Not a new one.
It’s important to remember that the war on Christians was declared by North Korea with its formal establishment as a state in 1948 and has been unrelenting ever since. Those being held—Korean American Kenneth Bae, South Korean Kim Jong Uk, and Australian John Short—should be remembered in our prayers along with the 30,000 North Korean underground Christians who are paying the price of faith in quiet anonymity in North Korea’s concentration camps.
There are important lessons to be learned from the arrests by Christians seeking to reach North Korea in the future. Now is not the time to comment on the strategies of those being detained. But what we can conclude with certainty is that there is no “back door” into North Korea—no strategy for sharing the gospel there that does not involve paying the highest of personal prices. This is what North Korean underground Christians have known and practiced for years, and Bae, Kim, and Short have now joined that story.
What has surprised me the most personally about North Korean underground Christians is their acceptance that the practice of their faith will naturally lead them to imprisonment in a concentration camp. They do not regard imprisonment with surprise or outrage, as if it were unusual. They regard the camps as their mission field and see everything that leads up to their imprisonment as training for that most grueling of missionary services. I pray that Bae, Kim, and Short are able to draw strength from that.
For North Korean Christians, the imprisonment is when missionary service truly begins.