Choi Kwanghyuk, a North Korean defector, said despite being offered freedom from the prison camp, he and other believers said they would not deny Christianity.
Choi led an underground church in North Korea before being imprisoned. He said Christians at the prison camp would not accept an offer of freedom if it meant renouncing their beliefs.
“Even though they are offered release by signing a contract renouncing their religion, they do not accept this offer,” he told The Christian Post in an interview. “Some of them feel that living inside the political camp is better than going outside because they foresee that it will be difficult for them to adapt to the outside society."
Christians in North Korea are largely persecuted in the country. Open Doors USA has ranked the country as the worst persecutor of Christians in the world.
Still, Choi started an underground church.
"Our meeting spot was literally underground. In North Korea, we dig holes on the ground to store Kimchee and potatoes over the winter. It's very cold in North Korea and if we don't bury it underground, then it will freeze up. We don't have heating system in North Korea," he said.
"We meet in this rectangular hole and use [a] lantern to study the Bible. Since we cannot sing out loud, we praise by humming the hymn."
Choi also said that only about one of 100 people “know about God” in North Korea.
“If you get caught associating with religion, then DPRK government will send them to political camp or prison," he said.
To help persecuted Christians in the country, ICC, which reports on the persecution of Christians around the world, is cooperating with other countries.
Gina Goh, ICC’s regional manager for Southeast Asia, said that ICC sends rice in floating bottles to the country. They also sponsor a Christian radio program and send in Gospel fliers into the country through balloons.
"We want to provide not only humanitarian aid that addresses their basic needs, but also the Gospel that they don't get to hear in their country. We invite Christians to remember and pray for North Korea and its 25 million oppressed souls," she said.
Publication date: October 6, 2017
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.