The Problem

100,000 million Christians face persecution simply for following Jesus 
The Problem

North Korea

Leader: Kim Jong-Un
Population: 25.6 million (Up to 300,000 Christians)
Main Religion: Atheism/traditional beliefs
Government: Communist dictatorship
Source of persecution: Dictatorial paranoia
World Watch List Rank: 1

“Then I asked myself: Who is the most powerful person I can pray to? I came to the conclusion it was God. So I prayed for Him to release me. I still was not a believer, but I firmly believe that thanks to those remarkable prayers in that dark prison cell I have been blessed so much ever since.”

Yonk Sook became a Christian in a North Korean prison after being arrested when trying to flee to China

The basics

North Korea is the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Christians face arrest, torture, imprisonment and death for daring to believe there is a higher authority than the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Many follow Jesus in secret; parents often don’t even tell their children about their faith for fear they will be revealed. Thousands of other Christians are trapped in horrific labour camps and isolated closed villages. But despite the risks, North Koreans are still choosing to follow Christ.

Watch these

The facts

  • Christians are considered enemies of the state.
  • Up to 70,000 Christians are in prison camps.
  • The country has a three generations punishment rule, so if your faith is found out, your children, and their children, will also be punished.
  • Owning a bible will get your arrested.
  • If your Christian faith is discovered you will face arrest, disappearance, torture or public execution.
  • North Korea is the place where you’ll find more Bible’s hidden in the ground (literally buried) than anywhere else in the world.
  • There are an estimated 200,000-400,000 believers.
  • The church is growing. Amazing.

Where is it?

How many Christians live in North Korea?

We estimate that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians in North Korea. However, it’s difficult to get an exact figure, as Christians in North Korea must keep their faith completely secret.

Of those, we estimate that between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in terrible labour camps – simply for choosing to follow Jesus. And yet, despite the risks, the church in North Korea is slowly but steadily growing.

Pray this…

You are God. No one is like you. No ruler. No nation. You are bigger, stronger and more powerful. Have Your way in North Korea. Bring an end to evil. Bring hope and love. Holy Spirit, strengthen those 400,000 secret Christians. Give them ways to learn more about You. Provide Bibles and materials. Give them courage. Let their actions shine You to all they meet. Help them stick with You through trial and pain. Help me use my freedom to live loudly for You.

Other things to pray for…

  • Food is often scarce in North Korea. Pray for provision, and for protection for Open Doors partners who smuggle food and other basics into the country.
  • For comfort and strength for those facing the daily horrors of life in labour camps.
  • For protection for secret believers, and wisdom for them to know who to trust.
  • For Kim Jong-un, that he would come to know the one true God. Pray for change within the regime and that the power of evil will be broken.
  • For protection for secret Christians, and for strength and endurance for those in labour camps.
  • Ask God to protect Open Doors secret workers as they smuggle food and Bibles into North Korea.


Hea Woo’s Story
Eun Hee’s Story
Beth Croft / Hea Woo / Worship

What’s it like? Hee Young’s story

The good news: How we’re helping

Open Doors’ goal has always been to ‘strengthen what remains and is about to die’ (Revelation 3:2). This verse is especially relevant to the North Korean Church. Without our support, many Christians would starve to death. The focus of the work in North Korea includes:

  • Supplying persecuted believers with emergency relief aid (such as food, medicines, clothes)
  • Distributing books and other Christian materials
  • Training through radio broadcasting
  • Providing training and training materials to North Korean believers in China.

Latest news and articles on North Korea…

Click the North Korea tag below for a list of the latest articles and news on North Korea…

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.