Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Real North Korea

My heart is heavy tonight.

This afternoon I watched a video of the actual state of North Korea, filmed secretly by a North Korean refugee. With each return visit across the border, he risked his life to collect more footage in order to get the truth out. As the video played, I listened in horror to firsthand accounts of torture, family prison camps, opium farms, and cannibalism. I saw drawings produced by North Korean refugees illustrating various atrocities. And I saw footage of orphans who are literally starving to death. Spliced between all of these heartbreaking scenes was footage from the government-sponsored, foreigners' tour of Pyongyang which reeked of propaganda and deception. The contrasts between the two versions of North Korea were stark and sickening.

It's difficult to fathom how this spectrum of activity is currently underway anywhere in the world, let alone 35 miles from where I live^. Right now I feel a mixture of emotions -shocked, horrified, sad, helpless, overwhelmed, angry, confused, and determined are but a few- and I suppose my writing about it is a means of sorting through them all. Additionally, I do feel convicted to share the video with you to raise awareness of the situation. I encourage you to invest 45 minutes and watch it (I'm embarrassed to admit that it's taken me over a year of living here to drill down and learn more.).

The video is titled Children of the Secret State and can be found here:

There is a silver lining. Before the video presentation, our host shared accounts of believers who have bravely stood up to the regime and who were martyred for doing so. Christianity is forbidden in North Korea, and yet there are untold numbers of believers who have faced persecution and death because they would not renounce their faith. The Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit organization devoted to assisting the persecuted church worldwide, and their website can provide more details about the risks North Korean (and other) Christians face:

^It's also challenging to understand how God -the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth- could allow this evil to persist. BUT! Although I cannot grasp His reasons for allowing it to continue, I trust in Him and believe with all my being in His sovereignty. As we read in Isaiah:
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  -Isaiah 40:28-31


  1. Jennifer, I share with you such a heavy heart about this. Recently, I read a book that opened my eyes (Nothing to Envy: Real Lives of North Koreans, by Barbara Demick). I also watched some video testimonies of defectors. I had been ignorant of the unthinkable realities happening there right now in this day & age! Since, I've felt so urgently convicted and burdened to do something- in this case, to pray. You are right, it is encouraging to see the Gospel flourishing among Christians who have nothing but Christ. He IS enough- and they are a witness to that.
    Melissa N.

  2. Jennifer~
    Thank you for sharing this with us all. It is important to be aware of the horrific things that are going on around us so that we can specifically pray for those that are suffering. I know it is so hard to understand such evil, but we know that the Lord will restore and renew this fallen world to its original perfection someday and all of this sadness will be gone. Thanks again. Love you!

  3. Melissa,

    Thanks for your post. I just finished that book! Will probably write a post about it today or tomorrow... Miss you. Always good to hear from you.


  4. Here's the testimony of a North Korean girl. Our God is working furiously for this people too.