Take a look at this nighttime satellite photo. It only takes a glance to see the contrast.
This is Korea, a land of contrasts, and the focus of our prayers during Far East month on the blog. Beyond the visual, here are some of the noteworthy differences between North and South Korea:
South Korea is a democracy that has enjoyed unprecedented freedom since shortly after the Korean conflict. It enjoys a flourishing economy—the sixth largest in the world. South Korea is also flourishing spiritually; it has one of the highest percentages of evangelicals in the world. And they are spreading the Gospel. You can find Korean missionaries almost anywhere. Without a doubt, South Korea’s story is one of God’s blessing and favor.
North Korea is the opposite. Almost seven decades of emperor worship has brought the Korean people to a state of absolute totalitarianism and political repression. Any religious activity other than worship of the current dictator, Kim Jung Un, is punishable by imprisonment at best, death at worst.
The economy is so bad that as many as 3 million citizens—the population of Mississippi—have died from mass starvation since the early 1990s. A 2014 UN report condemned the country’s food policy, saying, “The State has used food as a means of control over the population. It has prioritized those whom the authorities believe to be crucial in maintaining the regime over those deemed expendable.”
The satellite photo reminds us of the political and economic darkness of the nation, but also of its spiritual darkness. Pray for the day when the light of the Gospel will again shine in North Korea.