None of the news sources I’ve read about North Korea’s Kim Jong Un reportedly ordering the execution of 33 Christians for talking with a Christian missionary to start 500 churches provoke as much emotion as this blog by Lori Stanley Roeleveld.

Her words penetrate my heart.
Her thoughts impassion me to action.

When you read this, you will be inspired to prayerful intercession for innocent Christians undergoing persecution. Here are some of the response comments from Lori’s blog:

“Thank you for disturbing us in our complacency! May your voice echo in the midst of mindlessness, greed and selfishness. Bless you.” – cdammerman

“I pray for strength for these 33 and that God will ease the suffering of all those close to this situation. While my heart is breaking, I know that these people will be blessed for their sacrifices, and I am truly thankful that even with this horrible death, they will live forever with Jesus. I vow that this sacrifice will not be in vain and I will make a stronger stand for Jesus because of it.” – Janet Smith

For more on persecution of Christians, Like Beneath Our Feet on Facebook, a full length feature film on persecution of Christians throughout Southeast Asia.

Here’s the original blog:

They’ll Be Dead by Morning (What Difference Will it Make?)

**Warning: This post may make you feel bad.
**Warning: That feeling may be appropriate.


There are moments in life that feel like a swift slap in the face.

No one courts that.
No one wants to feel that pain.

But, if it’s a slap that rearranges your priorities to align with God’s heart, then you will thank God even for that bracing offense.

I received that slap today when I read the Washington Times news item that Kim Jong-un has ordered the execution of 33 Christians reported to have been part of planting over 500 underground churches in North Korea.

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I imagined 33 of my Christian friends executed for leading people to Christ, facilitating worship, praying, or offering praise to God.

I would be horrified, sad, and angry.


But I would also know that God has the last word on their lives, not Kim Jong-un or the evil power behind him.

Still, I would want their deaths to motivate the Church of Christ.

I would want their deaths to galvanize other believers to put feet to their own faith,

to fuel their passion for Christ,
to remember to pray for those who suffer,
to spread God’s word with more zeal, persistence, and creativity than ever before.

While we in the West argue over worship styles,
sleep in when there’s a visiting preacher,
bemoan having to endure a boring prayer request or off-key soloist,
serve up the pastor’s sermon over lunch,
or sit home and judge the church unworthy of our attendance altogether,

there are other brothers and sisters gasping their way to every precious moment when they can gather, in hiding, with other precious believers,

and hear a whispered message from God,
bathe in the reading of His word,
and pray with passion and tears for strength to endure
and the courage to continue speaking the truth under threat of death.

God placed us all where we are.
He assigned us to our stations.

There is no guilt in being born in the land of the free as opposed to a country under harsh rule.

But there is guilt if we use our freedom to indulge our petty preferences,

to pad our comfort,
to drift through this dark world basking in our own light

rather than using it

to serve those who waste away in prison cells wondering if they’ve been forgotten,
or their families left to struggle alone with hunger, fear, and lonliness,
or those serving the Lord in dark, dark places who need our prayers for their protection, deliverance, courage, and strength.

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This blog is just a bunch of words. It costs me absolutely nothing to write. I am free here to say whatever I want without fear that it will cost me or my loved ones their lives.

But the words I speak on my knees have the power to move forces in the heavenly realm and make a difference for those who know the names and faces of those 33 facing execution,

to comfort those who know their touch, their dreams, the plans they had for this life that will end any minute now and to strengthen those who pick up the bloody batons these 33 will be forced to release, and continue to build the kingdom of Christ in lands where the enemy of God rules.

Worship will be different for me this week, with the report of 33 gunshots bouncing around the inner chamber of my soul, reminding me that we aren’t home yet.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
  • Carlos MorenoMtz

    I cry and pray on my knees for them…and their families.

    • May your prayers be heard and answered, my friend.

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