Life as a Persecuted Christian in North Korea: Bae’s Story

NORTH KOREA — North Korean Persecuted Christian Bae* was sentenced to a lifetime of backbreaking labour and starvation rations – just for having a Bible.

If you were to see Bae* during the day, you’d assume that her work was picking crops. Every morning in the village she’s forced to live in, Bae spends the day working in the fields.

If you saw all this, you’d be appalled. But you’d have no idea this isn’t Bae’s real work.

That starts at night. When she and her housemates cover the windows with blankets, light a small candle and sit in a tight circle. Bae gets out a book.

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,” she reads.

This is Bae’s real work. This is the North Korean underground church.

In North Korea Christians face imprisonment in harsh labour camps and even death. But despite the dangers Bae* continues to serve Christ there as a house church leader.

Recently she was able to get a letter to an Open Doors partner in China.

Bae* – name changed for security reasons:

Dear Brother,

We are well and at peace through the grace of Jesus Christ and your prayers. When our Bible was found, it was immediately destroyed. And because we are Christians we were exiled to a remote village with no chance of ever leaving. Work here is hard. Rations are limited. We are always hungry or sick.

We need to forage to survive. But every morning when I open my eyes I feel the presence of the Lord and thank our father God that I am still strong enough to be used as His servant.

Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Even though it was difficult I recently was able to cross the border into China. There I met with other Christians. They gave me food, medicine and – by the grace of God – a new Bible.

I was offered a place to stay in China. It would have meant freedom. But I could not abandon my family and church however small it may be.

From your perspective, brother, our suffering must appear as though we live a cursed life. However, we see it as a blessing because it is a shortcut to the father.

But yet brother I have one more request that you send our gratitude to those who continue to pray for us.

In return we’ll stay healthy and continue to spread the Gospel throughout North Korea.

Your sister in Christ.

About Open Doors UK

Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.

Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.

Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.

Read more news on North Korea, Christian Persecution and World Missions.

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