US Christians risking their lives to teach in North Korea despite absence of religious freedom

American Christians are still risking their lives to teach in North Korea in the hope that they may be able to indirectly influence the people there and inspire repentance, even though religious freedom is nonexistent in the country.

(REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji)A North Korean flag flutters on top of a tower at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom November 12, 2014.

The danger that American Christian teachers face in North Korea has once again come to light after two Pyongyang University of Science and Technology professors were recently arrested and charged with hostile acts against the reclusive state. Youth With a Mission missionary Kenneth Bae became the longest imprisoned American in North Korea when he was jailed for more than two years over the same allegations, Christianity Today notes.

Abraham Kim, whose Chicago University Bible Fellowship helped fund PUST's medical school, acknowledged that the staff at the school cannot directly preach the Gospel in North Korea. However, he said they can "indirectly influence the people there by being good Christians."

In an exclusive interview with CT, American missionary Robert Park tried to explain his purpose for teaching in North Korea despite the danger that people like him face there. Park, who got himself arrested on purpose, was jailed for six weeks in 2010.

"My hope was, through sacrifice, that maybe there would be repentance and people could come together to address issues in North Korea," Park told CT exclusively.

Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer voiced out concern over the recent arrests of PUST professors Kim Hak Song and Kim Sang Duk. He said the U.S. Department will work with the Embassy of Sweden to have the detained Americans released.

News of the arrests of the American Christian professors broke out just as North Korea announced a successful missile test supervised by their leader Kim Jong Un. The test served to verify that the country is capable of carrying a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead," Reuters reports.

According to state-run news agency KCNA, Kim warned the U.S. against "the biggest disaster in the history" if it continues to provoke North Korea. He also pointed out that the Pacific region is within their range for a missile strike.