“You Will Finish What You Started!”

I haven’t read a lot of news about the recent Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. I don’t have much to say about the event, except that it looks like an answer to prayer.

There are many prayer groups that have been meeting for years–in many different nations, cultures, and church backgrounds. We will never know just how much effort has gone into prayer and missions efforts for North Korea. So much has been done privately and quietly. And in the spiritual realm, much has been accomplished by the persistent cries for justice (Luke 18:7).

Several years ago, Sean Feucht of Fire and Fragrance wrote this song in North Korea. (See the video, which has footage of him singing the song in North Korea. Even though North Koreans are not free to worship God, foreigners are.)

This is a prophetic declaration, that God started a good work there in centuries past, and He will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). He will finish what He started in North Korea!

Here is part of the song:

There’s a justice rolling down,
all that’s hidden will be found
With holy recompense, a kingdom comes,
no force can stop, His will be done

Oh my God, You can do anything,
Oh my God, nothing’s too hard for You…

You’re faithful to the end,
You will finish what You started

The Tragic History of Christian Compromise

In the 1930’s, during the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, the Japanese government required everybody–including Christians–to worship at the Shinto shrines. On September 9, 1938, the Presbyterian General Assembly convened. They agreed to support shrine worship as an act of patriotism and of respect for the emperor. After years of subtle persuasion and hostile persecution, September 9 was the tipping point. From that day on, most Christians submitted to the law.

Then, after Korea was freed from Japanese rule, the Korean peninsula was divided into a northern and southern zone, along the 38th parallel.

On September 9, 1948, Kim Il Sung founded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, with the support of Christian leaders.

On September 9, 1958, Kim Il Sung shut down all churches. The Christian population was systematically purged. Now, all citizens are required to worship images of the Kim family each day. But many Christians refuse, and are often punished severely.

Besides all the other injustices, there are still many thousands of Christians in prison, because they have not bowed to the images of false gods.

Prayer Meeting Testimony

In 2011, I was at a prayer meeting with some Singaporeans. They were fervently praying that Kim Jong-il would repent, or be replaced. Three days later, he had a heart attack and died, and was replaced by Kim Jong Un.

After this experience, I started to pay attention! I have been following North Korea news since then–not primarily from American media, but from regional and local sources.

I know a lot of stories about foreigners who have worked in and near North Korea. There are many beautiful, powerful, and also heartbreaking stories. But the world has not really begun to hear the stories that North Koreans themselves have to tell. Not yet.

But in the years to come, the world will hear their stories. Until then, we pray:

Let justice flow like a river in North Korea, and may the testimony of Jesus go out from North Korea to the nations!

“You will not need to fight in this battle.”

A few years ago, I was attending a weekly prayer gathering for North Korea, on the other side of Hong Kong. Someone there shared 2 Chronicles 20:12-20, as a prophetic prayer for North Korea. Verse 17 says:

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

While the news analysts talk at length about the Trump-Kim summit and other current news, we should continue to pray for the real needs of North Korea, and watch what the Lord does.

Abortion in North Korea

North Korea is arguably the most religious nation in the world. The culture is trapped inside an incredibly complex cult of devotion to the Kim family, which dominates all aspects of everyday life. But it is also perhaps the most lawless place in the world, with rampant corruption, alcoholism, prostitution, sexual assault, etc, etc.

Tragically, abortion is also very common in North Korea. From 1950 to 2015, there was practically no legal restriction on abortion, and abortion was frequently coerced/forced.

So, I was surprised to learn that Kim Jong Un changed this in 2015, and made abortion illegal. It’s hard to know what to think about this. Presumably, the new policy will save some innocent lives. But many abortions will continue illegally. And for women who want to give birth, doctors will continue to demand high fees for pre-natal care.

Clearly, Kim Jong Un is not “pro-life” in any sense of the word. His reason for making abortion illegal was simply to increase the population, just as Adolf Hitler did by making abortion illegal for his “Aryan” race. But just as Nazi Germany required abortion for many non-Aryans, North Korea requires abortion for many mixed-race babies, and for prisoners. (More on this situation here.)

Pregnant women who conceived in prison, or who were captured and repatriated from China, are required to abort. Many North Korean defectors have witnessed this scene.

What Should We Do?

It’s easy to watch the news, and forget that North Korea is a real country, with people who really work and play and laugh, and get married and raise children and send them to school so that they can grow up and have the best possible life.

But there is little hope for a better life inside North Korea as things are right now. So, we should continue to pray for the country.

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)

Office Space

I’ve shared a request previously, for financial help with office space. It is a really great opportunity! And the ministry I’m sharing space with is willing to let me pay month by month.

I do not have the budget for this, and so I am looking for donors to help me make this office space possible for the coming year. Tax-free (tax-deductible) donations are available for Hong Kong and U.S. residents.

Please consider supporting this ministry.

God bless you,
Joe Woodard

P.S. I recently talked with a Chinese pro-life leader, who asks for prayers for himself and his wife. Please, please pray for them personally, and for their life-saving ministry in China.

Please also pray for the safety of Christian pastors, and of NGOs run by Chinese Christians. You might occasionally see news about the demolition of major church buildings. But this is not the norm. Many churches are persuaded to register, or else quietly shut down.

This is also the situation right now for private orphanages, elderly homes, and other ministries that care for neglected members of society. They are under especially close watch right now.

The situation in China is always uncertain, but God can do anything, anywhere. If God has called you to China, now is the perfect time to pray and to prepare!

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

 

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