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Published on 27 May, 2009

While North Korea launches missiles, Christians launch prayer campaign

N. Korea (MNN) — North Korea remained defiant in the face of international community condemnation by firing two more short-range missiles Tuesday after launching three on Monday, according to Reuters. More test launches are expected.

Spokesman for Open Doors USA Jerry Dykstra says this aggression emphasizes North Korea's importance on the military. "Right now there are 1.2 million people in the army of North Korea and a back-up force of 5 million of their population of 26-million." He says they're on a war footing right now.

Even though North Korea is focused on the outside, Christians aren't getting a pass. Dykstra says, "The average Christian now is under even more danger, if that's possible. There are spies everywhere. If they even see a Bible with a Christian, they are imprisoned."

The spread of Christianity is one of the greatest fears of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. "He feels that the fall of Eastern Europe, the fall of communism, was caused by Christians and that this could also happen in North Korea. That's why there's an increase in surveillance of house churches and Christians."

Meanwhile, North Korean church leaders have started a prayer campaign. "They're praying they can evangelize inside North Korea. And they really feel something is going to happen in North Korea. It may be the fall of the current regime, and they have to be ready," says Dykstra.

The North Korean society is extremely unstable. Believers see this as an opportunity to develop and reinforce their church organization.

Open Doors' World Watch List has ranked North Korea as the Number One persecutor of Christians for seven years in a row. Last month, North Korea was re-designated by the U.S. State Department as one of eight "Countries of Particular Concern" for their severe religious freedom violations.

North Korean believers are asking the church in the West to support them and keep them in special prayer because of their difficult situation. They are also spending additional time in prayer for each other. They are sensing that the day of opening of North Korea is near. They are actively getting ready for the changes the North Korean churches will face in the future, according to the report.

"Christians in North Korea are suffering terribly for their faith. Of the estimated 200,000 in political prison camps, an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 are Christians," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. "Now with the firing of several missiles and the war footing, the scrutiny of believers has increased.

"What an awesome testimony that Christians inside North Korea have started a prayer campaign for evangelizing the entire country. We need to keep them in our prayers as they risk their lives for their faith."

A pastor inside North Korea writes: "We thank God there are so many people who are praying for our country. Your prayers strengthen the Christians in North Korea."

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