In this longform feature “Onward Christian Soldiers,” Slate goes “Inside the shadowy network of front companies Christian missionaries use to spread the gospel in North Korea.” The piece examines how evangelicals use tour companies, fake-ish businesses and investments to get inside the reclusive nation of North Korea in an effort to tell people about Christ. The story also looks at the case of Kenneth Bae, the American “undercover missionary” that is currently in North Korean prison after being convicted of trying to “perpetrate hostile acts to bring down the government.”

Like Bae, missionaries to North Korea face incredible risks while infiltrating the communist country—where citizens can be put to death for just possessing a Bible—especially because one source reveals that as many as “70 percent of the supposedly underground North Korean Christians are actually government informants.” The article interviews several missionaries that have spent years attempting to reach the people of North Korea, who tell how mentioning God, evangelizing or distributing Bibles can lead to immediate expulsion from the country, or even worse, a long-term prison sentence … Discuss

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The sun did not sympathize with the winter season. What should have been alive was dead, and the only green we saw was sewn into the fabric wraps women wore around their midsections as they carried their babies along the dirt road. Three of us walked in a dusty heat from the footbridge across a dry riverbed to Lindiwe’s homestead at the edge of the village. Read More