USA (MNN) — 500,000 North Koreans have left their country over the last 10 years. Some were forced out because of famine. Some left for political reasons. Others left because they were Christians and feared for their lives.
North Korea is one of the most repressive regimes in the world and is ranked by watchdog group Open Doors as the world's worst persecutor of Christians. Citizens of the communist state are forced to adhere to a personality cult that revolves around worshipping the current dictator Kim Jong-il.
Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered in the United States capital to openly protest the regime. Speaking from the rally, President of Open Doors USA Carl Meoller says, "It's very important for us to join together with other organizations and to gather here in Washington DC to make the world notice that tens of thousands of Christians and millions of North Koreans are suffering today under that regime."
The Korea Freedom Week began in prayer on Sunday. This week human rights advocates will go before Congress to voice their concerns. Moeller says he's concerned about North Korean Christian refugees in China, who are being departed back to North Korea. "When they're returned to the North Korean government by the Chinese government, these Christians face certain death."
Moeller also says North Korea is making a concerted effort to attack underground Christians, which may number about 200,000. "The government of North Korea has become quite adept at infiltrating house church cells in North Korea of Christians. They're specifically having agents masquerade as secret believers and infiltrating these house church networks to expose the leadership."
Children are also pawns in the attacks. Moeller says, "Children are tricked by teachers into revealing that their parents are Christians by simply asking, 'Do you have a book like this (a Bible) in your home?' And the little children raise their hand, and of course when they do, they're visited by the police and then taken away in the night."
Moeller is asking Christians worldwide to pray that the regime will be toppled. He also is asking for prayer for those who are taking action. "We have numerous grassroots efforts on the advocacy level and also projects that people can be involved in to provide Bibles, blankets, food and clothing and other materials that can be smuggled into North Korea."
Surprisingly, there are people coming to Christ in North Korea. Moeller says thousands have turned to Christ as refugees living with house church members in China. He says, "This is the most amazing part of that story: tens of thousands of those who have found Christ smuggle themselves back into North Korea, just to evangelize and just to begin small house church cells there in North Korea."
North Korea Freedom Week concludes May 2. If you'd like to help Open Doors, click here.