Jesus in North Korea
“On the third day of my visit, I am brought up a winding road to the top of a small mountain overlooking a North Korean city. We are close enough to see Koreans in the North walking along the roads, although very few citizens of North Korea leave their homes, and rarely would one see a group walking together. We can see a park, but no one is there. There is also a large factory, but it appears rundown and unoccupied. Everything in North Korea is gray and drab. We are surrounded by mountains on both sides of the border. Those on the Chinese side are lush with growth, and the sun lights up the leaves on the trees. In contrast is the barren hillside of North Korea less than a few hundred yards away. The regime has stripped every tree off the mountains for firewood and to increase farming. Needless to say no firewood remains; and no farming ever took place, as the tree removal caused erosion, making it impossible.
I am standing beside a longtime VOM co-worker who handles much of VOMâ€™s ministry inside North Korea. As he looks over the city, he is pointing just beyond the empty park and tells me that recently the North Korean government publicly executed 30 people. A truck went through town playing loud and festive music, inviting everyone to come and witness what happens to â€œenemies of the regime.â€ Our VOM co-worker then sadly tells me that 18 of the 30 were Christian workers and part of his network.
As we continue looking out over the city, I couldnâ€™t help but imagine the horror and again wondered how, in todayâ€™s world, North Korea could get away with such atrocities. I had read reports of horrific executions within the labor camps by the most gruesome of methods. One report told of the condemned being tied to a stake while their family members were forced to light the fire. All the while North Korea has claimed to have no labor camps and to treat each citizen fairly.”