Kim Jong Un has sentenced 33 people to death for receiving funds from missionary Kim Jung Wook to build 500 underground churches in North Korea in an alleged attempt to overthrow the government. The South Korean missionary also faces serious charges, and could be sentenced to death as well.
In North Korea, the world's foremost country where Christians are persecuted, public execution for charges of treason against the tyrannical government is not uncommon. The Christian Post reports that missionary Kim Jung Wook from South Korea was charged with engaging in secret religious activities - a crime which could potentially be punished by way of public execution. The missionary allegedly gave 33 individuals money to start several hundred underground churches in North Korea. Believed to be Christians, the 33 are scheduled to be executed by the regime for attempting to overthrow the North Korean government.
Kim Jung Wook held a press conference last week, and was likely forced to read a false confession (as many of those who were previously imprisoned have testified upon their release). Mail Online reports that the missionary confessed to committing "anti-state" crimes, including bringing Bibles and Christian materials into the country from China. "I was thinking of turning North Korea into a religious country, and destroying its present government and political system," he said. He was also accused of telling people to build a church where a statue of the country's founder, Kim II Sung, stands in Pyongyang if the regime were to fall. Kim Jung Wook reportedly apologized during his press conference and asked for his release.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is known for brutal treatment of Christians and even of his own kin who he suspects might disagree with his leadership of the country. Missionaries to North Korea have often been imprisoned, including United States missionary Kenneth Bae who is still being held in a labor camp in the country despite pleas from United States officials. Kim Jong Un had publicly executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek in December on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, and is thought to have killed Jang's extended family as well for his treason.
"Usually when persecution increases in a country, the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is rapidly spreading," says David Curry, president of Open Doors USA. He asks for much prayer for those being persecuted, and prays for God to soften Kim Jong-Un's heart that he might turn to Jesus Christ and be saved.