Relaymedia

Christian Missionary Risks Life to Share Gospel With North Korea via Radio: 'I am Praying Kim Jong Un Kneels Down and Repents'

( [email protected] ) May 31, 2016 12:50 PM EDT
A defector from North Korea is risking his life to share the Gospel with citizens of the isolated country via a small radio station in Seoul, South Korea.
Kim Chung-seong, a North Korean defector and a Christian missionary, prepares a radio broadcast at a radio station in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A defector from North Korea is risking his life to share the Gospel with citizens of the isolated country via a small radio station in Seoul, South Korea.

From 1-2 a.m., every day, Kim Chung-seong hosts "Hello from Seoul, the Republic of Korea," which sends a mix of gospel music and news into North Korea, according to Reuters.

"Brothers and sisters in the North, I hope this time can be a moment of prayer for a miracle that every party member of North Korea at the party congress can meet God, not take a further step into the cult of personality," said Kim, 39, referring to the meeting of the North's ruling Workers' Party this month, where young leader Kim Jong Un was unanimously elevated to party chairman.

Kim, who came to the South in 2004, told the outlet that he has hosted the show for six years, and strives to delegitimize the Kim family dictatorship and preach Christian gospel. Often, fellow defectors appear on the show as special guests.

"I am not saying everything is bad in North Korea," said Kim. "But, for example, if the party congress is meant to worship one particular person and make 20 million people that person's slaves, that is meaningless. That's what I am talking about on my show."

North Korea strictly bans access to outside information - including radios and TV sets - unless they are set to pre-state channels. However, many tune in to foreign shows with smuggled Chinese radios and illegally altered North Korean sets.

Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, told a Senate panel in October that up to 29 percent of North Koreans had listened to foreign radio and said the medium, including the U.S. government's Voice of America, remained the most important way to get information into the country.

The Guardian notes that campaigners have been extremely persistent in finding ways to smuggle information inside North Korea - even though religious activity not controlled by the state is forbidden

For instance, No Chain, a project initiated by former North Korean political prisoner Jung Gwang-il, has recorded 32 new songs almost identical to the ones played on state-run radio, but replaced references to the ruling Kim dynasty with mentions of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

"It sounds exactly the same as what you would hear in North Korea, the same accompaniment, the same type of voice, but the names have all been changed," Jung told the outlet.

"[The customs officials] aren't going to sit there and listen to each song, because the music sounds the same to what they're used to hearing," he added.

No Chain uses its network of smugglers along the China-DPRK border to distribute the music, which is secretly loaded on USB sticks and SD cards. If caught, they face public execution.

Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA reveals that there are 300,000 Christians hidden among North Korea's population of 26 million.

For the 14th year in a row, the Communist country heads the World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christinas face the most persecution, and has received the maximum score in the violence category.

"Christianity is not only seen as 'opium for the people,' as is normal for all communist states, it is also seen as deeply Western and despicable," reads the report, in part. "Christians try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to labor camps with horrific conditions. Thus, one's Christian faith usually remains a well-protected secret, and most parents refrain from introducing their children to the Christian faith in order to make sure that nothing slips their tongue when they are asked."

Despite the extreme risk he is taking in sharing the Gospel, Kim said he is confident that the Good News can change the hearts of even the most brutal of dictators.

He told Reuters: "I am desperately praying that North Korea's Kim Jong Un and all administrators under him kneel down in front of God and repent for their sins, leave the path of tormenting their people."