North Korea’s city of Pyongyang, a mission field for Voice of the Martyrs

A report from a worldwide ministry whose leaders focus their attention on persecuted Christians say the lies missionaries in the restrictive nation of North Korea are facing aren’t changing, but their impact is.

An extended report by P. Todd Nettleton about the work of The Voice of the Martyrs has described the repressive circumstances under which Christians in North Korea live.

The report told of the faith of a teen-ager who was caught teaching about Christ, and died in a North Korean prison camp to leave behind a witness that continues there even today. It also reported on the stunning change in a prison guard who watched that teen’s final days and sought out what made the teen strong.

It also reported how a veteran of more than 100 missions inside the restrictive nation works to help other Christians worship, and told the story of a woman who had lost her parents to starvation in North Korea but was given a vision to return and teach the Gospel.

Now comes confirmation of the aggressive campaign North Korea conducts to mislead its own people.

“Western missionaries eat Korean children… North Korea is an earthly paradise … other nations of the world are worse off than us … Kim Il Sung was a divine being, and his spirit guides the Korean people … Kim Jong il was born on a holy mountain, and his birth was greeted by rainbows and flowers bursting into bloom.”

“The North Korean government lies to its own people, and to the rest of the world,” the conclusion of the report said. “For more than 50 years it has promoted Juche, (Korean for ‘self-reliance’) a false trinity consisting of Kim Il Sung, the dead dictator and ‘father,’ his son Kim Jong il, the current dictator and ‘son,’ and the ‘holy fire’ of the Juche ideology,” the group said.

But it’s not working any more, even though the charades continue, with two large church buildings in Pyongyang showplaces for tourists – but sharing the same “choir” of professional singers, the report said.

“More and more, people are rejecting the idea of Juche … and relying on the salvation promise in the blood of Jesus Christ,” the report said.

In house after house, where Christians meet under the mandatory portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong il, “many come to know Christ,” VOM said.

“We are committed and privileged to stand with our brothers and sisters as long as the brutal regime of Kim Jong il stands against them,” the organization said. “As we equip, encourage and support them, we know we will also stand with them in front of the throne in eternity. The recipe for victory in this eternal battle will not involve tanks, planes or guns. All that is needed is more Pencils.”

“Pencil” was the pseudonym adopted by one of the missionaries profiled by VOM, a teen who feared for his life, but nevertheless went into North Korea carrying a Bible and testifying about his Christian faith.

His actions earned him a terminal sentence to a North Korean prison camp, where after his death a guard sought out some local Christians to obtain what had made that teen so strong.

“The courageous believers we work with in North Korea all have something in common – even when they have an opportunity to be free, they choose to take true Freedom to others inside the hermit kingdom,” the report said.

VOM is a non-profit, interdenominational ministry working worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.

It was launched by the late Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who started smuggling Russian Gospels into Russia in 1947, just months before Richard was abducted and imprisoned in Romania where he was tortured for his refusal to recant Christianity.

He eventually was released in 1964 and the next year he testified about the persecution of Christians before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, stripping to the waist to show the deep torture wound scars on his body.

The group that later was renamed The Voice of the Martyrs was organized in 1967, when his book, “Tortured for Christ,” was released.



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