Thousands of So. Koreans Training to 'Invade' No. Korea with Gospel

Dan Wooding | ASSIST News Service | Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Thousands of So. Koreans Training to 'Invade' No. Korea with Gospel

Thousands of So. Koreans Training to 'Invade' No. Korea with Gospel

They are awaiting North Korea to open up so they can move in and many are prepared to be martyrs

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- Thousands of South Korean Christians are in training to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ into North Korea and also plant churches there when the country finally opens up.

I discovered this on a reporting trip to Seoul, South Korea, when I was taken to a training camp in the hills outside of Seoul where these Christians were undergoing vigorous training on how to live and work in North Korea.

One Christian, who asked not to be named, told me, “We believe that because of world pressure, North Korea will soon have to open up to get much-needed foreign currency and we have many ready and willing to move in there with the Good News of Jesus Christ. They are aware that the country could be open for just a short time, and then it will close tight again, and they will be trapped inside.

“But they are willing to be martyrs for the Gospel because they love the people of North Korea.”

I’ve been to North Korea. It was back in the fall of 1994, and I was part of a small delegation of Christians who were the first group allowed into the secretive country after the funeral of Kim Il-sung, known to his people as “The Great Leader.” We were led by North Korean-born Dr. David Cho (no relation of Paul Yonggi-Cho, the South Korean preacher and head of what is believed to be the world's largest church, Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul.)

I reported daily from the capital city of Pyongyang for the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC and we were taken all over the country, even to the North Korean side of Panmunjom, the "truce village" that straddles the border between North Korea and South Korea in the middle of the Demilitarized Zone that has split this peninsula since the Korean War ended in 1953.

We felt the tension in the DMZ, which is probably the most fortified border on Earth, with more than a million soldiers facing each other with enough artillery to obliterate each other in a matter of hours. Tension constantly runs high there -- more than 50 Americans, 1,000 South Koreans and countless North Koreans have died in skirmishes along the DMZ in the past 40 years, including one recently. The area is dotted with land mines and razor wire and concrete tank bunkers and Communist soldiers dug into mountainsides behind cast-iron "blast doors" to protect them against bombs dropped from American B-52s. 

We even attended a church service at Pongsu Church in Pyongyang, one of three churches that were allowed to operate in North Korea at the time – two Protestant and one Catholic. These “official” churches are strictly controlled, but there are known to be many illegal house churches operating secretly in the country.

Now comes the news that the U.S. State Department has again named North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in its “Country Reports” for 2006. The Stalinist country is one of five alleged state sponsors of terrorism along with Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.

It is also believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps. In fact, North Korea is suspected of detaining more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world.

The communist country is characterized by a complete lack of religious freedom and of many human rights violations. For the fifth year in a row, Open Doors’ World Watch List ranks North Korea as the worst violator of religious rights in the world. Christianity is observed as one of the greatest threats to the regime’s power. The government will arrest not only the suspected dissident but also three generations of his family to root out the bad influence. Kim Jong-il is the “Great Leader” and has been exalted and revered as a god to be followed with unquestioned obedience.

I ask you all to pray for the people of North Korea and also pray that the country does indeed open up for the Gospel messengers from the South; that they will bring a Gospel of peace to a people who have seen little of that. It is only then that they will find true happiness!

© 2007 ASSIST News Service, used with permission