Recent headlines point to a coming showdown with North Korea. As tensions between the U.S. and North Korea (DPRK) continue to escalate, many North Korean defectors say that regardless of President Trump's actions, they expect North Korea to fall within five years! If North Korea does indeed collapse, Asia would experience a massive refugee crisis, probably surpassing the one in Syria. The refugee crisis is a predictable outcome, but the real unknown is the geo-political destabilization that would ensue as China, South Korea, and the U.S. grapple for control of the hermit kingdom.
Destabilization is a key word when it comes to the DPRK, for before the Soviet Union's fall, the DPRK controlled all economic aspects of life for its citizens including food distribution. This system failed after the fall of the USSR and the halt of its subsidies. What followed was a massive famine that caused the death of one to three million people and the implosion of the DPRK's control of the food system.
That massive cultural stress led to the rise of the market system that exists today, where North Koreans go into China, acquire food and goods, and then transport them back to the DPRK for sale.
However, more than food enters back into the DPRK. Awareness of the outside world has permeated the culture and the reality of the outside world is in direct conflict with the regime narrative that the DPRK is the most advanced nation on earth and a virtual paradise.
The dawning revelation that the DPRK is a hell-hole rather than a paradise has been incredibly destabilizing to the other key regime narrative that the DPRK is led by infallible demi-gods.
These factors act as cancers that are working through the regime's control and stability of the culture, and the strain is beginning to show.
In the last year, there have been a number of high-level defectors who have said that they are fed up with the failing system and the antics of their young ruler. Many see these defectors as the proverbial rats on a sinking ship.
Jeff King, president of a religious freedom non-profit, International Christian Concern (ICC), has interviewed numerous defectors in the last year. Reflecting on his conversations, King noted:
"I was struck by the unanimity in belief among the defectors that the regime's days are numbered. They look to a number of markers including the stream of high level defectors, but probably more importantly, they have discussions with those still inside the system and those fresh out. The rise of the market system has acted as a Trojan horse and too many people inside now understand more about the true nature of their country's rulers and the state of North Korea. For months, I listened to them (the defectors) and kept in prayer about the issue. My spiritual sense was that He (the Lord) was saying that indeed, He would soon bring release to the 25 million slaves of North Korea."
No one can predict when the current regime will fall, but what we do know is that the current regime is an abomination. The Kim regimes are responsible for millions of deaths as well as the satanic torture of hundreds of thousands of others. Human rights organizations, like Voice of the Martyrs Korea, estimate that as many as 30,000 of the 200,000 detainees in North Korea's political prison camps are Christians.
In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, defector Kim Eun-Jin vividly remembered the day her father, the leader of an underground church, was arrested while she was at school:
"He hugged me before I left for school, and, like every other day, reminded me to be careful. Every morning at the breakfast table, he would tell us that one day the government would come and arrest us for being Christians. He warned us of the price we would someday pay for our faith. I remember him saying often, 'Even if I face death, I will follow Jesus.'"
That day before school was the last time Eun-Jin saw her father. Eun-Jin believes her father and uncle, who was also arrested, followed Jesus unto death in one of the nation's labor camps. She and the rest of her family finally escaped in 2005 with the aid of a Chinese pastor. "I grew up in a land where they said there was no God, but my father told me otherwise," Eun-Jin acknowledged. "He loved Christ, and for that he died."
Christians are gathering at Saddleback Church in early June for a unique conference called "The Bridge," that connects the Church with politicians, government leaders, and ministries that work on North Korea to reveal the inner workings of the DPRK. Hosted by International Christian Concern (persecution.org), The Bridge will also show Christians how they can be personally involved in bringing the Gospel and freedom to the people of North Korea.
When asked about The Bridge and what the hope for North Korea was, King said,
"We seem to be on the brink of the second greatest Gospel opportunity in the past 100 years and the Church isn't ready. Imagine what the Church could do if it tore down the denominational, ideological, and societal fences that separate us. Imagine if the Church, leaders of the US government, and the leaders of ministries came together in unity against the persecutors with prayer and action. The Word tells us that the Lord commands a blessing where there is unity. Together, we have the potential to tear down the gates of hell and break the chains to set the prisoners free."
For more information on the Bridge, including directions on how to register, visit www.thepersecutionconference.org or call 800-422-5441.