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Open Doors Calls for Global Prayer for North Korea on Sunday

Contact: Jerry Dykstra, Open Doors USA, 616-915-4117, jerryd@odusa.org

SANTA ANA, Calif., April 11, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Open Doors, an international Christian ministry which serves persecuted believers, is mobilizing Christians around the world to participate in a day of prayer Sunday, April 15 for North Korea, ranked No. 1 on Open Doors' 2012 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. North Korea will celebrate the 100th birthday of the late "Great Leader" Kim Il-Sung on Sunday.

North Korean state propaganda reads: "On April 15th, known as 'Day of the Sun' to the Korean people, mass celebrations will take place in Pyongyang and other cities in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). These will be colorful and vibrant. Throughout the world from Lima to Tokyo meetings, seminars and events will take place. To be in Pyongyang on the Day of the Sun is simply a wonderful experience without parallel."

As part of the celebration, North Korea and its new leader Kim Jong-Un will reportedly launch a rocket this week which would showcase the country's ability to fire a missile with allegedly the capacity to reach the continental United States.

Officially there is freedom of religion in North Korea. In practice, civilians do not have any rights. There is no freedom to build churches or to worship in homes. Possession of a Bible or Christian materials is illegal and punishable by death. The proclamation of the gospel is strictly forbidden. Christian parents can't even share their beliefs with their children until they are old enough to understand the dangers. Christians are viewed as "a danger to society" or "spies of the traitorous West."

"For Christians inside North Korea their fear has increased as the government has mandated all the people to bow down to the gods of Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un and participate in the celebration," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. "So scrutiny of the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 brave underground Christians has increased during the last few months. Some have been thrown into prisons. There are 50,000 to 70,000 Christians of the estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people living under horrific conditions in those prisons. Also, many North Koreans are chronically malnourished and unemployed.

"But we know that the Christians living under the most brutal regime in the world will be celebrating the true 'Son' Jesus Christ in their hearts. Please show your solidarity with Christians there by praying and fasting for them this Sunday and beyond."

To show "One With Them" unity with its brothers and sisters in North Korea, Open Doors USA is providing resources at www.worldwatchlist.us/pray-for-north-korea. People can sign up to receive hourly tweets on Sunday, prayer points and other materials. The Open Doors USA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/opendoorsfans?ref=share will also feature North Korea, including the tweets.

In addition to the call for prayer on Sunday, global partners will join together in prayer during North Korea Freedom Week April 23-29. To register to receive information and how to participate in both events, sign up at www.worldwatchlist.us/pray-for-north-korea.

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email jerryd@odusa.org.)