing, especially in cities near the Chinese border where people can have contact with Christianity more easily. For Christians who come to faith in China or elsewhere. Pray for wisdom for refugees who return to North Korea that they will be able to evangelise and biblically educate their families and friends. Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

7 5. The work of open doors In 2011, Open Doors distributed over 45,000 Bibles, Bible reference books and other Christian materials in North Korea. Open Doors secretly gave biblical training to more than 5,000 North Korean believers through a network created to help and train North Korean defectors and believers living in China s border areas. In addition, around 50 North Korean women living in China received training. Open Doors also gave emergency aid (food, medicine clothing, and other goods) to 56,000 Christians in Around a thousand refugees and their families received help through Open Doors safe houses across the border in China. For the protection of our workers involved in distributing food, medicine and biblical materials. Pray that we will be able to reach more and more people. Pray also for the protection of our safe houses in China and the training of refugees, that we can influence entire North Korean families from those safe houses, through those refugees. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16 Thank you very much for your prayers! Even more than the physical goods they receive, local Christians are thankful for the spiritual encouragement behind them. We thank you for the enormous amount of aid and for your endless care. If it was not for your passionate love and support, we could not have come this far.

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