North Korea (MNN) — South Korea fears it has come under cyberattack from North Korea.
This, in the wake of the nuclear weapons test that alarmed the world. The U.S. and China are pushing a U.N. resolution condemning North Korea for its latest underground test of a hydrogen bomb. What it reveals about this reclusive nation is unsettling.
In 2014, the United Nations found evidence of mass starvation, public executions, torture, and slavery in North Korea, and claimed hundreds of thousands of people had “disappeared” in the country. Transparency International released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index yesterday and noted Somalia, North Korea, and Afghanistan as the most highly corrupt nations on Earth.
Plus, for the last 14 years, North Korea has ranked highest on the Open Doors World Watch List, an index of 50 countries around the world where persecution of Christians is the most severe.
You don’t have to be a Christian in North Korea to go to prison or a concentration camp, or even to be executed. You just have to do something that the government views as a threat. North Korea punishes three generations of an offender’s family.
Patrick Klein, founder and director of Vision Beyond Borders, wondered: “How does one reach into the most closed nation on earth, a place that has been isolated from the outside world since the 1950s?”
“It really came to my heart to be praying for North Korea,” says Klein. “Probably about two or three years ago, I was able to go to the northern part of North Korea, and then just recently, into Pyongyang.”
He embarked on a private vision trip to North Korea with a tour company. While going through customs, Klein declared his Bible, thinking that if he didn’t declare it and it was found in his luggage, things could go downhill quickly. Authorities demanded to see it, and the tour guide was called in.
Although he was released, the incident wasn’t over. Klein says once they were back with the tour group, the tour guide singled him out in front of the group and told him, “Welcome to DPRK. We have our own religion here. We even have churches. We do not need Bibles. You do not need to bring Bibles here.” The wall was up, and the guide remained standoffish and guarded for the rest of his time in the country.
Klein says his tour guide reinforced the reason he was on the trip. She unwittingly served as a constant reminder of needing the hope of Christ. “I tried my best to just be praying for her and asking God to really soften her heart, that she would see Jesus through me and that He would be glorified.”
What’s more, she was one of three million people living there, subject to Juche. Juche borrows from Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Confucianism, and whatever Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and now Kim Jong-un wanted as the country’s official ideology. According to Juche, there is no god but Kim Il-sung, the country’s “Eternal President.”
Yet, Klein observed that there are cracks in the system. People are beginning to question what is true. “I did find people that were open to the Gospel when I was inside North Korea, both trips. People were open, people were asking questions. That gives me hope that God is at work even within this country that looks like it’s so hard and so closed. [I believe] that the Holy Spirit is at work.” The next question is: how? “As Americans, it’s probably impossible, because Americans are so carefully watched in the country; we’re so high-profile. They actually know that a lot of people coming from America are probably Christians and trying to work or do Christian activity.”
Klein says he’s been building relationships with potential partners and networks outside of the country who are already doing effective Gospel work in North Korea. He’s building relationships “with South Koreans that are able to get into the country with stuff into North Korea…also, maybe working with the Chinese Church, because the Chinese Church really has a burden to reach North Korea.”
Klein’s prayer is that people–like the tour guide, like the customs officials–would see Jesus. ”God loves these people and He wants them to be saved. When I was there, both times, I just saw multitudes and multitudes of people without hope.”
Pray that God would reveal Jesus to the North Korean people through dreams and visions, as He is doing throughout the Muslim world. Klein encourages us to “pray and really ask God, ‘Lord, show us how. What’s the strategy? How do we reach North Korea?’ We know that no country is beyond God’s reach.”