Although Voice of the Martyrs does not do humanitarian work, we strongly feel that part of supporting the underground church is to provide for its basic needs. Members of the North Korean underground church suffer from malnutrition, from chronic illness, and from oppression. Many do not have the means to afford appliances—much less clothing— and struggle severely because of it. Surprisingly, however, the most popular demand of the underground church isn’t necessities—it’s the scripture. Because of this, Voice of the Martyrs Korea supplies the North Korean underground church with Ministry Packs: A package that includes medicine, clothing, living necessities, and an MP3 player with the VOMK recording of the old testament, the Faith Comes By Hearing dramatized New Testament, several Korean hymns, and other discipleship materials. Here is a story about how our ministry packs are providing a need more basic than the need for food—the need for God:
So far we have distributed 353 ministry packs, 1000 MP3 players, 500 MP4 players, 500 SD cards, medicine, and discipleship materials.
“I am required to precaution you that it may take over a month for your package to arrive in China.”
One of our VOMK staff members here in South Korea had gone to the post office to send medical masks via expedited post to our partners in China, where they were facing a shortage, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.The very next day, South Korean postal services stopped mailing packages to China.
We sent the package just in time . . . one day earlier! God’s timing is perfect!
Despite the Coronavirus, we continue to partner with the NK underground church and distribute discipleship materials to North Koreans, wherever they may be found.
But it hasn’t been easy.
Many places that NKs live (China, Russia, Thailand and Laos) have travel restrictions in place that make it nearly impossible to visit.
And in China, many individual towns have their own restrictions. For example, in NE China, local authorities are commissioning people to stand watch at the entrance of many towns in order to prevent strangers from coming in and out. At other times, roads are completely blocked. Due to such restrictions, our partners have not always been able to make their regular home visitation rounds. But they have continued to disciple NKs in every way possible . . . including talking on the phone!
Throughout the last few months there have also been times when the travel restrictions were loosened. When this happened, our partners sprang into action!
They immediately visited the homes of NKs, distributed MP3s, and delivered masks, medical aid, and ministry packs. The NKs they met were able to experience the love of Christ through the visitation of our partners.
One NK, upon receiving masks, wrote:
“Thank you, Lord! God knows our needs; He provided what we need through those with whom I have become attached in Christ Jesus. Thank you for providing these masks. May God’s blessing be overflowed upon those who served us with God’s love. Thank you Lord for making us one in Christ Jesus. The whole world suffers greatly because of the Coronavirus, but we will serve the Lord as we meditate on and do the word. I sincerely pray that God, the Trinity, may bless your ministries always.”
Please Pray With Us For The Following Requests:
- Pray for a new NK discipleship student at one of our bases – VOM Korea has discipleship bases in China and other countries where NKs are found. Recently, a new NK at one of our bases asked us to pray that he can memorize as much of the Bible as possible so that he can bring God’s word back to North Korea.
- Pray for our partners to faithfully continue discipling NKs – Sometimes, the governments where our partners are located enforce quarantine rule, travel restrictions, roadblocks, or other hindrances. Please pray for wisdom our partners as they seek to continue discipleship in the midst of these difficult circumstances.
Q1. Who do we give the ministry pack to?
When North Korean men and women are sent by their government to other countries for temporary (typically one to three year) work assignments designed to raise hard currency for the regime, there is a window of opportunity to introduce them to the one true God. As foreigners in a strange land, they are allowed very limited contact with their families and are often given dismal accommodations and dangerous work assignments. Voice of the Martyrs Korea distributes ministry packs to North Koreans working in foreign nations. Many of these packs are then taken back into North Korea!
Q2. What's in a Ministry Pack?
Ministry packs contain basic necessities customized to the location. Some packs contain hygiene supplies, undergarments, socks, and rice or noodles. Others contain shoes and jackets and even work tools. The packs also include the gospel in the form of a tract, New Testament, or other Gospel-sharing resource, such as The Story of Jesus, a visual depiction of Bible stories, in the North Korean dialect.
Even though North Korean workers are often cold, hungry, and poorly provisioned, they will refuse the packs if we try to give them out in public. They say, “Our nation is a paradise, and our great leader has supplied us with everything we need!” So our outreach teams must prayerfully strategize where and how best to get the packs to the workers privately in ways that don’t place them in danger with their government.
Q3. Do you do any evangelism or discipleship with the Packs?
Our strategy is to give the packs to specific people rather than mass distribute them. Recently we were able to distribute ministry packs inside of North Korea to North Koreans who had stayed at our base about 10 years ago. When they visited our base, they were only teenagers, but even at such a young age they dedicated themselves to God. Since that time they have been trying to keep their faith alive in North, and as you can imagine the ministry packs were a great encouragement to them.
Do you see how discipleship is connected? For us, the packs aren’t simply an opportunity to distribute physical aid, but rather an opportunity to help someone grow in God . . . either by distributing the pack or by receiving it!