New leader rumored in North Korea

By June 3, 2009

North Korea (MNN) — A new day may be coming to North Korea, and Christians are hopeful. According to unconfirmed reports, North Korean President Kim Jong Il's third son may be tapped to be the next leader of the rogue nation.

Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors International, author of the book "Escape from North Korea," says, "To me it indicates that Kim Jong Il is really not well. There have been more reports over the last year since he had his stroke that he is quite unwell and therefore in need of appointing a successor."

Estabrooks thinks he knows why the third son was selected. "The first son was kind of disgraced earlier this decade when he tried to get into Japan on a false passport. Kim Jong Il feels the second son is somewhat feminine and not manly enough for the job. So, the third son seems to be the heir and successor by default," says Estabrooks.

Estabrooks says he thinks the change in leadership will make it easier on Christians. Why? "Mainly because I want to believe it. (laughing) Our greatest desire is that our brothers and sisters will have more freedom in the country. I think with another generation, the chances are better."

Estabrooks asks you to pray that God would intervene to help North Korean Christians share their faith. "They have actually implemented a prayer campaign asking God to help them evangelize their country. Perhaps a change in leadership may be the beginning of openness that will allow them to do this."

Reforms in China in 1979 saw the Chinese church explode.

Kim Jong Il took over after his father died in 1994. Soon after he took power, a national famine killed millions of North Koreans. His decision to feed military personnel first left many North Koreans disenfranchised. Many tried to escape into China.

North Korea is the number one offender on Open Doors World Watch list of nations who persecute Christians.

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