SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean residents filled the streets of Pyongyang to celebrate the birthday of founding father Kim Il Sung, oblivious to tensions over a possible North Korean missile launch.
The regime has been threatening a possible missile launch and even a nuclear war. Monday's fesitivities come one day after the North rejected South Korea's proposal to resolve tensions.
South Korea's Pastor Baik Kyung Sam of World Loving Church says prayer, not politics, is the only solution for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.
"The winds of politics are always changing in our region, so our focus instead is on God," he told CBN News. "He is calling us to pray strategic prayers over the nation of North Korea."
Pastor Baik started World Loving Church six years ago. It sits less than an hour's drive from the most fortified and dangerous border in the world, called the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ.
On either side of the 152-mile zone separating the two Koreas is almost 2 million troops facing each other, ready to go to war at a moment's notice. The United States has some 28,000 soldiers stationed here as well.
"We are not scared to be here," Baik told CBN News. "If we wanted to get serious about praying we knew we had to move as close as possible to the DMZ."
Round the Clock Prayers
The church has been praying around the clock in recent weeks. Since March, North Korea has repeatedly threatened to turn Seoul, Tokyo and Washington into a "sea of fire" by launching pre-emptive nuclear attacks.
"I think we should always be concerned when somebody's threatening our homeland and threatening our allies, and it's causing instability in the region," Gen. James Thurman, U.S. commander in South Korea, said.
The United States has responded by sending in bombers, stealth aircraft and ships to the area.
"There's no way we can win this game with counter threats," security analyst Joe Circincione said. "They can 'out crazy' us. You have to be able to be firm but also calm."
But instead of focusing on North Korea's cycles of belligerence, Pastor Baik is telling church members to see past the regime's scare tactics.
"When North Korea tries to show off to the world that it is dangerous and unpredictable they are just masking their own inadequacies," Baik explained. "The truth is they are weak, desperately poor and led by men who want nothing more than to stay in power. This is when we need to pray for them more."
Meanwhile, on the streets of Pyongyang Monday, North Koreans celebrated the 101st birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il Sung.
In South Korea, thousands are coming to border checkpoints and placing ribbons on them. Some are asking for peace, while others are calling for the reunification between the two Koreas.
Not too far from the DMZ, South Korean resident Park Nam Lee and his two sons spent the afternoon peering into North Korea through binoculars.
"People are talking about potential war, but I don't think it's that severe," he said. "I used this occasion instead to bring my kids here to talk to them about what's going on in North Korea. It may not happen in my lifetime, but perhaps they will one day see the reunification of our two countries. That's my hope."