(Cover image and story image courtesy of Open Doors USA)
North Korea (MNN) ― North Korea's nuclear ambitions are topping nearly every headline.
Earlier this week, the UN Security Council condemned North Korea for test-firing a missile in December. A surprising supporter of the UN resistance was China, one of the regime's main allies.
"That was a slap in the face of Kim Jung-un and so he needed to retaliate: in a sense, to save face," says Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors USA.
It tightened its sanctions on the country, and in a belligerent response, North Korea vowed to keep developing its nuclear program. It also pinpointed the U.S. as the "sworn enemy of the Korean people."
But what about the persecuted Church?
Dykstra says, "That's one of the reasons why we need to alert the media: we need to campaign for those Christians and look beneath the headlines of these nuclear tests."
Just four days ago, Open Doors alerted the world to two deaths of North Korean believers at the hands of the government.
"I believe that's just the tip of the iceberg [because] we really don't know how many people are killed for their belief in Jesus Christ," states Dykstra.
Topping the Open Doors World Watch List for 11 years in a row, North Korea is the worst oppressor of Christians in the world. Leader Kim Jong-un isn't changing anything.
"We've seen no lessening of that in his one year of power. In fact, we've seen even more persecution," says Dykstra. "Kim Jung-un has shown a different style than his father, in a way, trying to resemble his grandfather and being more…benevolent. But this is a show thing."
According to Dykstra, the young leader is trying to prove himself.
"I imagine you'll hear the rhetoric coming out of North Korea in the months to come, as he's flexing his muscles, that he is the boss and he's a person to be reckoned with," Dykstra explains. "That means tremendous persecution for Christians."
Of the 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea's death camps (commonly known as gulags), 40,000 to 70,000 are followers of Christ. Pray for their faith to be strengthened, and pray for the Kim regime.
"All things are possible with the Lord," says Dykstra. "So we have to come with that right attitude, that He can change things, and ONLY He can change things."