North Korea (MNN) — North Korean defectors had mixed reactions to the new of Kim Jong-Il's death.
Open Doors, USA reports that several defectors from North Korea have noted their sympathies for the North Korean people, who they say will be forced to cry over their leader's death.
One defector said he was forced to do as much when Kim Jong-Il's father, Kim Il-Sung, died in 1994.
"I remember standing in front of his (Kim Il-Sung's) statue and feeling nothing," said the refugee. "But we had to cry or we would be punished. I brought a needle and punched it in my skin really hard, just so I would cry. I think that most of the people who weep for Kim Jong-Il in public are acting."
Another defector added, "I am just happy I do not have to stand in line to cry like a madman. Some just act like they are sad, but others are genuinely ignorant. I was ignorant about the Kims once, too."
Though few are mourning his death, it is hard for many to believe that the man they were forced to worship as a god–and who oversaw the killing and imprisonment of thousands of Christians–is gone. Some are eager to hope for a new beginning for North Korea, but others are more skeptical.
"Just because the 'absolute power' has collapsed, it does not mean the whole building will tumble," noted one refugee. "Those who have already tasted the power will not easily give up what they have. They will fight. I hope a new and uncorrupt leader will arise. God has not forgotten the prayers of devoted Christians in and outside of North Korea. One day Korea will be one again, and I hope we are ready when that happens."
Open Doors urges Christians to pray for North Korea and the estimated 400,000 Christians there during this time of uncertainty. Pray that the Gospel would spread now more than ever, and that a new leader would allow it to happen.
For more information on persecution in North Korea, go to the Open Doors USA Web site.