North Korea (MNN) — After a less-than-cordial response to its missile launch on April 5, the North Korean government is preparing its citizens for war.
According to Reuters, the U.S. plans to intercept any suspicious shipments to North Korea, concerned that they may contain weapons of mass destruction. Reuters says South Korea plans to join the U.S. in their efforts, creating hostility that the North Korean government considers as a declaration of war.
In preparation for this supposed war, the government has cut down on rations for its citizens, claiming that its soldiers will need the extra rations in order to fight. This has only increased chaos in this George Orwellian country, adding to an already unstable environment. The country is now convinced that they are approaching a war, a notion completely unsupported by anything other than disapproval of the country's actions.
"[The government is] using the justification of this missile launch and the opposition that the world rightly had to it as evidence that the world hates North Korea and that the world is about to attack North Korea," says Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. "Of course, none of that is true, but the use of that kind of rhetoric internally, when there's no other source of information, creates sort of a wartime mentality that they use most effectively to control and constrain their population."
North Korea maintains an already-tense atmosphere, likely to be in a transition of leaders soon as the health of current ruler, Kim Jong-Il, declines. The combination of all of these factors, with the general poor quality of life and human rights in the country, has created an extremely unstable environment.
The Christian response has been inspiring. North Korea is notorious for being the worst place on earth for Christians to live, remaining #1 on the Open Doors Watch List for seven years. It is also noted as a particular place of religious concern by the U.S. government. Instead of moving deeper into hiding, though, many underground Christians see the country's recent events as an opportunity for evangelism.
"There's an opportunity in the midst of this chaos for the church to come together, to unite and to be a place of stability and hope during this very, very difficult time," says Moeller.
The underground church in North Korea consists only of an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 believers, but these few faithful certainly have an impact. They are praying for chances to reach out to those who are lost in this confusion. They are also hoping that the church will be unified through this instability so they can make a difference in their country.
In the meantime, Open Doors is doing the same. The ministry has been a part of the North Korea Freedom Coalition (which includes 60 other Christian and non-Christian organizations) since 2004 and will be observing North Korea Freedom Week April 26 – May 2. This week will be used for rallies and lobbies in an attempt to be sure that the U.S. government does not support North Korea in any way until the country has made significant advances in its human rights policies. Open Doors will also be observing various prayer vigils throughout the week. (If you would like to participate in North Korea Freedom Week, click here.)
Please pray for North Korea during Freedom Week and every other day. Pray for the Christians already there and for revival to take place. Moeller reminds us that God has not forgotten North Korea and that He is powerful.
"It was not that long ago in human terms that South Korea was viewed as a nation that was almost impossible to reach for the Gospel. Today, South Korean missionaries are found in almost every part of the world. Millions of people have come to faith in Christ just sixty miles from the capital of North Korea. We believe that can happen as well in North Korea. There is no reason that God would say ‘revival in this land and no revival in this land'….I truly believe, along with the persecuted church in North Korea, that God wants to do an amazing thing in that land to bring all of the world's attention to the fact that He is still Lord. He is sovereign."