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North Korean underground Christians do not reveal their Christian identity even to their own children until the children reach the age of fifteen. That is because North Korean school teachers are tasked with the responsibility of getting children to inadvertently reveal that their families are Christian. They ask questions like, “Do your parents have a special book they hide in your home? Do they sing different songs to the ones we sing in school? Do they ever bow their heads or close their eyes and mumble?” In this way more than a few children have been the cause of their own families (including themselves) ending up in concentration camps.

The story that best illustrates this situation was told by a woman who came from an underground Christian family in North Korea. When she was about seven years old, she found a Bible in her home. Without hesitation, she knew she needed to inform the police. Her parents, underground Christian leaders, tied her up in a chair in order to prevent her from going out. They shared the Gospel with her, and she became a Christian (and later a church leader) rather than a government informer.

In North Korea, if discovered, Christians are sent to concentration camps, where they are starved, overworked and tortured. North Koreans have a saying: Whenever two or three people are gathered together, one of them is a spy. This is true even in family settings, as children are taught to spy on their parents from a young age. Therefore, North Korean Christians must be extremely careful in what they say, what they do and how they pray; all must be done in secret. When a Christian is discovered, the government punishes the entire family. Despite the threat of persecution and heavy social pressure, Christians in North Korea hold firmly to their faith.
International Day of Prayer 2019 is on 3 November.
Each year VOM produces a FREE IDOP Resource Kit which includes marketing materials, prayer points and a video. This year’s video focuses on North Korea.
Go to to watch the video and download resources.