An entire family, including a two-year old toddler, were sentenced to life imprisonment in North Korea after the parents were caught with a Bible.
The incident is not very recent, but has now come to light as one of many harrowing cases highlighted in a 2022 report by the US State Department on religious freedom in North Korea.
It said that the authoritarian government had continued to ‘execute, torture, arrest and physically abuse people for their religious activities’.
“I pray in my tears for my beautiful home country,” says Timothy Cho*, a North Korean who escaped from the country years ago. “It still makes me feel very sad and terrible. How will history remember us – the children, the families?”
Whilst Christians aren’t the only group to suffer, one released prisoner said that they were singled out for particularly appalling treatment. To many of you who are familiar with the plight of our North Korean family, the report’s shocking findings come as little surprise.
In another reported case, a Christian bravely continued to pray, even as he was beaten senselessly by guards, whilst a Christian woman committed suicide after the authorities placed her in solitary confinement and deprived her of sleep. Another believer died after he was denied food. And in a reflection of the dangers facing Christians from within their own families, one believer was arrested after their partner reported them to the authorities for owning a cross and a Bible.
Our North Korean brothers and sisters are following Jesus amidst extreme persecution, where even owning a Bible has unimaginable consequences. Your prayers and support remain crucial to their survival.
That God will soften the hearts of Kim Jong-un and his family, so they relinquish their authoritarian grip on power and turn to Jesus.
That the Holy Spirit will continue to give supernatural strength, peace and encouragement to our North Korean family, particularly those in prison.
That God will use this latest report, and recent developments, to bring greater freedoms to the North Korean people.
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