While we worship each Sunday, many underground churches all across North Korea are meeting in secret to do the same. Alpha Relief supports two of these small churches. We have been so encouraged by the news the pastors send to us of their growth and evangelism outreaches. They risk so much to offer the light of the Gospel to their city and need our support.
Ready to see what it’s like to to worship in North Korea compared to America? Walk through a typical Sunday through the eyes of two pastors.
(We are honored to have been authorized to publish a letter of appeal on behalf of the persecuted Kachin refugee group. Below are excerpts, read the letter in its entirety by clicking here.)
On December 25, 2012, a supposedly joy-filled day when Christians throughout the world celebrated Christmas, the Kachin sisters and brothers were thrown into war. On this day, the Burmese Army launched an offensive against the Kachin.
On the surface, the purpose of the Burmese Army is to rearrange the minority ethnic groups in their surrounding area (including the Kachin) and to seize the rich resources of the minority groups. In fact, there is a spiritual warfare behind this war because the Burmese Army already launched a large-scale offensive half a month before Christmas Day, saying:
The wanton and indiscriminate bombing of the Kachin by the Burmese Army destroyed many houses and killed and injured many civilians, causing over 10,000 Christians to be displaced from their homes. The Burmese Army also seized many Christian students and forced them to become human mine detectors. When they captured Kachin brothers, they stabbed them with bayonets to torture them to death. More brutally, the Burmese soldiers raped some Kachin sisters in church buildings. Despite the atrocity of the Burmese Army against the Kachin brothers and sisters, the Kachin Christians dealt with the Burmese captives kindly.
Please offer your earnest prayers, imploring Him to stop the Burmese Army’s attack on the Kachin brothers and sisters. May the Burmese government army be freed from Satan’s deception and stop slaughter and conquest right away.
As we offer up our compassion and intercession, we are abiding by the new commandment our Lord Jesus gave us –
In the past few weeks, the (primarily Buddhist) Burmese Army has attacked villages in the predominantly Christian Kachin State. Burma’s government has denied any wrongdoing, blaming some attacks on the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and blaming embassies, media, and aid groups for “fabricating news”.
Helicopter and jet attacks were reported almost daily for weeks, and there were numerous casualties, including some unintended ones.
Camps, designed to shelter the tens of thousands displaced by the Kachin conflict, fashioned earthen bunkers to provide some protection against aerial attacks. Sadly, three boys were killed January 15, 2013 when a bunker they were playing in collapsed on top of them. The boys’ families are friends of an Alpha Relief operative.
Another source in Kachin relayed the following tragic story to us:
“29 January, 2013 The Burmese Army fired on the town of Mayan, killing a mother and her nine year old son, and injuring three other family members. The town was under government control, and villagers are shocked and angry because the government has blamed the attack on the KIA. In fact, the KIA has not been in Mayan for over a year.
Locals reported that some Burmese Army (BA) troops were drunk and fired their guns. The BA artillery unit 372 was alarmed by the shots and reacted by firing artillery into the town, which directly hit the Jangmaw house. Since then, the army unit has offered 300,000 Kyat to the family (about $350).
Please pray with us:
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 (NIV)
(You may share your prayers for the Kachin people on the Minute Mafia website. We will be sure to relay your prayers to the families and affected villages.)
In the 1990s, women of North Korea were banned from riding bicycles, reportedly because the daughter of a general died after a traffic accident in the nation’s capital of Pyongyang. Shortly thereafter, the state media reported that the image of a woman on a bicycle ran contrary to socialist morals.
In August 2012, women were given the okay by the state to ride their bicycles again…but it did not last for long. Just five short months later, it is reported that the bicycle ban is back in place. Plus, this time the ban may extend beyond urban riders to rural North Korea.
A source for the Daily NK said, “They’ve not only stopped women using bicycles, but also banned them from riding on the backs of bicycles and placed a weight limit on the luggage that can be placed on them.”
The repercussions of this decision are staggering, because bicycles are North Korea’s primary mode of transportation, given that there are few cars, motorcycles, or reliable forms of public transportation. If the ban in fact includes rural areas, there are a number of potential consequences:
(Update) U.S. officials told NBC News that the object North Korea claims to be a weather satellite actually appears to be some sort of space vehicle and seems to be “tumbling out of control” as it orbits the earth.
(Update) Both the United States and South Korea confirmed that North Korea successfully launched the Unha-3 rocket Dec 11, 2012 7:49 p.m. Eastern Time.
“The South Korean and the U.S. military evaluated the object loaded on the rocket just entered the orbit,” the ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a news conference. “Although it entered the orbit, we have to wait and see whether it can continue to function normally.”
Yonhap News reports ” Although the North says the Unha-3 rocket is aimed at putting a peaceful satellite into orbit, Seoul and Washington see the launch as a cover for a test of ballistic missile technology that violates several U.N. resolutions imposed following a series of missile and nuclear tests in the past.” (Read more here)
(Yahoo News Dec 11, 2011) — After weeks of warnings and several stops and starts, North Korea launched its long range rocket on Tuesday night. It crashed into the waters off the Philipines just a few moments later. The reports, if true, are sort of a miracle since just 12 hours ago, North Korea’s space-bound missile was experiencing some pretty serious malfunctions and was being dismantled. That’s why they pushed the launch back a week. Did we mention this major malfunction happened 12 hours ago? Well, it sounds like the North Korean rocket scientists should’ve stuck with the earlier plan, since pieces of the rocket started raining down into the Pacific Ocean a few minutes after launch.
Even though it was the second epic failure for the second time this year, North Korea’s rocket launch is not making the country any friends. Seemingly seconds after the rocket left the ground, South Korea called an emergency security meeting. Japan called the launch “unacceptable” and said that it “cannot tolerate this action,” after denying having attempted to intercept the rocket. Japan also scheduled a meeting of its security council. The United States, well, we have warships standing by. Let’s hope this doesn’t get to that.