November 2016 Persecution Magazine (2 of 3)

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NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


North Korea<br />

Explore the Bizarre World <strong>of</strong> North Korea:<br />

A state-created false religion, a national<br />

counterfeiting operation,<br />

and first-hand tales <strong>of</strong> tragedy<br />

and escape from the world’s<br />

worst persecutor <strong>of</strong> Christians<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Our Prayer for North Korea<br />

Chilgol Church<br />

Chilgol Church in Pyongyang,<br />

North Korea, is one <strong>of</strong> only two<br />

Protestant churches in North<br />

Korea. It exists as propaganda<br />

for foreigners to convince<br />

visitors that North Korea has<br />

religious freedom.<br />

By Sandra Elliot<br />

This issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>Persecution</strong> is the<br />

second in a rare two-part series on<br />

North Korea. Christians there face<br />

the worst imaginable persecution in<br />

the world, but the hermit kingdom<br />

may be slowly unraveling.<br />

North Korea is a totalitarian<br />

regime with<br />

little to no regard for<br />

the lives <strong>of</strong> its own<br />

people. In fact, North<br />

Korea is concerned<br />

with only one thing<br />

and that is blind<br />

loyalty. Twenty-five<br />

million people are<br />

imprisoned in a state run by an iron-gripping,<br />

exorbitant, and ludicrous family name.<br />

False Religion<br />

The ideological underpinning <strong>of</strong> the<br />

DPRK is the all-inclusive philosophy <strong>of</strong><br />

Juche (see page 18). Within the parameters<br />

<strong>of</strong> this socio-political-religious concept,<br />

the Kim family is the supreme authority<br />

and spiritual head and the state <strong>of</strong> North<br />

Korea is the provider <strong>of</strong> all things. There<br />

are roughly 100,000 Juche research centers<br />

spread across North Korea meant<br />

to indoctrinate the population into this<br />

false ideology. This is part <strong>of</strong> the North<br />

Korean design to undergird and sustain the<br />

regime’s power and longevity by playing<br />

on human beings’ need to believe in and<br />

live for something.<br />

Christianity poses a direct and potent threat<br />

to the ideological framework <strong>of</strong> Juche. Juche<br />

dictates that your state and leader are your<br />

religion and god. Christianity says that there<br />

is only one God and we are all His children,<br />

created in His image, equal before Him.<br />

Nationality is <strong>of</strong> minor importance.<br />

As a result, Christians suffer greatly for<br />

their faith in North Korea as their neighbors<br />

and friends are automatically pitted against<br />

them in their practice <strong>of</strong> Juche. Christians suffer<br />

the cruelest form <strong>of</strong> torture, imprisonment<br />

and execution in North Korea, as the state sees<br />

their faith as an existential threat to its claim.<br />

And rightly so. The love <strong>of</strong> Christ and the<br />

spread <strong>of</strong> His message by His followers is the<br />

most lucid threat to the Kim regime.<br />

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NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


The Kim family is<br />

the spiritual head <strong>of</strong><br />

North Korea and is<br />

the provider <strong>of</strong> all<br />

things.<br />

Office 39<br />

The Tower <strong>of</strong> the Juche Idea on the Taedong River was built as a monument<br />

to the regime’s religion <strong>of</strong> Juche (see page 18). Creative Commons<br />

photo from flickr by David Stanley.<br />

At the end <strong>of</strong> World War II, the Korean peninsula was divided. See page<br />

30 for some possiblilites that could affect the future <strong>of</strong> this nation.<br />

So how does North Korea maintain the<br />

loyalty <strong>of</strong> its people aside from Juche?<br />

Well as with many things in life, through<br />

money and fear mongering. The DPRK is<br />

the only government in the world that has<br />

established a branch <strong>of</strong> government which<br />

collects illegal funds to operate effectively.<br />

Office 39 is basically a secret branch<br />

<strong>of</strong> government that engages in illicit economic<br />

activities to create a slush fund for<br />

the running dictator <strong>of</strong> North Korea (think<br />

“mafia”). This includes counterfeit money<br />

laundering, black market weapons trade,<br />

and insurance fraud that crosses international<br />

borders. All this illegal cash serves<br />

to buy loyalties, build a nuclear arsenal,<br />

maneuver around sanctions and support<br />

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the lavish lifestyle <strong>of</strong> the Kim’s and other<br />

elites.<br />

North Korea depends on Office 39 to<br />

carry out its criminal activities domestically<br />

and internationally. Perhaps the easy<br />

solution to ending the terroristic Kim reign<br />

is to choke them financially.<br />

Defectors<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> what we know about North Korea<br />

comes from the testimonies <strong>of</strong> defectors and<br />

escapees <strong>of</strong> the DPRK.<br />

On pages 23-27 you can read the personal<br />

accounts <strong>of</strong> some who have heroically<br />

escaped the hermit kingdom. They have faced<br />

death, torture, enslavement, and great loss in<br />

their journey to freedom. Once free, they must<br />

overcome the trauma <strong>of</strong> their past and face the<br />

real world as they never thought they would.<br />

Thankfully, our Lord Jesus is sovereign and<br />

merciful. In Sammy’s story you will see how<br />

the untiring and powerful prayers <strong>of</strong> a mother<br />

for her son’s salvation came to fruition. We<br />

also interviewed New York Times bestselling<br />

author and TED star, Hyeonseo Lee. The Lord<br />

provided all the strength she could ever imagine<br />

when facing impossible circumstances.<br />

Their stories reveal the true nature <strong>of</strong> North<br />

Korea and the power <strong>of</strong> Christ at work in saving<br />

lives.<br />

Future <strong>of</strong> North Korea<br />

But Christ can do more. While we celebrate<br />

and thank Him for the salvation <strong>of</strong> individuals<br />

within North Korea, we beg Him for more.<br />

The future <strong>of</strong> North Korea, according to many<br />

scholars, is dimly lit and destined to fail (see<br />

page 30). The severity and harshness <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Kim Jong-Un regime is creating discontentment<br />

and likely rebellion among his inner circle<br />

<strong>of</strong> loyalists. China, while still the strongest<br />

ally to North Korea, has also recently defected<br />

in their alliance and support to the regime. But<br />

most importantly, Christians are finding new<br />

and creative ways to get the Gospel inside the<br />

DPRK.<br />

The Gospel, in and <strong>of</strong> itself, disqualifies the<br />

Kim claim on these 25 million people. When<br />

North Koreans learn <strong>of</strong> the true God, they will<br />

undoubtedly recognize the counterfeit ones.<br />

As ambassadors and followers <strong>of</strong> Christ, our<br />

contribution to the freedom <strong>of</strong> North Korea is<br />

to pray He opens the eyes <strong>of</strong> the blind.<br />

As you read through the pages <strong>of</strong> this<br />

month’s magazine, pay close attention to<br />

what you could do beyond praying for North<br />

Korea. Join us in our efforts to free the prisoners<br />

<strong>of</strong> North Korea and spread the Gospel to a<br />

desperate and desolate people. Remember the<br />

word <strong>of</strong> your Savior:<br />

I will build my church, and the gates <strong>of</strong> hell<br />

shall not prevail against it. I will give you the<br />

keys <strong>of</strong> the kingdom <strong>of</strong> heaven, and whatever<br />

you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and<br />

whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in<br />

heaven. - Matthew 16:18-19 (ESV)<br />


False Religion<br />

and the Repression<br />

<strong>of</strong> Christianity<br />

By Sandra Elliot<br />

Chaju<br />

Political Independence<br />

Yielding to foreign<br />

pressure or idea (i.e.<br />

Christianity) is<br />

abominable<br />

In early 1907, a city that was known<br />

for its debauchery was set ablaze<br />

with a powerful revival after years <strong>of</strong><br />

prayer. Fifty thousand people were<br />

converted to Christianity in 1907<br />

alone! Afterwards, there were so<br />

many Christians living out their faith<br />

that Pyongyang, the present North<br />

Korean capital, became known as<br />

“The Jerusalem <strong>of</strong> the East.” The<br />

Pyongyang Great Revival lasted through 1910.<br />

Two years later, a baby was born – the<br />

son <strong>of</strong> Christian parents and grandson <strong>of</strong><br />

a Christian pastor. The baby’s name? Kim<br />

Il-sung, the founder <strong>of</strong> North Korea.<br />

Kim was intimately familiar with<br />

Christianity and witnessed Christians choose<br />

martyrdom over worshipping the Japanese<br />

Emperor during Japan’s colonization <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Korean peninsula. Recognizing the power <strong>of</strong><br />

Christianity, he wanted the worship directed<br />

at himself. So he took Christianity, removed<br />

God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy<br />

Spirit, and set up himself, his wife and son<br />

as the new trinity. This false religion was<br />

later complimented with the addition <strong>of</strong> a<br />

full-fledged ideology known as Juche. It is a<br />

counterfeit religion that is deathly afraid <strong>of</strong> the<br />

true version, and rightfully so.<br />

The Philosophy <strong>of</strong> Juche<br />

Juche (JOO-chay). It’s not a word with<br />

which most <strong>of</strong> us are familiar. In fact, I doubt<br />

any one <strong>of</strong> us knows how to correctly pronounce<br />

it upon reading. Juche. It means selfreliance,<br />

in some sense or another. It has been<br />

described as Kim II-Sung’s “original, brilliant<br />

and revolutionary contribution to national and<br />

international thought.”<br />

In the Democratic People’s Republic <strong>of</strong><br />

Korea (North Korea), it is the reigning philosophy<br />

and the<br />

most adhered-to<br />

line <strong>of</strong> thinking. In<br />

1972, when Kim<br />

II-Sung established<br />

his iron grip<br />

on North Korea,<br />

Juche became the<br />

autarkic state ideology<br />

<strong>of</strong> the nation.<br />

Any other beliefs,<br />

Christianity included,<br />

are considered<br />

a threat to Juche<br />

Chawi<br />

Military Independence<br />

Violence is the best<br />

way to defend the<br />

nation<br />

and the survival <strong>of</strong> the state <strong>of</strong> North Korea.<br />

If you want to understand North Korea, you<br />

must first understand this twisted ideology <strong>of</strong><br />

self-reliance and the extensive irony under<br />

which it operates.<br />

Kim II-Sung, upon instituting Juche as a<br />

national thought, explained it as so:<br />

“This means holding fast to an independent<br />

position, rejecting dependence on others,<br />

using one’s own brains, believing in one’s<br />

own strength, displaying the revolutionary<br />

spirit <strong>of</strong> self-reliance.”<br />

Why is this so blatantly and grossly ironic?<br />

If you know anything about North Korea, you<br />

know that it is a nation obsessed with controlling<br />

its people, specifically the minds <strong>of</strong> its<br />

people. So by use <strong>of</strong> this “self-reliance” and<br />

self-determination, Kim II-Sung enslaved a<br />

whole nation into thinking as one and believing<br />

this as freedom.<br />

The regime at the time instructed the North<br />

Korean people in Juche by using an analogy<br />

<strong>of</strong> the human body. Kim II-Sung, the great<br />

leader, was the brain in which decision making<br />

and issuing orders are the primary role.<br />

The government is the nervous system that<br />

channels information to the bone and muscle<br />

(the North Korean people) who must, in turn,<br />

Juche<br />

These components<br />

<strong>of</strong> Juche illustrate the<br />

self-sufficiency <strong>of</strong> this<br />

false religion.<br />

Charip<br />

Economic Independence<br />

To establish total political<br />

independence, North<br />

Korea must be selfsufficient<br />

physically execute the orders <strong>of</strong> the brain.<br />

This is probably the greatest example <strong>of</strong><br />

the success <strong>of</strong> socialist revolutions in that the<br />

masses have rallied around and supported<br />

leadership under a single ideology and line <strong>of</strong><br />

thought. Now we must better understand what<br />

it is they believe/are indoctrinated with.<br />

There are three main components to Juche<br />

ideology: (1) chaju, which means political<br />

independence, (2) charip, which is economic<br />

independence, and (3) chawi is military independence.<br />

Chaju is the central tenant <strong>of</strong> Juche in that<br />

it is the obsessive focus on state sovereignty.<br />

This basically means that yielding to ANY<br />

foreign pressure or tolerating ANY foreign<br />

ideas (i.e. Christianity) is an abomination.<br />

Chaju is basically a justification for the political<br />

grip <strong>of</strong> the Kim family and the hermit<br />

kingdom style <strong>of</strong> North Korea.<br />

Charip, meaning economic independence,<br />

is the material basis for chaju. To establish<br />

total and supreme political independence,<br />

North Korea must be totally and supremely<br />

self-sufficient.<br />

Lastly, chawi, the military independence <strong>of</strong><br />

Juche ideology, sees violence as the best way<br />

to defend the nation. It is decidedly belligerent<br />

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JUCHE<br />

Kim Il-sung<br />

Kim Il-sung<br />

Kim Jung Sook (wife)<br />

Kim Jong-il (son)<br />

Writings and teachings<br />

<strong>of</strong> Kim Il-sung<br />

North Koreans are required<br />

to worship Kim Il-sung with<br />

all their heart and might<br />

Fear<br />

On Self<br />

Man is master <strong>of</strong> the world<br />

and his own destiny.<br />

North Koreans must hang<br />

pictures <strong>of</strong> Kim family in homes<br />

and bow to worship.<br />

Spy on your neighbor<br />

North Koreans gather regularly<br />

to admit their wrongdoings.<br />

and overly presumptuous, referring to outside<br />

ideology as imperialistic and aggressive.<br />

The Repression <strong>of</strong><br />

Christianity<br />

In light <strong>of</strong> these tenets <strong>of</strong> Juche, it’s easy<br />

to understand why the North Korean government<br />

is so adamantly against Christianity.<br />

Juche ideology allows the Kim family to act as<br />

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Founder<br />

Trinity<br />

Holy Text<br />

Worship<br />

Motivation<br />

Reliance<br />

Master<br />

Images<br />

Others<br />

Confession<br />


Jesus Christ<br />

God the Father<br />

God the Son<br />

God the Holy Spirit<br />

The Bible<br />

“Love the Lord your God with<br />

all your heart and with all your<br />

soul and with all your mind.”<br />

Matt. 22:37 NIV<br />

Love<br />

On God<br />

Jesus in submission<br />

to God.<br />

“You shall not make for yourself<br />

an image in the form <strong>of</strong> anything in<br />

heaven above or on the earth beneath<br />

or in the waters below. You shall not<br />

bow down to them or worship them.”<br />

Ex. 20:4-5 NIV<br />

Love your neighbor<br />

“Therefore, confess your sins to<br />

each other and pray for each other<br />

so that you may be healed.”<br />

James 5:16 NIV<br />

stand-in gods to the North Koreans. In Juche,<br />

you rely on your nation, your teaching and<br />

your leader…and no one else. Juche is your<br />

absolute religion, false though it may be.<br />

There are estimated to be some 200,000 to<br />

400,000 Christians living in North Korea today.<br />

Of that number approximately 60,000 are serving<br />

in prison and labor camps for their faith.<br />

Prison camps in North Korea closely resemble<br />

the concentration camps <strong>of</strong> WWII, which killed<br />

almost 12 million people. It doesn’t take much<br />

to end up in such a dreadful place.<br />

Christians in North Korea can be prosecuted<br />

for propagating religion, possessing religious<br />

items, carrying out religious activities, or having<br />

any sort <strong>of</strong> contact with religious persons.<br />

Secret police are integrated into society at the<br />

most intimate level. For this reason, Christians<br />

in North Korea must keep their faith an absolute<br />

secret.<br />

Those who are found out easily suffer arrest,<br />

torture, imprisonment and execution. Perhaps<br />

the greatest challenge and tragedy is that<br />

Christians are <strong>of</strong>ten turned into authorities by<br />

their own neighbors and friends.<br />

Juche means total loyalty to the government.<br />

You do not love your neighbor in Juche, you<br />

spy on him. You do not feed the poor in Juche,<br />

for that man is not self-reliant. Christianity is<br />

the anti-juche, the greatest threat to the Kim<br />

dynasty and pet nation. This is why North<br />

Korea fears Christianity and makes examples<br />

<strong>of</strong> anyone daring to accept this faith.<br />

Stories from defectors paint horrifying illustrations<br />

<strong>of</strong> living conditions and punishments<br />

inflicted on the Christian population. For<br />

example, reports tell <strong>of</strong> ‘execution by train’ in<br />

which the authorities go to the extreme trouble<br />

<strong>of</strong> having men and women tied to railroad<br />

tracks and run down by trains. This is not a<br />

simple execution to rid a threat; this is a terrorizing<br />

form <strong>of</strong> persecution.<br />

When looking at the history and timeline<br />

<strong>of</strong> Juche, one can easily see spiritual forces <strong>of</strong><br />

evil at work. This false religion and counterfeit<br />

Christianity is not just the work <strong>of</strong> one crazy<br />

man but was birthed through him.<br />

In 1907, there was one <strong>of</strong> history’s most<br />

amazing revivals in Pyongyang. Thirty-five<br />

years later, the Soviet Union installed Kim<br />

Il-sung as a puppet leader who went on to<br />

lead the Korean War that killed 2.5 million<br />

people. After the Korean War, he consolidated<br />

his power and then went on to strangle<br />

Christianity.<br />

As Christians, we know that our battle is not<br />

against flesh and blood, but against the rulers<br />

and principalities <strong>of</strong> darkness (Eph. 6:12).<br />

Satan wanted to extinguish the light that<br />

burned in North Korea and then to build a<br />

fortress to keep out the light and to imprison<br />

and blind the North Korean people from truth.<br />

Juche and the false worship <strong>of</strong> Kim and his<br />

progeny were keys to that prison. Belief in<br />

both are fading quickly inside North Korea<br />

and it’s only a matter <strong>of</strong> time before the locks<br />

break and the prison doors <strong>of</strong> North Korea<br />

swing open.<br />


Interviews<br />

with<br />

Defectors<br />

Two North Korean defectors share their stories <strong>of</strong> loss,<br />

freedom and salvation with ICC.<br />

By Brianna Young and Ashley Shay<br />

Praise and Sammy are two North<br />

Korean defectors who shared<br />

with ICC their stories <strong>of</strong> courage<br />

and escape from one <strong>of</strong><br />

the most evil regimes <strong>of</strong> the<br />

modern world. Now living in<br />

a free world, they both share<br />

how the power <strong>of</strong> the Gospel<br />

has impacted their lives since<br />

escaping North Korea, and<br />

how the Word <strong>of</strong> God reaches across the borders <strong>of</strong> a<br />

nation where to be a Christian is punishable by death.<br />

Sammy’s Story: Plucked from<br />

Hell<br />

“My life there was empty,” recalls Sammy <strong>of</strong> his<br />

existence in North Korea. “People in North Korea are<br />

living empty and meaningless lives.”<br />

The decision to leave North Korea is never made<br />

lightly as it may end in your death or imprisonment.<br />

In Sammy’s case, it was even more complicated<br />

because he had loyally served in the military for more<br />

than 12 years.<br />

The path that led Sammy from his life in North<br />

Korea to his final decision to escape is one wrought<br />

with pain and loss. He had lost both <strong>of</strong> his parents<br />

while serving in the military and, after being discharged,<br />

nearly starved to death. Sammy knew that<br />

his family could lead a better life outside <strong>of</strong> the confines<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Kim regime.<br />

In the summer <strong>of</strong> 2007, Sammy, along with his<br />

wife and 14-month-old daughter, left their home for a<br />

future in an unknown world.<br />

The journey was daunting, beginning with a<br />

40-mile trek to the Tumen River, the border between<br />

North Korea and China. It was the rainy season, and<br />

floods delayed the family’s escape by several days.<br />

By this time, the police had distributed flyers and<br />

were searching intently for the runaway family who<br />

was hiding in a friend’s home.<br />

On June 19, after 15 days <strong>of</strong> waiting in hiding for<br />

the flood waters to subside, Sammy and his family<br />

ventured out to cross the river into China.<br />

Tragically, Sammy’s daughter, LeiSung, drowned<br />

in the struggle to make it through the water.<br />

“My wife lost her mind and she couldn’t remove<br />

our daughter’s (body) from her back.”<br />

Overcome by grief, Sammy and his wife were<br />

forced to learn to live in a world without their daughter.<br />

He purchased a blue teddy bear and gave it to his<br />

wife in memory <strong>of</strong> their daughter: “Since that time, the<br />

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Many barriers keep North<br />

Koreans trapped in an<br />

oppressive life - some<br />

physical, some geographic,<br />

and some psychological.<br />

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Tumen River Bridge<br />

The Tumen River runs between<br />

North Korea and China. It acts<br />

as both a barrier and route to<br />

freedom for North Korean<br />

defectors like Sammy. Creative<br />

Commons photo from flickr by<br />

user wifarm.<br />

blue bear stayed with us through the fear, risk,<br />

and suffering. Now it is sitting nicely in our<br />

bedroom. That blue teddy bear is [figuratively]<br />

our daughter LeiSung and also a painful scar.”<br />

Despite the tragic loss <strong>of</strong> his child, or maybe<br />

because <strong>of</strong> it, Sammy found Christ.<br />

In all his years in North Korea, Sammy had<br />

never heard <strong>of</strong> Jesus, and yet, looking back,<br />

he realizes that God had been working in his<br />

life long before he escaped and found Christ.<br />

Years before Sammy’s escape, his brother<br />

had recounted their mother’s strange actions<br />

before she died. Desperate for food, she had<br />

daringly crossed into China for food but<br />

according to Sammy’s brother, his mother<br />

brought back more than food.<br />

“My brother told me that my mom had developed<br />

a mental disorder after visiting China<br />

several times. He said she kept talking to herself<br />

every morning… saying, ‘Please take Sammy to<br />

the father. Please let Sammy meet you, Father.’”<br />

At the time <strong>of</strong> hearing the story, Sammy<br />

assumed that perhaps she was speaking to<br />

his father, who had died <strong>of</strong> starvation. After<br />

Sammy became a Christian, he realized that<br />

his mother wasn’t crazy but had been praying<br />

incessantly for his own salvation.<br />

“Now, I know that the Father, that my mom<br />

was talking to was not my dad, it was our God,<br />

the Father.”<br />

Since his escape, Sammy has helped his<br />

brother and sister-in-law escape North Korea.<br />

He now lives in the United States and continues<br />

to raise awareness regarding the plight <strong>of</strong> those<br />

still living under the control <strong>of</strong> the Kim regime.<br />

“Now that I look back to our journey, I<br />

know that it would be impossible if God<br />

hadn’t guided us with his love and [direction].<br />

I thank our Lord for picking me out <strong>of</strong> hell,<br />

[out <strong>of</strong>] the darkness; and guiding us to this<br />

In all his years in<br />

North Korea, Sammy<br />

had never heard<br />

<strong>of</strong> Jesus, and yet,<br />

looking back, he<br />

realizes that God had<br />

been working in his<br />

life long before he<br />

escaped.<br />

land <strong>of</strong> freedom (the United States).”<br />

Praise’s Story: God at Work<br />

in the Market Generation<br />

Praise Ju is a member <strong>of</strong> a young generation<br />

<strong>of</strong> escaped North Koreans who are seeing<br />

many North Koreans come to Christ after<br />

years <strong>of</strong> labor to reach the closed country<br />

with the Gospel. She shared with ICC her life<br />

story and how the spread <strong>of</strong> the Gospel and<br />

underground believers in North Korea are<br />

the hope <strong>of</strong> the future <strong>of</strong> the prison state.<br />

They’re called the Jangmadang (Market)<br />

Generation. They grew up during North<br />

Korea’s great famine and during the breakdown<br />

<strong>of</strong> the country’s Public Distribution<br />

System, a rationing system used to control the<br />

populace and reward and punish citizens based<br />

on their loyalty and use to the regime.<br />

Early on, this generation was weaned from<br />

dependence on the state; these youth have grown<br />

up buying and selling on the black market, for<br />

which their generation is named, and this has<br />

shaped their worldview in a completely different<br />

way than their parents and grandparents.<br />

You see, the black market has brought in<br />

more than food. It has brought in a flood <strong>of</strong><br />

8 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


media; everything from South Korean soap<br />

operas to Western pop movies (Titanic is a<br />

favorite) and access to this information is<br />

changing the face <strong>of</strong> the most closed and<br />

secretive country in the world.<br />

Praise Ju, a young leader in this promising<br />

generation, was born in 1991. In 1998,<br />

her father brought home an illegal radio that<br />

would change his family’s life forever. North<br />

Korea routinely jams foreign broadcast signals,<br />

especially Gospel broadcasts in a cat and<br />

mouse game. But Ju’s father would diligently<br />

search and find Christian broadcasts as well as<br />

Chinese media coming in over the border. For<br />

the next 10 years, Ju and her family would be<br />

transformed by what they heard and watched<br />

behind closed curtains and beneath blankets at<br />

night. While her father was drawn to Gospel<br />

broadcasts, Ju was initially more interested in<br />

foreign songs, soap operas and movies coming<br />

from China. Even though the content was<br />

mostly drivel, this kind <strong>of</strong> media has been vital<br />

in breaking the hold <strong>of</strong> the regime’s propaganda<br />

stranglehold on the minds and imaginations<br />

<strong>of</strong> its citizens and especially its youth.<br />

By 2000, her father had come to the conclusion<br />

that they had been duped by the Kim<br />

regimes for their whole lives and it left him<br />

outraged. For the sake <strong>of</strong> his children, he<br />

decided to defect and began making preparatory<br />

trips to China before finally escaping in<br />

2007 to make way for his family. They agreed<br />

to flee separately to avoid undue attention.<br />

After a seven-month journey, Ju’s father<br />

arrived in South Korea and began working<br />

feverishly to earn enough money to reunite his<br />

family. In 2008, Ju’s mother and two younger<br />

‘‘People around the<br />

world are praying<br />

for you, so don’t be<br />

afraid,” Ju’s father<br />

told her. Ju said, “I<br />

didn’t know what<br />

prayer was, but I<br />

prayed to God to save<br />

my life.”’<br />

siblings followed and arrived safely the same<br />

year – leaving Ju alone at the age <strong>of</strong> 17.<br />

Fortunately, her parents had moved their family<br />

to the country during the famine to ensure<br />

their children would continue to eat to survive.<br />

After talking her way out <strong>of</strong> a close call with<br />

North Korean police who had been tipped <strong>of</strong>f<br />

to her father’s use <strong>of</strong> foreign radio, Ju was able<br />

to contact her father in South Korea and plan<br />

her first attempt to defect in 2009. By an act<br />

<strong>of</strong> providence, Ju was late to meet the broker<br />

who was to assist in her escape. Her broker<br />

was arrested upon his arrival – as she would<br />

have been had she been on time. Her father<br />

advised her to lay low for a time and even<br />

suggested she remain in North Korea indefinitely<br />

to spread the Gospel. Ju readily agreed<br />

and enrolled in nursing school to pursue that<br />

calling, but later learned her that mother was<br />

becoming physically ill at the thought <strong>of</strong> being<br />

separated from her daughter forever.<br />

Street Market in North Korea capitol Pyongyang<br />

The “Black markets” in North Korea have been a source <strong>of</strong> smuggled food, media,<br />

and technology that has brought up a new generation <strong>of</strong> citizens who are more<br />

aware <strong>of</strong> the outside world. Creative Commons photo from wikimedia.<br />

In 2010, her father hired another broker who<br />

helped her and another young girl to bribe the<br />

border guards and escape across the river. In<br />

China, Ju and her new friend were arrested when<br />

police raided the broker’s home. Miraculously,<br />

Ju was able to contact her father from prison.<br />

“My father told me on the telephone,<br />

‘People around the world are praying for you,<br />

so don’t be afraid and pray to God,’” Ju told<br />

ICC. “I didn’t know what prayer was, but I<br />

prayed to God to save my life.”<br />

In a short time, an underground organization<br />

in South Korea raised nearly $100,000 –<br />

enabling her father to bribe police. On the day<br />

they were to be repatriated to North Korea, Ju<br />

and her friend were loaded on a truck and driven<br />

to safety. In 2011, Ju crossed through Laos<br />

and Thailand and finally rejoined her family in<br />

South Korea, where she still lives today as an<br />

advocate for human rights and reaching North<br />

Korea with the Gospel.<br />

“We don’t consider ourselves lucky,” Ju<br />

said <strong>of</strong> her family’s escape. “If not for the<br />

intercessory prayers <strong>of</strong> other believers and<br />

for us submitting ourselves in obedience and<br />

humility to God, I don’t think we would be<br />

where we are today.”<br />

Ju’s exhortation to fellow defectors <strong>of</strong> her<br />

generation is to send more than money back<br />

to their families in North Korea.<br />

“If the Church could train defectors to not<br />

just be Sunday Christians, but true disciples <strong>of</strong><br />

Christ, they could send more,” Ju explained.<br />

“Sending in the Gospel would bring about<br />

true change.”<br />

Never before has a North Korean generation<br />

been so open to change and so likely to act.<br />

North Korea is not the hermit kingdom it once<br />

was. While it remains a prison state, there are<br />

whispers within <strong>of</strong> coming change.<br />

The people <strong>of</strong> North Korea are anxiously<br />

awaiting the change <strong>of</strong> political salvation and<br />

release from their prison. The need for regime<br />

change is great, but their greatest need is for<br />

release from their eternal prison. Economic<br />

sanctions, diplomatic agendas, or even war<br />

will not meet the deepest need <strong>of</strong> North<br />

Korea—only Jesus can.<br />

If there were ever a time to reach North<br />

Koreans with the truth <strong>of</strong> the Gospel, it is<br />

NOW! We have the treasure <strong>of</strong> Christ and<br />

we are shepherds <strong>of</strong> the Word <strong>of</strong> the Lord.<br />

We have been called by our master to take<br />

that treasure to the end <strong>of</strong> the earth - to<br />

North Korea!<br />

Please join us in doing just that by going to<br />

page 32 to see how to open the prison doors <strong>of</strong><br />

North Korea.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



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Young North Korean girls take<br />

part in a community event.<br />

Keep the next generation <strong>of</strong><br />

North Koreans in prayer.<br />

Creative Commons photo<br />

from flickr.<br />

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