North Korea is the most dangerous place on earth to be a Christian. Open Doors, which studies and reports on Christian persecution worldwide, has listed North Korea at the top of its World Watch List – an index of persecution against Christians – for 18 years in a row.
Despite this, the church in North Korea is not small. Experts estimate that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians in North Korea. While a relatively small minority of the overall population of 25 million, 300,000 believers represents a significant movement of God and strong remnant in North Korea. Before the Kim regime began in 1948, Christianity flourished all over the Korean Peninsula. Decades of missionary work, starting in the 1880s, preceded the Great Pyongyang Revival of 1907, which led to mass conversions and church planting work, centered in what is now North Korea.
Even a regime as brutal and autocratic as the Kim Dynasty cannot stop the work of God. As believers, we know that God is at work on every single square inch of our planet and that God is drawing to himself a people, a family made up of every tribe, tongue, and nation on earth. Right now, we have brothers and sisters in Christ striving to worship and honor God with their lives, and they face persecution, martyrdom, and struggles that are difficult for us in the comfort and freedom of the West to even imagine.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul used the metaphor of a body made up of many members, every follower of Christ is an integral part, joined together as one. And as Paul told us, “if one member suffers, all suffer together.”
In order for us to pray for and take action to support our brothers and sisters in North Korea, we need to understand what their lives are like as they seek to follow Jesus in a hostile place. Here are three things you need to know about life as a follower of Jesus in North Korea.
Photo: Random Institute, Unsplash