North Korea (MNN) — Three months ago, the Open Doors World Watch List positioned North Korea as the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for the ninth year in a row.
The evil empire of North Korea certainly deserves the ranking. In 2010, hundreds of embattled Christians were arrested for various reasons. Some were killed while others were sentenced to political camps. Last year there were 23 Christians in a house church in Pyungsung province who were discovered by the police. Three of them were immediately sentenced to death because of the meeting.
There are 50,000 to 70,000 Christians suffering in labor camps because of their faith in Jesus Christ. North Korea under Kim Jong-Il has more political prisoners than any country in the world — estimated at over 200,000.
Open Doors USA is offering several ways in which people can help brave Christians in North Korea, estimated at 400,000, during North Korea Freedom Week April 24-30.
People can receive prayer e-mails from Open Doors during North Korea Freedom Week. The e-mails will offer information on North Korea and how Christians can pray for believers there, based on Scripture from Isaiah 59 through 66. To sign up to receive the seven e-mails, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org/nkfw.
Christians in the West can also send messages of hope into North Korea through the airwaves. Open Doors, in partnership with the North Korea Freedom Coalition, is urging participation in the "Letters From America" program hosted by Free North Korea Radio. Through the program, messages will be broadcast into North Korea.
Free North Korea Radio, run by defectors from North Korea, has been transmitting messages into North Korea since 2004, and there are reports that many North Korean citizens are listening to the programming. The e-mails should be words of encouragement. To send a message and for instructions on the contents of the message, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org/nkfw.
Also, Open Doors is offering the World Watch List Prayer Guide, which lists various prayer needs of each country – 51 in all – on the 2011 World Watch List, starting with North Korea. The prayer guide can be downloaded at the Open Doors USA website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
"The new World Watch List Prayer Guide and "Letters from America" program will allow us to bless North Koreans with our prayers and encouragement during North Korea Freedom Week," says Michele Miller, Director of Open Doors USA Ministries. "The seven-day e-mail campaign from Open Doors is another way to become informed about the horrible situation in North Korea.
"North Korea is a nightmare which never ends for thousands. We need to bathe our brothers and sisters in prayer. Let's together shatter the darkness."
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest, and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.