“They were demolishing a vacated house in Yongkang county, Yongkang district town, when in a basement between two bricks they found a Bible and a small notebook that contained 25 names, one identified as pastor, two as chon-do-sa (assistant pastors), two as elders, and 20 other names, apparently parishioners, identified by their occupations.

“The soldiers turned the Bible and notebook over to the local branch of Department 15 of the Korean Workers Party (KWP), but the Party officials said it was up to the military police unit, Bowisaryungbu gigwanwon, to investigate.

“Tracked down at their place of work through the listing of occupation in the notebook, the 25 persons were picked up without formal arrest by the military bowibu.

“In November 1996, the 25 were brought to the road construction site. Four concentric rectangular rows of spectators were assembled to watch the execution. Interviewee 17 was in the first row.

“The five leaders to be executed – the pastor, two assistant pastors, and two elders – were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller. This steamroller was a large construction vehicle imported from Japan with a heavy, huge, and wide steel roller mounted on the front to crush and level the roadway prior to pouring concrete. The other twenty persons were held just to the side.

“ The condemned were accused of being Kiddokyo (Protestant Christian) spies and conspiring to engage in subversive activities. Nevertheless, they were told, ‘If you abandon religion and serve only

Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, you will not be killed.’

“None of the five said a word. Some of the fellow parishioners assembled to watch the execution cried, screamed out, or fainted when the [leaders] were crushed beneath the steamroller.

“Interviewee 17 thought, at the time, that these church people were crazy. He thought then that religion was an ‘opiate,’ and it was stupid for them to give up their lives for religion. He heard from the soldiers who took away the other twenty prisoners that they were being sent to a prison camp. He sketched from memory a diagram of the execution scene.

The late Kim Jong-il with party officials

Open Doors is calling for prayer for the country and the suffering Christians who live there.

“Today marks a significant day in North Korean history,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller. “Though this brutal dictator, who was responsible for so many atrocities, has died, the future is still unknown. Some speculate that his son Kim Jong-un will be just as cruel to all dissenters. Others suggest that he may be more lenient. We simply do not know the future of North Korea, but God does.

“This is why it is vital that Christians around the world pray for North Korea during this transitional time. Pray especially for the brave Christians inside North Korea. They are fearful that they might face even more suffering. People are starving to death. The people of North Korea are living a nightmare that never ends.

“In North Korea, any form of worship to anyone other than the Great Leader (Kim Il-Sung) and the Dear Leader (Kim Jong-Il) is seen as treason. North Korean Christians are often arrested, tortured or even killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Moeller quoted an Open Doors source inside North Korea, who he only identified as “Simon.”

“It is very unlikely that there will be any policy changes,” says Simon. “In fact, since Kim Jong-un came closer to the helm, North Korea has stepped up its attempts to uncover any religious activities. There have been more house raids, more spies trained to infiltrate religious and human rights networks and one South Korean Christian who was murdered in China because he helped refugees.

“Christians fear what Kim Jong-Un is capable of doing.”

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