North Korean believers: Desperate to study the Bible, they met in a hole in the ground
By Mark Ellis
North Korean prison camp
The underground Christians in North Korea are literally conducting secret meetings under the ground.
North Korean defector, Choi Kwanghyuk, now living in Los Angeles, described the covert life he and other believers were forced to live in the oppressive country in an interview with The Christian Post (CP).
During a famine, Choi learned about Christianity when he made a desperate quest across the border to China searching for food.
In China, he met a Christian, began studying the Bible, and was born again. When he returned to North Korea, he shared his faith with nine friends, and continued making trips back and forth to China with the aid of the missionary, according to CP.
Choi began to meet with his friends to study the book of Matthew in a surprising, secretive location.
“Our meeting spot was literally underground. In North Korea, we dig holes on the ground to store Kimchee and potatoes over the winter. It’s very cold in North Korea and if we don’t bury it underground, then it will freeze up. We don’t have heating system in North Korea,” he told CP.
“We meet in this rectangular hole and use [a] lantern to study the Bible. Since we cannot sing out loud, we praise by humming the hymn.”
Following North Korea’s inception in 1948, the Kim family dynasty has attempted to wipe out Christianity, and substituted a cult of personality around themselves. As a result, many are ignorant about religion in the officially atheist country.
“I would say one out of 100 people might know about God. In this case, it is because their great grandparents were Christians during early 1900s. If you get caught associating with religion, then DPRK government will send them to political camp or prison,” he told CP.
There have been outlandish stories about Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s behavior, and Choi thinks the stories may be accurate.
He recalled Kim Jong Un’s introduction of a new currency system. “(He) stated that the new currency will be so valuable. If you have 500 North Korean currency, then you will be able to buy unlimited food and clothes,” he recounted.
“People believed Kim Jong Un, but the value of North Korean currency actually went down after the introduction of new currency. Many people committed suicide because of this revolution.”
Choi knew soldiers and guards who worked at the prison camps where Christians were held, and they described the believers’ refusal to abandon their faith. “Even though they are offered release by signing a contract renouncing their religion, they do not accept this offer,” he said.
How to pray: Pray for the Spirit of Christ to infiltrate the nation, bringing in his gospel and power, through cracks that God will make and doors that God will open, or through supernatural means like dreams and visions. May Christ bring justice, righteousness, healing, comfort, abundant life and salvation to the people, freedom to the prisoners, and healing to the land. (Luke 4:18,19) Pray for the underground church, which exists mainly in horrendous prison labor camps as well as in underground, secret house-churches and in exile, that these most cruelly abused believers will be preserved and strengthened in their faith and hope by the ever-present Holy Spirit. (WEA Religious Liberty Commission)
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