Story North Korea | 25-1-2022

How the Gospel Spreads in North Korea


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Bae is sentenced to a lifetime of labour and starvation rations in North Korea - but she once managed to escape and return home (image from a reconstruction)

“Whenever I open my eyes in the morning, I have felt the presence of Hananim, the Lord.”
Each morning, Bae* wakes up and starts her day in a rustic shack in a rural village somewhere in the mountains of North Korea. Her husband is groggy from the short night of sleep, and she can hear the rustling of the other people in her house as they prepare for another day in the fields. She hopes she’ll meet her work quota picking crops. She doesn’t want to risk additional punishment, or the loss of her brief moments during the day when she can forage for food.

Bae heads for the woods whenever she’s able to take a short break. The mushrooms and plants she collects from the forest help stem the growling in her belly, but that extra food is never a sure thing.

Finally, at dusk, she finishes her day. She gets another meal—some watery soup and, if she’s lucky, some rice—and returns to her home.

And then, her real work begins: caring for the small flock of believers in her midst. This is what a church looks like in North Korea.

Exiled for owning a Bible

Bae hasn’t always lived in this village. She and her husband were sent there when the authorities discovered that they owned a Bible. Simply for that, they were sentenced to a lifetime of hardship and backbreaking labour in this remote village, always on the brink of starvation.

And the one time she managed to escape from North Korea. Bae offered the chance to stay in a safe house but she refused.

Instead, Bae returned home with the food and medicine she’d be given, and a precious Bible. She shared all these with her underground group of believers. These gifts will sustain the faith of these North Korean Christians for years.

And when believers like Bae know you’re praying for them, it makes an enormous difference. It gives North Korean believers the resources, faith and courage to continue.

*Note: Names and some identifying story details have been changed or disguised to protect security.


Christians like Bae knows what it means to follow Jesus no matter the cost. Your gift will support to believers facing extreme persecution in the countries identified by Open Doors’ World Watch List as the ten most dangerous:
  • Bibles and discipleship materials
  • Emergency aid, such as food and clothing
  • Safe houses for refugees fleeing persecution
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