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Youth in North Korea

North Korea
A North Korean youth looks at a map of North and South Korea

The North Korean government is very rough to any citizen who is discovered to be a Christian. Some Christians in North Korea leave the country to places like China or South Korea. VOM contacts talked with Christian youth who escape from North Korea and are now living in South Korea:

Question: Do you have family still in North Korea?

Answer: I have a big brother, but I don’t get to see him anymore. He still lives inside North Korea. People in North Korea and South Korea can’t talk to each other because the countries are separated. If I tried to contact him, the North Korea government would likely put him in prison as a punishment for my “crime” of leaving North Korea.

Question: What is it like to live as a Christian child in North Korea?

Answer:I have a memory from my time as a child in North Korea. I remember praying desperately to the Lord. As I look back in this, I was very happy. My happiness was not because God gave me what I asked for. It was because I knew I could pray to the Lord and He would listen.

I always had a little bit of fear as a Christian. I also felt satisfaction and joy, which are very rare in North Korea. But I knew something that others didn’t know. I knew that God existed, and that He was present right where I was.

I had always thought that being a Christian meant I could be happy, live well, and help other people. But then I realized that I would suffer if I followed Jesus.

If the North Korean government discovers you are a Christian, they will punish you and your family. I think that [Christian children in freer countries] must be very happy because they know God and can go to church freely with their parents. In North Korea we were not able to go to church with our family. Christian families have to worship secretly.

Question: What do people in North Korea eat?

Answer: When I lived in North Korea, many people were starving. The government did not give out food to the people.

There are many dogs in North Korea because people have to protect their homes from thieves. Starving people steal from anyone’s house. There are many orphans who steal things, too.

Question: What games do kids in North Korea like to play?

Answer: Games are not common in North Korea. Children either have to work or study. Sometimes they have to catch rabbits to give to the government, or collect supplies that the government tells them to collect.

We had to collect dog droppings or other animal droppings for the government. They used it for fertilizer for the fields. There are no droppings on the ground in North Korea. It is all picked up by children.

To Discuss
A North Korean youth said, “I think that [Christian children in freer countries] must be very happy because they know God and can go to church freely with their parents.”

How can Christians in America remember to be thankful for our freedoms?

Source: VOM contacts. Original comments are edited for clarity and identifying details changed to protect the identity of the Christians.


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