MEETING NK UNDERGROUND CHRISTIANS
North Korean underground Christians do not typically leave North Korea. They feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to their families, friends and to their nation. They truly understand that if they leave North Korea, then the Christian witness that is still present leaves as well.
But there are a few underground Christians who do leave, and even fewer who eventually make it all the way to South Korea. When they come to South Korea, the government is quick to send them to a less populated area (outside of Seoul) so as not to draw much attention to them and their story. Without our access to the facility, the SK government would whisk them away before we had a chance to meet them.
The ability to meet NK underground Christians gives us the opportunity to encourage them in the midst of an extremely challenging and confusing time. It also enables them to have a chance to continue ministry alongside of other NK defectors at VOM Korea. More importantly, it encourages us with stories of God’s faithfulness in the midst of an evil regime. It also gives us important intelligence on the underground church, Christian practices, and our ministries inside of NK.
MEETING NK UNDERGROUND CHRISTIANS
That is why we were so thankful to meet Mrs. G as a part of this project.
Her parents (and her grandfather) were Christians and discipled her well, but when she was nine years old, both of her parents died in a bomb explosion during the Korean war. For several years after their death, she and her younger brother survived by themselves. It was during this time she remembered the words of her mother . . .
God knows all things,
God is watching you,
God will help you above all things.
You can always pray to God.
While she was alone with her brother, she experienced the hand of God in very tangible ways. On several occasions, she and her brother had no food for several days and miraculously food would appear when they woke up in the morning. She has no doubt that it was God who provided the food she needed. She also recalls receiving money, but instead of using it only to feed herself and her brother, she made porridge and shared it with others. Her parents had instilled a deep sense of the importance to help others.
On another occasion, she remembers her brother beginning to drown in a lake, but there was a young man there to save him. She also considers this miraculous, because at this time all of the men in the village were off fighting in the war.
She remembered several instances of persecution from when she was young until the time when she was a young adult. When she was 23 years old, she was interrogated and beaten for her family’s Christian background. Although she admitted that she also fought back, and ended up badly wounding the Communist party member who interrogated her.
On a separate occasion, she remembers one of her Christians friends, with whom she would often pray together, being beaten badly by an NK soldier. She also vividly told us how her grandfather’s grave was plowed over and torn open by the government due to his cross-shaped tombstone. After she got married, her Christian faith moved into the background a little bit. She no longer knew any other Christians and she was always fully aware of how her neighbors and the NK government monitored her.
But even in the midst of her struggle to actively practice her faith, she remembers receiving a Bible from someone in the market who let her borrow the Bible if she put some money down. This money was later returned to her when she returned the Bible. She said that the exchange of money was done to make the borrowing of the Bible look more legitimate to anyone who might ask questions about what she was delivering and receiving.
WHERE DOES MRS. G GO FROM HERE?
Like so many NK defectors, South Korea threatens to swallow her alive . . . body, soul and spirit. Even underground Christians who remained faithful in the North, crumble under the weight of loneliness, depression, guilt and temptation in the South. We’ve invited Mrs. G into our UT program, in order to train her to be faithful amidst the pressures in SK that were not quite as apparent in NK. And to train her to help other NKs, both in the North and the South, to faithfully follow Christ. Although Mrs. G. remained steadfast in her belief in God while in NK, we could see that she had a rather narrow perspective of God. She seemed to mostly understand God from a perspective of doing things for her. We also see how she wasn’t so successful in living out her faith and passing on her faith as an adult.
In our UT program, she can grow in her knowledge of God and learn how to practically live out her faith in God. She expressed a strong desire to share her faith with her adult children, but she wasn’t quite sure how to do that. UT will give her the tools to proclaim the gospel to her family.
Prayer Requests for this project:
- Please pray for Mrs. G as she begins her UT training. Pray that she will be open to the Lord’s
correction and training and that she will be a willing vessel to proclaim the gospel to her
family inside of NK.
- Please pray that VOM Korea can be a good model to other South Koreans in how we open
our home, share our bread and visit and remember North Korean defectors.