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North Korea Fires Missiles, While Expecting American Pastor

ICC NOTE: We the international Christian community need to keep Rick Warren in our prayers as he travels to North Korea . This particular country is of concern because religious freedom is strongly restricted and many atrocious human rights violations have occurred in the past and are still happening today. It is very dangerous to publicly make known one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for the courage of Rick Warren as he preaches the Gospel, as well as for those attending his services and meeting with him personally.

Wednesday, 05 July 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (BosNewsLife)– As North Korea fired at least seven missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, including a long-range Taepodong-2, North Korean Christians were anticipating a spiritual response Wednesday, July 5, from the United States.

Rick Warren, an American evangelical pastor and author, announced he has been invited to preach this summer to some 15,000 Christians in North Korea , a Communist country criticized for its nuclear threats and religious persecution.

The author of the bestselling book, “The Purpose-Driven Life,” said he would make the trip as part of a nearly 40-day journey to meet with leaders of 13 countries, the Religion News Service (RNS) reported.

“I want to ask you to pray for me,” Warren was quoted as telling about 5,000 worshippers during a recent service at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest , California

“GRUELING TOUR”

Warren reportedly said he would be embarking on a “grueling” tour, meeting with presidents, business leaders and pastors in countries such as Australia , Malaysia , Singapore , Rwanda and South Korea , where he would preach at the world’s largest church.

He also told the crowd: “I’ve received another invitation” from North Korea which would allow him to preach in a stadium seating 15,000 or in a larger venue if he could fill the seats. “I know they’re going to use me,” Warren said in an apparent reference to North Korean authorities. He suggested he realized that the invitation could be a set-up to draw out Christians so that the government could punish them. “So I’m going to use them,” he added.

Several other Christian leaders, including Billy Graham, also visited North Korea . Warren ‘s intended trip was expected to be closely monitored by both human rights groups and the United States State Department, which designated North Korea as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom violations.

200,000 JAILED

Some observers say there are at least 200,000 people imprisoned in North Korea ‘s notorious prison camps, in many cases for their faith in Christ or opposition to the Communist government. North Korea ‘s Stalinist system of carrying out Communism is based on “total devotion of the individual to an ideology promoted by the late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor and son, Kim Jong Il.”

The ideology largely resembles a religion or cult, known as Juche, and those who oppose it are reportedly persecuted. Despite the risks there are believed to be likely at least tens of thousands of practicing Christians in the isolated nation.

The North Korean authorities have however denied charges of human rights abuses. They say ” North Korea has no human rights issue” because its Communist, or “Socialist system” was “chosen by the people and serves them faithfully.” (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from North and South Korea ).