Reverend Eric Foley, CEO of Seoul USA says he was surprised when he first asked members of the North Korean underground church how Americans could pray for them.
“They answered, ‘You pray for us? We pray for you!’ When I asked why, they responded, ‘Because Western Christians often put so much faith in their prosperity and political freedoms that they don’t know what it’s like to have to depend completely on God. And because of that, they often do not get to know him in all the ways he invites us to.’”
Foley is the author of the new book, These Are the Generations, a rare, first-person account of generational imprisonment and Christian faithfulness of one North Korean family. The story begins with the experience of the family patriarch in World War II and continues through the imprisonment and escape of his grandson, one of the book’s co-authors.
NK authorities captured and imprisoned the grandson, Mr. Bae because he believed in God and evangelized a friend.
Bae says being a Christian in prison is far from a pitiable situation. “It’s like seminary,” he says. “I prayed for others daily. My faith grew by leaps and bounds even as my body decayed.”
Foley’s hope for this Sunday’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is that Americans would not pray for persecuted believers but with them. “North Korean believers like Mr. Bae always tell me not to pray that they would be removed from persecution but that they would be faithful in the midst of it—and that we, too, would be fully faithful to God in the midst of our own situation, which is often the persecution of prosperity, that is, the ability to be insulated from suffering rather than taking up our cross daily as well.”
*Interviews with the author, Reverend Eric Foley may be arranged by contacting Tim Dillmuth at Seoul USA. A press kit which features bios of the author and the Baes, a North Korea fact sheet, and translated video and audio clips from an interview with Mr. and Mrs. Bae are available for download at www.seoulusa.org/