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Despite Persecution, North Korean Christians Praying for Western Christians Obsessed With Material Wealth

( [email protected] ) Nov 01, 2016 12:35 PM EDT
Despite facing overwhelming persecution, North Korean Christians don't pray for their freedom, but for Western Christians who are more interested in accumulating earthly wealth and possessions than storing up treasures in Heaven.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a New Year's address for 2016 in Pyongyang. Reuters

Despite facing overwhelming persecution, North Korean Christians don't pray for their freedom, but for Western Christians who are more interested in accumulating earthly wealth and possessions than storing up treasures in Heaven.

"They don't pray for freedom and money. They pray for more of Christ and to mirror more of Christ in their life," the Rev. Eric Foley, the head of Soul-based Voice of the Martyrs Korea,  told Hope 103.2, according to The Christian Post.

He shared that one defector stated: "You pray for us? We pray for you. ... You have so much, you put your faith in your money and your freedom. In North Korea we have neither money nor freedom, but we have Christ and we've found He's sufficient."

North Korea heads Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution for the 14th consecutive year now. 

"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."

A report released last month by the Christian Solidarity Worldwide said that there are thousands of Christians suffering from extremely harsh torture in labor camps. In some cases, Christians are hung on a cross over a fire, and at times crushed under a steamroller.

Nevertheless, Foley said that Western Christians shouldn't necessarily be praying for freedom for North Koreans, but for courage to stay strong in Christ as they face continued persecution.

"Because they see that in many ways, we lack happiness, because money and freedom can't bring that," he added.

"There is one Body in Christ, there's not a 'persecuted Church in North Korea' and a 'free Church in Australia,' there's one body," Foley said, "and we're commanded [by the Bible] to remember those who are in prison, as if we were in prison also."

Despite restrictions, the Gospel continues to impact the isolated country. Since 1995, the North Korean government has allowed about 480 foreign organizations to work in the country, and 70 of these are Christian, including Samaritan's Purse and World Vision.

These Christian organizations have covered 85 of the 145 counties and 23 of the 27 cities in North Korea - meaning a large part of the country's population has been exposed to Christian work, according to an article from the Lausanne Global Analysis.

"In one of my trips, one minder commented to me, 'Many of the people coming into our country want to take advantage of us, but you (Christians) want to help us,'" the article author wrote.

Tags : North Korea, Christianity, Asia, Christian growth in North Korea, home church, Pastor, Kim Jong Un, Western Christians