Small Group Inspirational Guide
The lives of North Koreans are constantly scrutinised. Every Saturday, citizens attend their local Kim Il-Sung research centre where they study the teachings of the great leaders and take part in ‘criticism’ sessions to address the ways they have failed the state. Every citizen is also part of the ‘Inminban’ – a kind of neighbourhood watch system. No North Korean person exists outside the inminban system; everyone is a member. The leaders of these inminban groups write reports on their neighbours: Have their members had visitors? Been away from home for any reason? Are the portraits of the leaders kept clean?
For Christians – who believe that there is a higher authority than the nation’s leaders – life is perilous. “I was afraid, every day, for my life,” said one. This is one reason why Christian parents don’t often tell their children about their faith. Children might let something slip, sing a song, say a prayer, which could result in their entire family disappearing, them being executed or more likely sent to labour camps.
Even for those who are not locked up, life is incredibly hard. The economy is in a state of collapse. And it’s estimated that famine has killed between two and three million people in North Korea since the early 1990s.
While living under such conditions, North Korean Christians and citizens alike need much prayer…
In this resource you will find readings and prayers to help you pray with the underground Church in North Korea. The stories you will read show the hardship, pain and suffering of North Korean believers, but also their joy, courage and faith – because, amazingly, despite the secrecy and pressure and fear, the Church is growing!
But what makes this resource different is that it also challenges you to live like a North Korean.
Along with Bible readings and prayers, there are actions that will help you experience a little of what North Korean Christians endure every day. You might end up living without electricity (or food). You might bury your Bible or learn long political thoughts of the ‘Dear Leader’. These actions cannot replicate the reality, but they can, with prayerful reflection, provide a window into the world of North Korean Christians.