Pastor and North Korean Christian Defectors Reveal How They Continue to Share the Gospel in the Hermit Kingdom

People look toward the north through a barbed-wire fence near the militarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, December 21, 2017. | (Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

A pastor and two North Korean Christians who defected from the hermit kingdom without being captured have revealed the creative ways they continue to share the Gospel with those back home.

Peter Jung, a pastor who specializes in spreading Christianity in North Korea, recently told The Associated Press that his group provides shelter, food, and money to North Koreans visiting Chinese border towns before teaching them about Christianity.

Before they return home, Jung said his group asks the North Korean visitors to memorize Bible verses or carry Bibles with them to share the Gospel with their friends and family. He revealed that missionaries create a “religious atmosphere” by getting people to exchange text messages containing Christian-themed words like “peace.”

Christianity is illegal in North Korea and possessing a Bible, holding open religious services or making any attempt to build underground church networks can result in torture, lengthy prison terms or execution. As North Korea consistently ranks as the worst country in the world for Christian persecution, many citizens keep their beliefs to themselves or within their immediate families.

Lee HanByeol, Jung’s wife and a North Korean refugee living in Seoul, South Korea, recalled watching her father pray whenever his wife slipped into China to borrow money from relatives in the mid-1990s.

“I saw him praying many times. … My mom risked her life to go to China illegally to feed our family. So when my mom left, he kept praying, sitting cross-legged and trembling in the corner of our room,” Lee said.

Lee said she didn’t know about Christianity at the time, as her father kept his faith to himself until his death in an apparent effort to protect his family.

“I often think about how great it would have been if my father and I could have prayed together while holding each other’s hands,” she said.

Another North Korean defector, identified only as “J.M.,” shared how he encountered Christianity after he fled to China in 1998. He was arrested by Chinese police and sent back home in 2001, and after serving several months in prison he attempted to share his faith with his parents.

“My father found it difficult to embrace (Christianity) but my mother quickly accepted it,” said J.M.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett