|According to the Open Doors World Watch List, |
North Korea is the worst persecutor of Christians
in the world. (Image courtesy World Watch List)
Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old U.S. missionary, was recently moved to a hospital because his health is rapidly declining. Detained in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years of "hard labor" in April, Bae is accused of "hostile acts" against the country of North Korea.
According to the Associated Press, Bae is the sixth American to be detained by North Korea since 2009, and at least four of the people imprisoned in recent years are devout Christians.
Vision Beyond Borders President Patrick Klein just returned from the oppressive nation.
"It was unbelievable spiritual warfare. I mean, just constant," says Klein. "I've never faced such spiritual oppression before in my entire life."
Klein and a few others were visiting foreign workers in North Korea, looking for ways VBB could start supporting believers in the country.
"I think the people of North Korea are hungry," says Klein. "But there's incredible oppression, and I believe that's why we have to pray that God will break through that and that the people will see the Truth of Jesus Christ."
Idolatry is a significant challenge in North Korea because the national government insists people worship their leaders as gods. Klein recalls an oft-played video; he feels it was intended to showcase North Korea's supremacy.
"It really was a mockery of a church service," says Klein. "It had women leading [something] like a praise service, and people were worshiping their leaders. The whole place was filled with people dressed nicely.
"And then, they flashed on the big screen pictures of their leaders, and people started applauding and worshiping these leaders."
As if that weren't enough, the video's ending scenario truly "put a cherry on top."
"There was a nuclear warhead headed for the United States, and then they showed this big explosion," Klein recalls. "And at the end of this explosion, the people stood up and started applauding very, very loudly.
"That is such a mockery of our worship services, where we exalt Jesus and are looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ."
According to the Open Doors World Watch List, North Korea is the worst persecutor of Christians in the world.
"[This government] is so wicked that they actually turn children against their parents," says Klein.
He shares a story he heard while in-country: "'Some of your parents have a little book,' teachers told their students one day. 'Your assignment is to go home tonight and find that book, and bring it back to school tomorrow.'"
In class the next day, 16 children came to class with their parents' Bibles and were paraded around the classroom to much applause and cheering. One little girl was so excited by the celebration, Klein says, she couldn't wait to run home and tell her parents about it.
However, "when she got home, her parents were gone, and [they] never came back. They were taken to a concentration camp, and the little girl was taken to a state-run orphanage," Klein says.
"What a wicked, wicked system," he continues. "But we know that God is so much greater and that He Himself can break through this. I believe that prayer is the key."
As VBB searches for a way to support the Body of Christ in North Korea, please pray.
"The only way we can really get involved in there is through prayer and God opening the doors. We're committed to go back," says Klein. "We know it's only the Lord that's going to open the doors; we can't do it on our own."
Pray that doors will open for VBB in North Korea. Ask the Lord to open blind eyes to governmental oppression and idolatry.
Visit our Interviews page and hear more of Klein's stories from North Korea.