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North Korea: In Trouble for Telling the Truth

North Korea

Note: To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this Web site and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes are edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.

Cheerleaders in Jail
News reports in early 2006 told a strange story. The reports said that several cheerleaders were sent to prison in North Korea. Some people say the cheerleaders were arrested for talking about things they saw on a trip to South Korea.

The North Korean government sent cheerleaders to athletic games in South Korea three times in recent years. The cheerleaders surprised and impressed everyone with their perfect-looking performances. But later, a prison inmate who escaped from North Korea said he had seen some of the cheerleaders in prison.

Reporters are not sure if the cheerleaders are really in prison for “talking too much.” But it would not be unusual for North Korea to punish people for speaking the truth.

The North Korean government lies to its own people. “North Korea is an earthly paradise,” the government tells its citizens. “Other nations of the world are worse off than us.” The truth is that North Koreans have few freedoms. They suffer from serious shortages of food, electricity, fuel, and good medical care.

To keep everyone believing the lies, the government tries to stop people from hearing true news from outside the country. If the cheerleaders brought home news from the outside, the government would not approve.

The Best News of All
North Korean leaders also try to keep people from hearing and following the Good News of Jesus. Kim Jong Il, the ruler of North Korea, wants the people to look to him for answers to their problems, not God.

Thousands of North Koreans have left their country to escape the harsh conditions. After they leave, many learn about Jesus and give their lives to Him! Some then take the Gospel message back to North Korea. If they are caught, they are usually arrested. (See the photo above that shows boys who have escaped from North Korea into China.)

Roli is one of the courageous Christians who risked arrest to take the best news of all into North Korea. At first she was afraid. “When I first started this work, I was nervous,” she said. “When I came back I would say, ‘This is dangerous work. I’m not going to do it anymore.’ But when I think of the people in North Korea, I change my mind. I go back again.”

Roli doesn’t share the Good News with children. When she talks to adults, she insists their children are sent outside to play.

Children might accidentally let it slip to someone outside the family that their parents are Christian. Then the parents could be arrested. Roli lets the parents decide when the children are old enough to learn the truth.

Roli and other believers are noticing a change in North Korea. “People are less afraid,” she said. “Christians are becoming bolder to share the gospel. People are learning that the leader of the country is not the one who can save them. They are starting to believe in God.”

Please pray many North Koreans will learn the truth that can set them free (John 8:32). Pray poor Koreans will have their daily needs met. Ask God to take care of bold believers who share His Word with North Koreans.


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