Korean missionaries might have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Stationed on China’s northeastern border with North Korea, they put their lives at risk just to evangelize defectors from the hermit country, reports World Religion News.
North Korea prohibits its citizens from entertaining Christian teachings and practicing the faith. Harsh punishment, including suffering in labor camps and public execution, awaits those who break the law.
Proselytizing is illegal in China and the Chinese government has imprisoned or expelled hundreds of missionaries.
The government sees Christianity as a way for the United States to infiltrate Pyongyang and topple the Kim dynasty. Missionaries are even accused of being used as spies to gather sensitive information about North Korea.
Despite the constant threat in their lives, Korean missionaries continue their work of spreading Christianity to North Koreans. Safe hiding places are provided to those who successfully fled the North. In exchange, missionaries ask the refugees to memorize Christian prayers, study the Bible, pray and sing hymns.
A 69-year-old Korean Chinese missionary disclosed that she gives North Korean converts food, shelter, and sometimes, money. Her home is near the communist country that she could see people doing their daily chores in the neighbor country. She knows that both North Koreans and Chinese authorities are monitoring her actions, but she has been in mission for 20 years already, reports Japan Times.
“I always pray and I’m with God, so I’m not worried,” said the woman.
Proselytizing is illegal in China and the Chinese government has imprisoned or expelled hundreds of missionaries. In North Korea, pastors and associated missionaries have died in mysterious circumstances.
One such case is Li Baiguang. A human rights lawyer who defended farmers and Christian pastors, Li had been receiving multiple death threats. He died last February in a Chinese military hospital for a minor stomach ailment. His death outraged many and prompted the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy and Amnesty International to conduct an independent investigation.