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International Day of Prayer3 min read


A legacy of persecution still reigns in North Korea

Kelsey Campbell
Oct 20, 2019

Deep in a secluded area, the men dug several shallow graves before ordering the family to get in. With each shovel of fresh dirt, the father and his six children’s screams grew softer until the forest was silent.

Jun grew up hearing the story of how his great-grandfather was buried alive.

The situation in North Korea hasn’t changed much since the 1940s, Jun said, when his great-grandfather was a pastor living in North Korea.

Jun is now a pastor himself. We’ve changed his name to protect his identity and his ministry.

Jun’s great-grandfather, whom we’ll call Hoon, moved to North Korea to escape Christian persecution in China. Six of his children accompanied him while his wife and one daughter stayed behind, planning to join them soon.

But Hoon’s wife and daughter would never see their family members alive again.

As Hoon and the children settled into their new home, he thought he’d finally be able to spread the Gospel in freedom. But North Korea was becoming more closed, and the government was beginning to seek out Christians, imprison them — and even kill them.

One day as Hoon’s youngest daughter was playing in the yard, she was approached by a neighbor. “Do you believe in Jesus?” he asked her.

“Yes,” she said.

A North Korean communist overheard the conversation, and later that day, men burst into Hoon’s home and dragged him and his children away. 

When Hoon’s wife finally arrived in North Korea, the government contacted her and told her where she could find her husband.

As the dirt was brushed away from her family’s lifeless bodies, Hoon’s wife realized her husband died with his arms spread out, trying to protect and comfort his youngest daughter as they died.

Now, 70 years later, Jun is carrying on his great-grandfather’s legacy. He refuses to let what happened to his family in North Korea hinder him from serving the Lord. He’s dedicated his life to ministering to the persecuted Christians living there.

“I had decided that I would not look at the land of North Korea after I heard that story from my grandmother,” Jun said. “But now I am doing it because God has given me love for North Korea. The situation in North Korea in these days is no different from that period. Let us pray for the soul of North Korea and for the freedom of faith.”

North Korea is consistently ranked as the most dangerous places for Christians to live. And according to the U.N., all its citizens live under “systemic, widespread, and gross human rights violations.” To make matters worse, just this month, the nation started testing nuclear missiles again, saying the West should respect their “sovereignty.”

But a country that doesn’t value its citizens and brutally persecutes Christians needs one thing most of all — prayer.

Like Pastor Jun, we need to ask God to do a work in the hearts of North Korea’s leaders. And this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, you can put your faith into action by sending Bibles to persecuted believers in North Korea and other closed countries.

Every $10 you give will send one Bible to a Christian suffering for his or her faith. And since believers in persecution zones often share their Bibles with trusted family and friends, you can impact many people with your gift.

Support a pastor like Jun who knows the price of being a Christian. Help provide Bibles for secret believers and seekers.


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