Thursday, December 11, 2008

Do they know it's Christmas time in North Korea?

nl-dec08 Twenty-four years, two British musicians wrote a song specifically to raise money for relief for the millions who were suffering deprivation during the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. The original version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released by a collection of musicians who called themselves Band Aid on November 29, 1984. The key line in the lyrics is the question “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”

This is a valid question to ask of Christians in North Korea where the celebration of Christmas is illegal and there is no one or nothing to remind the Christians there of the significance of December 25th. Christmas Day is just another day in North Korea. I wonder if the believers there even know that it is Christmas time?

Throughout this past year, we have made a concentrated effort to focus on the plight facing our Christian brothers and sisters in North Korea. Most experts on religious liberty in the world agree that North Korea is the most restrictive nation on earth. Nowhere else is it more dangerous to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being one of the most closed societies in the world, it is extraordinarily difficult to document the persecution or to provide practical assistance to believers there. The few outsiders that are allowed into the country are usually carefully supervised and confined to the Pyongyang area. Whereas 50 years ago, and least 2,000 churches could be found in North Korea, today there are only three church building allowed and they are used solely as showpieces to impress guests. Rarely do we ever hear from the believers who live there and no one from our mission can go and visit them.

Still, we asked the subscribers of our monthly newsletter to pray specifically for North Korea’s persecuted church and for the country’s leadership this year. We asked that you would pray that we, as a mission, would discover new opportunities of service there.

Your prayers are being answered, as you will read in this month’s newsletter (if you are would like to receive a free copy, subscribe today and we will send you a copy right away). While we have not seen increased openness in the country, itself, we are grateful to have been able to provide more assistance to and receive more reports from North Korea than in any other year in our history. As you read the letters that we have received from some of our family members and the testimonies of their faithfulness to God, I am sure that your heart will be moved as much as mine has been. I am committed to doing all we can to let them know that Christians in Canada remember and care for them.

Do they know it’s Christmas time in North Korea? Perhaps not. But the hope and message of God’s plan for reconciling mankind to Himself through His Son continue to ring throughout North Korea, despite opposition and danger. Glory to God in the highest!

(reprinted from the December edition of The Voice of the Martyrs Newsletter)

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