Prayers for N. Korea Christians Run Alongside Freedom Week

Open Doors USA is seeking prayers for persecuted Christians during North Korea Freedom Week, asking participants to join the prayer campaign for those suffering for their faith in the communist state.

The prayer campaign is divided into seven days, Apr. 24-30, with a prayer topic for each day including the following, respectively: Leadership, Prisoners, Famine, Religious Persecution, Refugees, Underground Railroad, and Asylum.

On the Open Doors World Watch List 2006, North Korea was once again ranked number one for Christian persecution followed by countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Vietnam, and China.

In November, reports by North Korean defectors gave details of life in the totalitarian government that included stories of torture and executions of Christians.

One eyewitness said that in 1996, five-middle-aged men accused of running an illegal church were forced to lie on the ground as a steam roller crushed them.

Another report came from 19-year-old Choi Hwa (an adopted name to protect relatives still remaining in North Korea) - who is currently living in Seoul, South Korea. At the age of 12, Choi witnessed her father and her sister executed because her sister accidentally dropped a Bible with some laundry while she was washing by the river. The Los Angeles Times wrote that their legs had apparently been broken and they “had to be dragged out like dolls before they were tied to poles and shot.”

Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, once had a powerful Christian political force. It had as high as a 30 percent Christian population before the 1950-1953 Korean war, giving it the nickname of the “Jerusalem of the East.”

Today, three churches remain in the country, all located in Pyongyang and are mostly for show and serve mainly only foreign diplomats and relief workers, according to reports. Local churches were reportedly destroyed or converted to other uses.

North Korea Freedom Week, which runs for nine days starting officially on Saturday, has the goal of creating a greater awareness of the oppressive nature of the North Korea regime and encourage churches to help by praying for North Korea.

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