“You should never think that Christianity died in North Korea. It is alive.”
A high-level escapee from North Korea
Dear Friend of the Persecuted Church,
Have you seen the famous picture of North Korea at night?
It is drenched in darkness.
What we cannot see is inside homes, desperate people holding radios to their ears on the lowest volume so no one can overhear.
They are listening to the Bible. The light of God’s word is piercing the darkness!
These North Korean citizens, held captive by a totalitarian regime, know that if they are caught, they face prison camps, torture, even execution.
Yet they eagerly seek God despite the cost. And we can help them!
To be a Christian in North Korea is to be – in the government’s view – a national security threat. The regime criminalizes Christianity and treats its dictators like gods – even dividing history by its founder’s birthdate. The Supreme Leader is the ultimate authority and unconditional loyalty is brutally enforced.
To keep total power over its people and what they believe, North Korea controls all media and bans any information from the outside world. Censorship and smears define the techniques to indoctrinate their people.
Textbooks accuse Christian missionaries of “evil deeds,” including rape, blood-sucking, organ harvesting, murder, and espionage. Films show Christian missionaries using churches and chapels to lure people to their deaths.
All North Koreans must attend weekly propaganda lectures. Newly built homes appear to have radios installed inside the walls to broadcast the lectures.
Yet North Koreans are hungry for the truth. After being pummeled with lies all their lives, nothing is more powerful than “the Truth will set you free”.
And they are willing to risk everything for the Truth.
In April, North Korean defectors spoke to policymakers in Washington, DC. They revealed how they learned the truth in a country built on lies.
“My friend smuggled a radio from China and I could not stop myself from listening even though I knew I could be discovered and sent to a political prison camp,” Kim Hyung-soo said. “Just listening secretly to the radio for three nights, decades of indoctrination were peeled away.”
Chu Ilgyoung, another escapee, said, “A lot of people listen to the radio. We loved listening to radio. I learned from radio about Christmas, it is a worldwide holiday. It marks the year when Jesus was born. But it is not in North Korea. Kim Il-sung’s birthday is the most important holiday” and the beginning of the calendar.
Imagine living in that isolated country and forced to worship a false god. Imagine the joy of hearing the Bible and testimonies and information from other North Koreans who found freedom!
Here is where we come in – and how together we can play a part.
First – pray! Only God can pierce the darkness that is North Korea.
Then, support getting the Bible and truthful news into North Korea to strengthen secret Christians’ faith through secure radio transmissions and other methods.
You can help get Bible radio broadcasts – and Christian programs, news from the outside world, and testimonies from escapees – into North Korea with your gifts to Christian Freedom International. Thank you!
What about the risks? It is worth pausing to ask — and listen to North Koreans.
One man who escaped said, “I was exposed to danger when I listened to radio. I witnessed one person who was executed for listening. North Korean people know the danger. They need the information. They want to listen.”
“North Koreans are not animals who just want to eat for survival. No, they want freedom, they want truth and information. I think they believe the promise of resurrection, overcoming fears and achieving triumph,” a Christian defector said.
“People are so thirsty for information they are making home-made radios.”
What happens to Christians who get caught in North Korea?
Korea Future Initiative interviewed survivors of North Korea’s religious persecution and released a bone-chilling report. The gruesome cruelty and torture techniques are too hard to share.
But these humble Christians’ sincere faith is astonishing.
One witness reported:
The group had formed an underground church that comprised adults and children with ages ranging from 10-years of age to close to 80-years of age. The two families continued to pray together silently and with their eyes open in their cells. The respondent told investigators, “I asked them whether they were afraid. They just smiled.
[One victim] said she was not frightened and told me, ‘Jesus looks over us.’
I began to cry because I knew what would happen to people like her, but she told me not to worry. The children did not cry either. They were all smiling. They said they were not scared.
The next day they were all sent to Chongjin Susong political prison camp.”
(Chongjin Susong camp is a lifelong, hard-labor concentration camp.)
Another testified of a Christian woman in a prison camp:
After being tortured, a prisoner later cried and said, “I am God’s daughter. I am crying because I am worried that God will be in pain seeing his daughter being assaulted in prison.”
Yet another said:
“I begged to God every morning and every night. It made me feel more at peace because it gave me the sense that I had someone to depend on.”
You and I cannot travel to North Korea. (Americans are banned). But God keeps giving us opportunities to try to reach and help North Koreans — to equip them to develop a faith strong enough to endure horrific persecution.
Like this one: We bought and delivered solar-powered audio Bibles and micro-chips that are pre-loaded with the Bible – and fit North Korean cell phones – to smuggle into North Korea. Will you pray they reach people hungry to know God?
A final word from Chu Ilgyoung who found freedom from North Korea and its lies:
“In North Korea I was educated that U.S. people are enemies. But they are angelic and help us. I pray God will bless you seven-fold for your dedication.”
For God’s kingdom,
P.S. Thank you for getting the Truth to North Korea through radio broadcasts and Bibles!
We also supply shelters for people escaping North Korea stocked with food, medicines, and Bibles. Even during Covid, our shelters are above capacity. Travel is more restricted, so their stay is much longer – which adds to frustrations and agitation. Will you pray for harmony? And safety on their treacherous journey?
Reaching into North Korea with Truth
The Korean Peninsula from space. The area between South Korea and China that appears like water is North Korea.
Inside that dark area, the North Korean regime holds people captive. But Jesus came set the captives free!
Christian Freedom International partners with escapees and other Christians to get the light of God’s truth into North Korea – and strengthen the faith of secret Christians.
Free North Korea Radio broadcasts news and Christian programs into North Korea. The founder and staff escaped from the totalitarian country and tailor the programs to North Koreans still captive.
Christian Freedom International partners with Free North Korea Radio. We also work with other groups to smuggle in radios and Bibles (pictured in waterproof bags).
Listeners inside North Korea find ways to smuggle out information to Free North Korea Radio. This studio wall is plastered with secret documents and manuals exposing the regime’s orders.
This Free North Korea Radio news host was a broadcaster in North Korea before defecting. She also acts in the station’s radio dramas of Bible stories.
North Korean media showed residents entering their new homes last year. On the wall of each home was a dedicated receiver for the regime’s radio network to indoctrinate people daily with instructions and propaganda.
Micro-chips with the Bible in the North Korean language for secret Christians and others inside North Korea.
Christian Freedom International bought hundreds and delivered them to a smuggler in Korea.
Christian Freedom International supporter Jeremiah Lorrig delivered solar-powered audio Bibles to a smuggler.
Christian Freedom International co-sponsored the North Korea Freedom Week, events in Washington, DC, and Seoul, Korea to spotlight the dire human rights abuses in North Korea.
Voice of America (VOA) reported on our pleading for Christians who escaped North Korea only to be held captive in China.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) interviewed Christian Freedom International on our ministries to the persecuted in North Korea.
RFA is a U.S.-funded news agency that broadcasts to Asian countries who prohibit access to a free press – like China and North Korea.
This was a phenomenal opportunity to tell North Koreans – who believe America wants to destroy them – that “American Christians provide rice and Bibles, radio broadcasts, and shelters for those fleeing North Korea, out of love and because we care about them.”
The RFA producer was so excited about our work that he asked for a rice-and-Bible bottle and bought a t-shirt proclaiming, “Pray for North Korea”.
Two Christian families escaped from North Korea – and were caught in China.
China is holding them in detention centers. If forced back to North Korea they will be sent to prison camps, tortured, and likely executed.
We are urging South Korea to intervene with China to free them.