A life of hard labour: A pastor’s sentence
Lim Hyeun-soo, a Korean-Canadian pastor from Toronto, has been sentenced to a life of hard labour for numerous charges – including attempting to overthrow the government and establish a religious state in North Korea.
“Pastors like Lim, who have seen so much of how North Korea treats its prisoners, cannot easily be released,” said an Open Doors field worker. “I don’t see Lim returning home anytime soon.”
Pastor Lim, aged 60, has travelled to North Korea over 100 times to do humanitarian work. Though he was not involved in the country’s underground churches, the harsh sentencing has come after several of months of crackdowns on Christians by the North Korean regime.
“A case like this does outrage the North Korean government,” says the Open Doors field worker. “North Korean believers could be dealt with even more harshly if they are exposed.”
Conditions in the camps
Sources in North Korea have confirmed that, in the recent crackdowns, Christians have been murdered and others have been incarcerated in prisons and labour camps. In both detention facilities, people are starved, tortured and the death rate is extremely high.
“I was locked up for years,” said a North Korean refugee. “I will never forget the prisoners who were too weak to continue their work. The guards would pick them up and put them on an automatic belt that threw them in a large oven while the prisoners were still alive.”
Christianity in North Korea
Christianity is seen as a threat to the North Korean regime: they believe Christians spy for the enemy, meet in secret and, at most, only give lip service to the North Korean government. Such disloyalty deserves severe punishment.
Despite this tragic arrest and others, the church has survived almost 70 years of severe persecution. Between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians still secretly profess their faith.
If you receive the Open Doors Magazine, please look out for some inspiring letters written by North Korean pastors in the next mailing.
For more information about Open Doors and the many Christians who are being persecuted in many countries throughout the world please go to:-
Please join me in praying that our Father God blesses mightily all the Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in Him and to give them the strength to endure all the atrocities perpetrated against them.
In Jesus name
RESPONDING TO ‘ISLAMIC STATE’
Even in the face of the fiercest attacks, the church in Syria has continued to stand. Robert, Open Doors co-ordinator for Syria and Iraq, says: “We observe a new development best described as an ‘internally displaced church’. Every now and then we discover complete parishes adrift. Islamic State confiscated their church building, demolished their valuables, and burned their Bibles.
“Despite this, the priest and his deacons continue holding services. Functions are fulfilled and prayers ascend to God. All tangible elements of the church have disappeared, yet the church as the Body of Christ still functions.”
‘WHO WOULD HELP IF THE CHURCH DOESN’T HELP?’
The church is a vital lifeline for thousands of people in Syria. Pastor Samuel says: “If we did not help the suffering families who have no income, how would they survive? Who would help if the church doesn’t help?”
Open Doors is providing food and other essential items to almost 10,000 families – around 50,000 people – every month through local partners like Pastor Samuel. This is only possible thanks to the faithful prayers and generosity of people like you. A gift of £71 today can provide an emergency food parcel to feed a family of five in Syria for a month.
|With many thanks for your prayers.
Elections began yesterday
Christians in Egypt are asking for prayer for the nation’s parliamentary elections, a process that will begin tomorrow, 17 October, and last for some weeks. It is due to be Egypt’s final transition from military rule.
The years since the Arab Spring in 2011 have not been easy for Christians in Egypt. One believer, Yusuf*, says: “For reasons unknown to us, God allowed the Muslim Brotherhood and all their affiliated Islamic radical groups to take over the country… For Christians and moderate Muslims, fear of the state was replaced with fear of radical Muslims.”
Although stability in Egypt has been restored considerably since the early days of the Arab Spring, there are concerns that extremists may wish to disrupt the elections. Please join our Egyptian brothers and sisters in prayer for their nation.
Pressure refines Egyptian church
The increased pressure on Christians in recent years has caused many to leave. Yusuf says: “The accelerating pressure on the church and individual Christians was hard for many Christians to take and this resulted in a significant wave of emigration of Christians.”
This pressure continues, as demonstrated by the raid on the offices of SAT-7, the Arabic Christian TV channel, on 10 October.
However, Yusuf believes God has used the situation in Egypt for good. “While many left what seemed a sinking ship, others came together. The increasing pressure on the church ignited a spirit of prayer and unity among Christians from different denominations.”
Your support changing lives
Thanks to the prayers and support of brothers and sisters like you, Open Doors works through local partners to provide vocational training, literacy programmes, discipleship training and Bible distribution, amongst other projects. Sonia took part in an Open Doors-sponsored literacy programme, and now she teaches others: “I can help others become empowered to change their lives as I did,” she says.
Many thanks for your continued prayers
With many peaceful blessings
Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has been allowed to take her appeal against her death penalty for blasphemy to Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the capital, Islamabad, following a hearing on Wednesday 22 July. Until the Supreme Court reaches its final decision, Asia cannot be executed.
In a statement, the Chairman of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan said: “This order of the Supreme Court has paved the way for her possible complete acquittal.” However, a lawyer who wished to remain anonymous told us: “I think Asia is more at risk than ever. This has paved the way equally to rile up the extremists and create an urgency to destroy her and raise the profile of their cause: the removal of minorities from Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Please Pray with me:
- For comfort and strength for Asia, her husband Ashiq Masih and their five children
- For wisdom and protection for Asia’s legal team
For justice for Asia, and for a change to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws so that they can no longer be abused to persecute minorities.
With many peaceful blessings
Open Doors is 60 today! Birthdays mean presents – and our free Secret Church pack contains a great film about our origins.
The Cost tells how, on 15 July, 1955, a young man travelled to Communist Warsaw to began a lifetime of support for persecuted Christians. ‘Brother Andrew’, as he became known, later smuggled Bibles into Communist Europe and founded Open Doors.
The Cost tells his story, and also how Open Doors is helping persecuted Christians today. You can watch The Cost now – then share it with your Secret Church!
This is an absolutely wonderful film – I commend it to all of you. This film will change your life – forever!
To view The Cost just go to:-
With many peaceful blessings