To report or not – That is the choice that North Korean children must make.
Spreading the message of the cross in free countries has been something that we’re used to, it’s a part of our lives. Going to church is a normal part of our Christian walk that costs us nothing. Getting Christian material is as easy as walking into a store or clicking a button online. Even now, with the pandemic, many of us don’t lack communing with other believers. We can easily switch on our phones and other digital devices to start a Zoom call. Things we may even take for granted like being able to read our Bibles in the park can be done in freedom and solitude. But imagine you couldn’t do any of that? It may be difficult for you to imagine, but for many persecuted Christians, it’s an everyday reality, especially in countries like North Korea.
In North Korea, being found with a Bible or being a secret Christian is a political crime that’s punishable with years in a prison camp or even death. Even being suspected of these things can land you in trouble. Such danger forces parents in the country to keep their faith hidden from their children as they’re taught to report their parents. So when Kim Sang-Hwa* found her parents Bible, she knew that their lives were in her hands. Everything changed as the faith her parents kept hidden from her for years left her with a decision: to report them or confront them.
“Wow. We’re all dead now,” Kim Sang-Hwa said after she had found the book by accident while her parents weren’t at home. It wasn’t like anything the 12-year-old had seen before. She found the language intriguing. Until she realised what it meant. The book was illegal!
“I only read the first line. ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’… I had shivers throughout my body. I was so afraid,” she says.
She wondered whether to tell the authorities or not, as in North Korea, it’s unacceptable to have a Bible in your home, and she knew that their lives were at stake.
“I chose to confront my father. That’s when he explained the Bible and the Gospel to me.”
Her father had been praying for five years that he would have an opportunity to share about Jesus with Kim Sang-Hwa. And God answered his prayer when she discovered the Bible and made a choice to not report them. After learning of God’s everlasting love, she decided to give her life to Jesus and risk everything. This automatically meant that she would gain access to a hidden and dangerous world: the underground Church, a place where she found love, light and hope.
Many years later, Kim Sang-Hwa continues to serve Jesus with her husband and children in South Korea.
Kim Sang-Hwa’s story is one of many stories about believers in North Korea who hide their faith to save their lives, the lives of their loved ones and the underground church. Partner with Open Doors in prayer to lift up all believers in North Korea to the Lord for protection and for the Lord to continue strengthening them. Your prayers make sure that though they are persecuted, they are never alone. Click here for prayer points.
*Name changed for security reasons.