Christian persecution watchdogs are reporting that "there has been a massive sweep against underground Christians in North Korea," with worshippers being killed after security forces broke up a worship gathering.

Open Doors reports that "security guards broke into a place where several dozen Christians were gathered for a secret worship meeting. The guards arrested all of them and then executed every secret believer in the room."

The ministry is not saying which region the massacre occurred for security reasons. However, they have been told that informants have said the time and place of the worship meeting was leaked to authorities.

"As is often the case in North Korea, the families of the North Korean believers will suffer as well," Open Doors says. "Our contact says that their families—exceeding 100 people—were also arrested and have been sent to political prison—where the inhumane conditions have been reported to be worse than those of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Inmates are treated as animals, tortured and forced to do harsh labor with little food."

Believers in the hermit kingdom often keep their faith secret even from their own family members for fear of persecution. It is illegal to worship Jesus or even own a Bible in North Korea. 

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"Anything that gives people an alternative allegiance to the ruling Kim dynasty is deemed to be dangerous to the state. Christians must hide their faith, even from their own children," Open Doors reports.

"As a result, Coming together to worship Jesus is a death warrant. And yet, as this report indicates, secret Christians are risking their lives to be part of a church or own a Bible. They’re facing death to worship Jesus, knowing that their only hope is in Him."

The words of North Korean believer and ex-prisoner Hae-Woo encourage us to pray with these families recently imprisoned and for all secret believers in North Korea. She now lives in South Korea.

“While I was in prison, I could not understand everything, but I felt the Christians in different countries praying for us who were imprisoned," she says. “It provided comfort, and it became a source of energy for us. Even if we cannot meet each other, let us communicate through the Spirit, in Jesus Christ.

“Let’s pray together and make good out of it. I hope our Lord will be glorified. I believe at God’s appointed time, all the prayers will be answered and there will be freedom of faith in North Korea. Let us endure in patience and wait until that day comes.”