December 9th, 2009 12:12 EST
Christians Crying Out for Prayers in North Korea
North Korean Christians have asked Open Doors for more help, especially for fervent prayer.
Church leaders told Open Doors, an international Christian organization which supports persecuted believers, that the isolated country has called for another period of "100 days of combat." This mobilization means that practically everyone has to work actively for the state. Any person found on the street without a valid reason is sent to a labor camp.
"In this period the people don`t have much of an opportunity to keep themselves alive. In Hwangae province it`s normal again to see dead children on the street," according to local Christians.
The North Korean regime of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong- Il hasn`t been capable of feeding its citizens. In the 1990`s, millions of North Koreans died because of a severe famine. The current famine is starting to look more and more like the horrible situation just before and after the year 2000, says Open Doors` co-worker Simon.
"Unfortunately, there are no media teams inside the country to report what`s going on," says Simon. "Parents die or leave their children because they can no longer bear to see their sons and daughters starve. Many groups of orphans roam the country. If they are caught by the police, they are sent to an orphanage. Most of them die there because of maltreatment and malnutrition. To keep themselves alive, many North Koreans illegally trade at night. The next day they have to report back to work."
On September 17 a period of "150 days of combat" ended. Five days later the North Korean government announced a period of "100 days of combat." During these mobilizations the controls are very strict. Every movement of citizens is followed and restricted. To go from one place to another requires a permit.
Open Doors` work was limited in the past few months because of these "combat periods."
"It was much harder to spread Bibles, Christian books, food, medicines and other emergency goods among the Christians," says Simon. "That`s why we waited for the 150 days to end. After that we wanted to pick up on our projects full steam. Now that the first period of mobilization is followed by a second we are in doubt as to what to do. North Korean Christians held a secret prayer meeting. They came to the conclusion that it was important to continue with our projects. We agreed."
Simon continues: "We hope that many individual Christians and churches in the free world will pray each week for North Korea. North Korean Christians greatly depend on this prayer support. They are very brave. Secretly they share their faith with others. Also, they support other North Koreans, Christians and non- Christians, with practical help. We know of a woman who doesn`t have enough food for herself but still puts aside some food for people who need it even more. If we pray, we can immediately stand next to a North Korean Christian, encourage him and protect him."
Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller adds: "During this time of year when we gather in churches and with our families to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the grim situation in North Korea is another reminder that Christians in the West must reach out in prayer to our brothers and sisters in Christ trying to survive under evil dictator Kim Jong-Il."
The annual North Korea Freedom Week, which mobilizes support for suffering North Koreans, will be held April 25-May 1, 2010. Open Doors` annual World Watch List has ranked North Korea as the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for seven years in a row. The new list of the 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of believers will be released Jan. 6, 2010.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world`s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).