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What the Mainstream Media Won't Tell You: The Church in North Korea

08-11-2017
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President Donald Trump is warning North Korea's dictator that America's military solutions are now "fully in place, locked and loaded."

The president took to Twitter Friday warning the communist leader that should he "act unwisely" the United States is ready to respond. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path," the president warned in a tweet.

While the rhetoric between the two leaders continues to escalate, South Korean Christians are going on the spiritual offensive, deploying prayers and scriptures.

For nearly three decades, one Christian human rights group has carried out an unusual aerial offensive to encourage North Korea's secret believers.

Every week, hundreds of bright orange balloons, with all 16 chapters of the book of Mark inscribed on it, float into North Korean airspace.

"One slight change in the wind direction could mess up the mission," said Peter, the lead organizer of the balloon operation.

Peter started the project with the aim of getting the Word of God into North Korea. He dubbed the mission Operation Dandelion.

"We started this project back in 1991, and just as a dandelion needs the wind to spread its seeds, we need the wind to spread the message," Peter explained.

That message is the Word of God printed in the Korean language on thousands of these bright orange balloons.

"It's almost impossible to get Bibles into North Korea, so using balloons is one of the most effective ways to share the gospel," Peter said.

The mission continues today, despite rumors of war.

Watch the full story here:

Lost in all the news coverage of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula is the level of suffering Christians have to endure for their faith in the communist regime.

While freedom of religion is guaranteed under North Korea's constitution, it is never encouraged.

Just ask Kim Eun Jin. She was born in Pyongyang and raised in a Christian family.

"Growing up I was told by the authorities that there was no God in this world," Kim told CBN News. "We were ordered instead to worship Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the leaders of the country."

Kim described to CBN News how she and members of her family were forced to practice their faith in secret.

"We met every Saturday evening," Kim said, explaining what it was like being a believer in North Korea.

"My family gathered in the back room of our small apartment," she continued. "We had to be very quiet. We whispered when we prayed, sang songs or read the Bible. We often covered our heads to muffle the noise."

Growing up, Kim said she heard stories of how her native city Pyongyang was once known as the "Jerusalem of the East."

It all began with a revival that broke out on January 14, 1907, when a group of Korean Christians and Western missionaries met in Pyongyang for a Bible study in a church on the outskirts of the city.

Halfway through, God began to move.

"They knew that the only way to survive was to depend on God," Rev. Ji Il Bang of North Korean Church told CBN News.

One by one, the men confessed their sins to each other-- sins of racial prejudice, hate, anger, and jealousy.

Bang said ,"They knew that nothing was impossible with God, and so they called on Him for forgiveness."

God answered and revival broke out. In the ensuing months, thousands repented publicly, including elders of churches and foreign missionaries serving in Korea.

By 1945, 13 percent of the population was Christian. The city was the center of Christianity on the Korean Peninsula.

Watch more on the Great Pyongyang Revival of 1907 here.

Yet, half a century later, Kim Eun Jin's faith made her a target.

"My parents often asked me to stay outside the apartment on Saturdays to make sure no one was coming while the family prayed inside. We couldn't allow anyone to know what was going on," she told CBN News.

Despite the hardships, the meetings in her family home grew to include a few friends and extended family.

"We had one Bible in the house. My grandmother, who was a believer from the Japanese Imperial times, had a Chinese Bible. She translated the Bible by hand into the Korean language on pieces of paper. That's how we read the Bible. We found strength in those pages," Him said.

Watch Kim Eun Jin's full story here:

North Korea is listed as the #1 worst country in the world to be a Christian.

Yet, it hasn't stopped Christianity from growing in the communist nation.

Dr. Eric Foley, head of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, says the door for the gospel in North Korea is open wider than many people believe.

"People tend to think about North Korea as a country with a big barbed wire fence around it, where nobody goes in, and nobody comes out," Dr Foley told Hope 103.2. "And that's not a very accurate picture."

Despite constant threats of death, Foley says North Korea's Christians are strong and creative about sharing their faith. He writes about this in his book, These Are The Generations.

"North Korean people face great difficulties, but it's not as if there is a black cloud hanging over the people of this nation," Foley said. "They have joys and strengths and hopes also."

Over the decades, scores Americans, South Koreans, Chinese and Christians from a host of other countries have developed a fond love for North Korea.

Among them was Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American citizen.  

He was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1968, and his family immigrated to the United States in 1985.

Bae developed a love for the people of North Korea that eventually led him to the China-North Korea border.

A new concern was born in his heart: one for a people so controlled, so oppressed, that no one really knew what life was like inside this isolated nation.

Compelled to show them they were not forgotten by the outside world, Bae formed a company that successfully led peaceful tours into North Korea for many years.

But in April 2013, his activities came to a halt when he was arrested by North Korean authorities and charged of planning to overthrow the government.

He was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. 735 days later, on November 8, 2014, he was released and described to CBN News how he survived days of torture and agony inside a North Korean prison.

"Along the way, I found my way adjusting to life in the North Korean prison, just depending on God," Bae said.

Watch his full interview here:

As tensions enter a critical phase, please remember to pray for Christians in both North and South Korea.

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