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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in North Korea

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday December 16, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

 NORTH KOREA: Population: 25.7 million, Christians: about 300,000

Number 1 on the World Watch List of the top 50 countries where its most difficult to follow Jesus.

Due to the Communist government’s secretive nature, little is known about the current status of Christians inside North Korea. Pyongyang, the capital, was known as the “Jerusalem of the East” in the early 1900s because of its 2,000-plus churches. The Communist government depends on Juche (the North Korean religion that requires worship and subservience to the Kim family) to maintain stability, and Christianity is considered subversive. Anyone discovered to be a Christian (or, in many cases, discovered to have had contact with Christian ideas) is considered an enemy of the state. The gospel is still proclaimed in North Korea through various creative means, including shortwave radio and bold evangelists who risk their lives smuggling materials into the country.

In November, Christians working in the region described how North Korea has set up “quarantine camps” for Covid-19 patients, where they are deprived of food and medicine, causing many to die of starvation. North Korea is routinely ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. Believers have been executed simply for owning a Bible. Tens of thousands of Christians – sometimes entire families – have been incarcerated in labor camps where they are abused, tortured and worked to death.

North Korea tells hungry citizens to ‘tighten belts’ until 2025. 

North Korea is telling citizens to tighten their belts through at least 2025, the year they will reopen the border with China which they closed last year to ward off the coronavirus, causing severe food shortages, sources in the country told RFA.

After the government informed citizens to expect more years of hardship, people complained that they might not be able to last through the coming winter–much less hold out through the middle of the decade. “Two weeks ago, they told the neighborhood watch unit meeting that our food emergency would continue until 2025. Authorities emphasized that the possibility of reopening customs between North Korea and China before 2025 was very slim,” a resident of the northwestern border city of Sinuiju, across from China’s Dandong, told RFA’s Korean Service Oct. 21.

Chronically short of food, the country of 25 million has seen starvation deaths in the wake of the closure of the Sino-Korean border and suspension of trade with China in January 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The move devastated the North Korean economy, causing food prices to skyrocket without imports from China covering the gap between domestic food production and demand.  The UN World Food Program estimates that about 40% of North Korea’s population is undernourished. Some of the residents are saying that the situation right now is so serious they don’t know if they can even survive the coming winter. They say that telling us to endure hardship until 2025 is the same as telling us to starve to death,” said the source.

Christians are sent to concentration camps, where they are starved, overworked, and tortured. North Koreans have a saying: Whenever two or three people are gathered together, one of them is a spy. This is true even in family settings, as children are taught to spy on their parents from a young age. Therefore, North Korean Christians must be extremely careful in what they say, what they do and how they pray; all must be done in secret. When a Christian is discovered, the government punishes the entire family. Despite the threat of persecution and heavy social pressure, Christians in North Korea hold firmly to their faith. For example, one North Korean defector told VOM that her mother continued to shelter orphans even after they stole from her. Christian and secular analysts estimate that about 30,000 Christians are suffering in prison and labor camps.

It is very dangerous to own a Bible – even owning a few pages can result in being sent to a concentration camp. Memorizing scripture is the safest way to keep God’s word.

One man who was arrested after converting to Christianity was forced into a metal cage measuring 3ft high by 4ft wide. He told Korea Future Initiative researchers: “There were steel bars on all four-sides that were heated with electricity. “Usually, prisoners lasted only three or four hours in the cage, but I sat there for 12 hours and prayed.” I kept praying to God to save me.”

Women suffered terrible treatment including sexual violence and forced abortions at a camp in North Hamgyong province. One witness described how pregnant women were forced into induced labor before their babies were taken away and smothered by guards using sheets of plastic and cloth sacks

The report said methods of torture included strangulation, sleep deprivation, the use of stress positions and pouring water laced with pepper down prisoner’s nostrils. Others were killed for trying to smuggle pages torn from bibles into North Korea from China.

  • Pray that the Lord will reach Kim Jong-un and other top leaders with the power of the gospel.
  • Pray for perseverance and courage for the Christians suffering in the brutal labor camps.
  • Pray for protection of the very small house churches from the enemies of God.
  • Pray for the millions of North Koreans who have not heard the Good News due to relentless Christian persecution and oppression that the Lord will bring His light into the darkness.
  • Pray that the border to China will reopen to allow Open Doors/VOM to bring in food and spiritual support. (Over 20% of the population is malnourished)
  • Pray for the believers that the Lord give them strength, courage and safe methods of communication that are not detectable by the police and informers.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will take the heart of stone out of the prison guards and give them a heart of compassion for prisoners.
  • Pray that the Lord will make his presence felt to all His believers in the prison system and gives them supernatural strength to recall scriptures and hymns that strengthen them and to be a light to the lost.
  • Pray for the Lord to open the flood gates of heaven and feed the people who are subject to hunger and starvation 
  • His believers the ability to love their enemies and to forgive them.
  • Pray to the Lord that Christians will experience God’s comfort and show them that they are being prayed for.
  • Pray that the Lord will supernaturally bring His church above ground – church buildings – protected by the authorities, adding to the number of believers daily……for our God does what is impossible for men, think big and bold.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

God is Drawing Our Eyes Back to North Korea

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday November 20, 2021 (Time Correction) in a conference prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Shalom, this morning the Lord once again put North Korea on my heart.  

We do not know how many Christians there are out of approximately 26,000,000 people, Christians are afraid to share they are believers even with their own family, as children are brainwashed from an early age to worship their leader and spy on their family. If believers are discovered, they are killed on the spot or more often sent to labor camps where they are starved, overworked, and tortured.  

We can’t imagine how hard it is to be a Christian in that country.

Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

  • Pray that Christians would feel God’s presence envelop them.

Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.”

  • Pray that God will hear His people when they cry out to Him and that they will be encouraged.

Psalm 33:18,19   “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine “

  • Pray for provision, for enough food for them and their families.

Psalm 33:21 “In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name.

  • Pray they would be able to rejoice in spite of everything because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Psalm 119:14 “I rejoice in following your statues as one rejoices in great riches.”

Psalm 119:30 “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws.”

  • Pray Christians would grow in their faith; that they would have access to the Word and be able memorize it.
  • Pray that Christian workers would have success smuggling Bibles and other Christian resources by land, air and sea.
  • Pray radio broadcasts in N. Korean dialect would reach many with the gospel.

Psalm 35:10 “My whole being will exclaim “who is like you, O LORD?  You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them”.

  • Pray for those seeking to arrest Christians would be blinded. May our brothers and sisters meeting in secret be hidden and protected by the Lord.

Psalm 102:19-20 “The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.”

Psalm 102:11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.”

  • Pray for those in labor camps, for endurance in suffering; may they not deny the Lord; may a remnant escape to tell the stories.

Psalm 102:28   “The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”

  • Pray the children and grandchildren of believers will know the Lord.

Psalm 35:26 “May all who gloat over me be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace.”

  • Pray for repentance for Kim Jong Un and other leaders in North Korea; let them be put to shame.

Psalm 34:21 “Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.”

  • Pray the Lord will either save them or remove these leaders.
  • Pray for women trafficked into Northeastern China.
  • Pray for North Korean defectors who are training to be missionaries.

We will also remember these dear ones:

Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.

  • Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.
  • Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China. Pastor Wang Yi who is currently serving his prison sentence.
  • Anita an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.
  • Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues. At present he is serving his six-year sentence. 

Valerie, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Photo: Roman Harak, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in North Korea

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 in a conference prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Dear Prayer Warriors, sister Rosalee will lead us to pray for North Korea, tonight.

It has been estimated by Open Doors that there are approximately 300,000 Christians in North Korea, most of whom operate in secret networks of churches. Moreover, the state considers the spread of Christianity a serious threat. 

  • Pray that God will grant believers wisdom and boldness, as they continue to represent their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in an unstable environment.

Christians continue to be seen as dangerous and are considered part of a hostile class. 

  • Pray that God will turn what the enemy means for evil into good thereby granting open doors to the Christians, but more so that the persecutors will have open heart. 

Ownership of Bibles or other religious materials is reported illegal and punishable by imprisonment and in some cases execution.

  • Pray that the persecutors of Christians would be curious enough about this Book called the Bible and be willing to read it and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

There are tens of thousands of Christians in camps and restricted villages, many of whom are suffering in the most inhumane conditions. 

  • Pray That God guy will give Christian the grace to endure and if it is not His will that they will be able to say like the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21 “To live is Christ and to die is gain” .

Christianity has a long history in North Korea. Before the end of World War II, there were more Christians in what is now North Korea then there where in modern-day South Korea. Before World War II, Pyongyang had many churches and it was known to some observers as the Jerusalem of the East.

  • Pray that God will bring a great revival.  Psalm 85:6  “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”

For Christians, life is a struggle. The only official belief system estate worship is the king dynasty. Christians are forced to worship underground but, if caught punishment awaits.

  • Pray that the believers will be strong and not deny the Lord. Exodus 20:3“You shall have no other gods before me.”

There are instances where women who became pregnant were forced to abort their babies. One pregnant Christian was captured and after her third attempt to escape was captured again and her baby was aborted. Her little sister was also trafficked and sold into slavery.

  • Pray Exodus 20:13 ” You shall not murder” 

We will also remember these dear ones:

Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.

  • Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.
  • Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China. Pastor Wang Yi who is currently serving his prison sentence.
  • Anita an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.
  • Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues. At present he is serving his six-year sentence. 

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for believers in North Korea and Vietnam

Oct. 8, 2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) North Korea – Population: 25,8 million, Christians 300,000 thousand

North Korea continuous to be number ONE when it comes to communist oppression and Christian persecution. Christians who are discovered are deported to the horrible labor camps like Yodok or killed on the spot.

Pray for endurance and courage for Christians who are suffering in these labor camps.


Pray for the leader Kim Jong-un that the Lord will reach out him with the Gospel.


Pray for the safety of the house churches and that He will blind the police and informers.


Pray to the Lord to open the floodgates of heaven to feed the just and the unjust, as He lets it rain on the just and the unjust.

Over 20% of North Koreans are malnourished, relieve is not coming in as the orders are closed due to COVED19.

Pray for a good harvest!

Pray to the Lord that the border to China will open. NGOs are stock piling supples in China, waiting to be able to get in.  

Vietnam – Population: 97.5 million, Christians 8.7 million

Vietnam is following the Chinese model of Christian persecution. The can not stop Christians, therefore all efforts are on containment. Targeting pastors and churches – as the government thinks what the pastor says people will do.

Please pay that the Lord will strengthen and protect His church leaders.

Please pray for the ethic minorities like the Hmong who are 75% Christian. Most of them are excluded from emergency food distribution due to their faith. There are verified instances where NGO workers were prevented to give food aid to Christians.

Pray that the Lord will help Christians to navigate through that changing and tightening regulations that are designed to control and discourage them.

MISSION AVIATION FELLOWSHIP 
Supports Bible Translation projects, shows the Jesus film in refuge camps and remote villages, delivering vaccines and other medical supplies.

47 planes are often the only safe an reliable means for ministry activities (2019 – 18,532 missions flown, 55,100 passengers transported, 5,603,860 pounds of cargo delivered, 1,457,833 nautical mile flown, 210 years of travel time saved which can be used for productive ministry work)

Pray to the Lord for His hand of protection over MAF.

Pray to the Lord to touch Christians to financially support MAF

Andy, Persecution Watch Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Tonight on Persecution Watch: North Korea (2/27/2020)

Dear Prayer Warriors,

(Voice of the Persecuted) Again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. Also, pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.

North Korea

Population: 27.7 million, Christians 300,000

Constant stress, constant threats. If North Korean Christians are discovered, they are deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot. Driven by the state, Christian persecution in North Korea is extreme and meeting other Christians to worship is nearly impossible unless it’s done in complete secrecy.

Christians must keep their faith completely secret. If a Christian has a Bible, or part of one, it will be carefully hidden and only read when the believer is sure they are alone. Most Christians do not even tell their own children about their faith until the kids are older teenagers, for fear that they may let something slip. When Christians are discovered, they will be arrested and imprisoned in one of North Korea’s terrible labor camps, where they are worked like slaves and often tortured; most are never able to escape.

The news tells stories of the country’s ambitions on the world stage. Yet behind the headlines, a massive underground church of 200-400,000 Christians is growing in North Korea. And tens of thousands of these secret believers are held in North Korea’s infamous labor camps. It is a miracle that this underground church is able to exist. But more than that, it is thriving and growing.

There have been raids against Christians and killings, but no details can be published for security reasons. Pastor Dong-cheol Kim—arrested in 2015—and two Korean-American Christian lecturers at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), Tony Kim and Hak-song Kim, arrested in April and May 2017 respectively, were all accused of espionage but released ahead of the U.S.-North Korean summit in June 2018. In a change of hiring policy, PUST is now reportedly looking for non-US staff, a logical consequence of United States’ travel ban on American travel to North Korea. There have been more reports coming from North Korea, but for security reasons, no details can be given.

  • Pray North Korean officials will come to know God, for change within the regime and that the power of evil will be broken.
  • During a year when North Korea raised its profile on the world stage, Kim Jong Un continues to consolidate his power. Pray he will accept the one, true God.
  • Open Doors provides North Korean Christians with food, medicine and clothing and safe houses for North Korean refugees in China. Pray the church is strengthened and encouraged to endure by this provision.
  • Pray for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas to have hope.
  • Pray for NGOs like Open Doors and Helping Hands can continue to deliver much needed physical and spiritual support. Another NGO which was pushed out of China is now feeding 15,000 children a day from their base in Vladivostok, Russia.
  • Pray that covert organizations will be able to smuggle more people out of K and bring them to safety In South Korea.
  • Pray for those dealing with the effects of recent violence against them. Please pray for the Lord’s provision in in all their physical and spiritual need
  • Pray to the Lord has His hand of protection over the believers that have courage and boldness to reach out to their neighbors.
  • Pray that the believers know that the body of Christ is praying for them.
  • Pray that the Lord will strengthen His believers and that it will continue to grow despite the hostile environment.

Many blessings,

Nadia Dybvik and Andy, Prayer Moderators for Persecution Watch Prayer Call

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today and join the team!

Tonight on the Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call (Dec. 12, 2019)

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear intercessors, you are invited to join us tonight, Thursday December 26 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church. Looking back on 2019, I believe it would be good to lift up the 7 nations who in our, perhaps my, perception caused much prayer for the persecuted Believers.

In alphabetical order:

Afghanistan

Population: 36 million, Christians in the thousands

A country where Christianity is not permitted to exist. An Islamic state by constitution, which means all government and religious officials are hostile to other religions as Christianity is.

Christian converts from Islam face strong pressure from family, friends and neighbors and can even be attacked.

  • Pray for these believers to have courage and protection.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does not allow conversion from Islam.

  • Please pray for a softening of the country’s leadership and local rulers.
  • Pray for isolated believers in Afghanistan, many of whom are totally cut off from any other Christians.

China

Population: 1.4 billion, Christians 97 million

China continuously increases restriction on religious freedom and monitors and controls Christians through CCTV and social ratings.

  • Pray that the Chinese Christians who were recently arrested in raids would have courage and perseverance in the faith—include Pastor Wang Yi.
  • Pray for Chinese Christians to stand strong amidst tightening religious restrictions and to engage in cross-cultural missions effectively.
  • Pray that the Chinese government would proactively enter into constructive dialogue with local churches, in order to understand that Christian values are aligned with traditional Chinese values and that Christianity can be a positive influence for Chinese society.

Eritrea

Population:  5.1 million, Christians 2.4 million

Brutal, authoritarian president suppressing Christianity under inhuman conditions.

Thousands of Christians have been imprisoned in Eritrea over the last decade, some of whom remain in prison after more than 10 years. Pray for endurance for brothers and sisters detained in horrific conditions and ask God to give them perseverance in their faith.

Pray for President Afwerki, that God would work in his heart and reveal the truth of the gospel.

India

Population: 1.3 billion, Christians 65 million

President Moro is determined to create a Hindu state with Hinduism as the only approved religion. Increased violence and restrictions towards Christians.

  • Pray for Christian converts from Hinduism who are forcefully pressured to return to their national religion.
  • Pray with Christians in India for God’s provision and protection as they preach the gospel in places with anti-conversion laws.
  • Pray for the government of India, that they would open to religious liberty.

Iran

Population: 82 million, Christians 800,000

Islamic State under the control of religious leaders meaning that Christians persecuted and restricted “under” Islamic law. Mosques are empty and people demonstrate against Islamic leaders.

Any Muslim who leaves Islam faces a charge of apostasy and can be thrown in jail or worse. Pray that the laws will change, allowing for freedom of religion.

Nearly all churches that held services in Persian have been closed in recent years and their leaders were arrested. Pray for Christians in Iran’s prisons to have genuine love for their guards and fellow inmates.

Pray for secret believers who meet in house churches, that they will be protected and will be faithful witnesses to the surrounding culture.

Nigeria

Population: 195 million, Christians 91 million

Weak government controlled by Muslims unwilling to protect Christians. Increasing violence in the Northern part of the country against Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.

  • Please pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice, who made a slave for life by Boko Haram
  • Pray for Christians in the middle of Nigeria, who are facing increased hostility and attacks from Fulani militants.
  • Sharia law has been implemented in 12 northern states where Christians face marginalization and discrimination. Pray that these Christians would not be discouraged. Pray they will not be tempted to give up the faith in pursuit of an easier life.
  • Pray for Fulani militants, the members of Boko Haram and other extremist groups. Pray that God will touch their hearts with His truth.

North Korea

Population:  25.6 million, Christians 300,000

Brutal dictatorship that fears Christians. Goes to extremes to punish Christians and aims to eradicate Christianity.

  • The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.
  • Pray for strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.
  • Pray that God will prepare the underground church in North Korea to be a light for the country—and that they will be ready to share the gospel freely someday soon.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator

From any location on your phone

Time: 

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST+

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035      

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin has led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also serves as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ.

Tonight on Persecution Watch Conference Call: Christians in North Korea (Dec. 12, 2019)

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Intercessors, you are invited tonight (Thursday December 12th) to join us in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church.

North Korea

Population: 25.6 million, Christians about 300,000

The primary driver of Christian persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country has focused on idolizing the leading Kim family. Christians are seen as hostile elements in society that have to be eradicated. There was hope that new diplomatic efforts in 2018—including the 2018 Winter Olympics—would mean a lessening of pressure and violence against Christians, but so far that has not been the case. Kim Jong Un has maintained his tight control over the populace, and dissent or worshiping anything else is not tolerated.

If Christians are discovered, not only are they deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot, their families will share their fate as well. Christians do not even have the slightest space in society, on the contrary, they are publicly warned against. Meeting other Christians in order to worship is almost impossible and if some believers dare to, it has to be done in utmost secrecy. The churches shown to visitors in Pyongyang serve mere propaganda purposes. 

Someone recently asked this question: “What is it like to have the freedom to live an open Christian life?”

A North Korean Christian who was able to escape answered,

This seemingly easy question took me back to the North Korean detention center where I almost died 14 years ago. I was only fifteen at the time. I was arrested for trying to escape the country.

Though I am happy and free now, my life has been hard and dark. I’ve buried many memories, but certain ‘triggers’ inevitably bring them back to me.

I heard the other prisoners scream and cry.

Prisons in North Korea are not silent, not at all.

Fifty people were crammed in my prison cell. The guards forced us to sit on the floor the entire time. We were back-to-back. One other inmate behind me died during the night. Cause of death? Torture? Starvation? Illness? Lack of medical care? All of the above? Two policemen came and dragged him out like someone drags a dead animal. Prisoners are not humans in North Korea.

When I was a young boy, I saw a lot of death on the streets. Many died of starvation and were left outside. But at age 15, when I was in a North Korean prison cell, and the prisoner behind me died, that was a new–shocking–experience.I was overwhelmed with fear. Fear of death. Fear of being dragged away like the other prisoner.

Even before my arrest, I had seen many tragedies. Once I was forced to witness a public execution.

There were hundreds of prisoners like me in this intelligence detention center. That means that all prisoners–like me–were arrested in China or on their way to China.

·        Pray that new diplomatic efforts will pay dividends, and will lead to a softening of the North

Korean Government.

·        Pray that Kim Jong Un will listen to wise counselors and concentrate on the needs of his people instead wasteful military projects.

·        Pray that meaningful agreements can be forged with North Korea, the US and South Korea to reduce tensions and focus on the suffering population

·        The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.

·        Pray for strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.

·        Pray that God will prepare the underground church in North Korea to be a light for the country—and that they will be ready to share the gospel freely someday soon.

·        Please pray for 10 women and children who are en route from NK to China – to safety, pray for 7 more starting their trek along the underground railway.

·        Pray that China will stop forcefully return NK refugees to North Korea.

·        Pray for the Lord to open the floodgates of heaven = food deliveries, as it rains on the just and unjust, to feed the just and the unjust – 40% about 11 million are malnourished.

·        The Lords hand of protection on organizations who secretly send medication, seeds and other provision to the underground believers.

Please also remember to pray for: Leah Sharibu and Alice, who were made slaves for life by the Islamic group Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Cal Moderator

From any location on your phone

Time: 

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST+

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035      

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin has led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also serves as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ.

Meet you on the call!

 

North Koreans ‘betrayed’ by human rights omission in Trump-Kim agreement

(World Watch Monitor) North Koreans were “betrayed” by the failure of US President Donald Trump to include human rights provisions in his agreement with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, following their historic meeting in Singapore, according to Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director, Phil Robertson.

“The North Korean people have suffered for so long,” he told the BBC World Service, “and it looks like they’ll have to suffer for a little longer.”

But after the meeting Trump said the many North Koreans currently being held in forced-labour camps were “one of the great winners today”.

Responding to a question from ABC News’s Jon Karl about whether North Korea’s oppression of its people was worse than any other regime on earth, Trump said: “It’s a rough situation over there; there’s no question about it, and we did discuss it today pretty strongly.

“I mean, knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is – de-nuking – but we did discuss it in pretty good length.

“We’ll be doing something on it. It’s rough; it’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there, but it’s rough and we will continue that, and I think ultimately we will agree to something, but it was discussed at length. Outside of the nuclear situation, [it was] one of the primary topics.”

‘Very deep resentment’

John Choi*, a Christian human rights advocate who escaped from North Korea and now lives in the UK, was more optimistic.

“Hopefully denuclearisation will lead to more money available to feed the everyday citizens of North Korea and provide them with a better life. President Trump said that the human rights issues are a continuing process. I am glad it is now on the agenda. But Kim Jong-un has to be committed to it too. Kim Jong-un has not yet referred to the prison camps or religious freedom. This is an ongoing process and I will continue to advocate and pray for it,” he told the Christian religious freedom charity Open Doors International.

But Yong Sook, whose husband died in a North Korean prison and who now lives in South Korea, told Open Doors she watched the meeting between the US president and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “with very deep resentment”.

“How many innocent people have died because of the development of the nuclear weapons they are talking about now?” she said. “So far, none of the leaders of North Korea have really taken care of their people. They let them starve to death. Why? Because they don’t want to give up those nuclear weapons. They need them to survive and survival is Kim Jong-un’s desire. Now he wants to give up those weapons? Maybe, but again, he will only give them up if his survival is guaranteed.

“Kim Jong-un should confess what he and his regime have done. He should open the doors of the political camps and kneel down to apologise to those who have suffered due to its regime. The lives of North Korean citizens are just as important as Kim Jong-un’s life.”

Christian roots

Historically, North Korea has a rich Christian heritage, but after Japan’s formal rule from 1910-1945, followed by the Korean War (1950-53), any form of public Christian worship has been banned, and surviving Christians have had to take their beliefs “underground”.

Today North Korea is atheistic and totalitarian, and since 2002 it has been the most dangerous place to be a Christian, according to Open Doors.

If you “merged the Soviet Union under Stalin with an ancient Chinese Empire, mixed in The Truman Show and then made the whole thing Holocaust-esque, you have modern-day North Korea”, Tim Urban wrote in the Huffington Post after visiting the country in 2017.

“It’s a dictatorship of the most extreme kind, a cult of personality beyond anything Stalin or Mao could have imagined; a country as closed off to the world and as secretive as they come, keeping both the outside world and its own people completely in the dark about one another — a true hermit kingdom.”

‘70,000 Christians detained’

There are approximately 300,000 Christians in the country, with almost a quarter of them (70,000) being held in prisons and labour camps, where they face “unimaginable torture, inhumane and degrading treatment purely because of their faith”, according to Zoe Smith, Head of Advocacy at Open Doors UK & Ireland.

Leading up to the summit, North Korea released three American citizens who had been put in labour camps for “anti-state activities”. One of the detainees, Kim Hak Song, recently said his captors had told him he was imprisoned because of his “hostile act” of prayer.

“The systematic persecution of Christians is just one of many heinous human rights violations perpetrated by the North Korean regime,” Smith said. “If true change is to come to that country – and we hope it will – any further negotiations must confront the desperate human rights situation.”

Meanwhile North Korea appears to be upgrading its longstanding neighbourhood-watch system, or ‘inminban’, whereby every North Korean is called upon to report on any criminal activity or political disobedience that they see. According to the South Korea-based news service Daily NKinminban leaders now receive special rations in return, while in some places, like the capital Pyongyang, they have the authority to expel families who have engaged in illegal activities.

According to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, there were more than 1,300 religious-freedom violations in North Korea last year, while it is estimated that its camps hold more than 120,000 political prisoners.

In December three jurists called on the International Criminal Court to establish a special tribunal to prosecute North Korea’s leader and his top officials for committing “crimes against humanity”.

(*) Name changed for security reasons

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