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Does North Korea's Recent Arrest of Three Missionaries Represent a Declaration of War on Christians?
Contact: Melissia Dillmuth, Seoul USA, 719-287-6734

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 27, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Since November, North Korea has arrested a Korean American missionary, a South Korean missionary, and an Australian missionary. Do these arrests represent a declaration of war on Christians?

Not a new one, says the CEO of one North Korea ministry. According to the Rev. Eric Foley of Seoul USA, "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." Foley says that 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."

Foley notes that 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," says Foley. "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 personally."

Foley says that what has surprised him 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," notes Foley. "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." Foley prays that Bae, Kim, and Short are able to draw strength from that. "For North Korean Christians," says Foley, "the imprisonment is when missionary service truly begins."

For more information, visit www.seoulusa.org.