North Korean Newcomers
탈북 새신자 맞이
Many North Korean defectors in South Korea can easily feel like they are forgotten, like the world has thrown them away. However, through the NK newcomers project, God visits the lonely, provides parents to the orphans, and demonstrates his mercy to those who cry out to Him. Even though some of the NKs we meet have been in South Korea for a while, through the NK newcomers project God shows them that, although the world may have forsaken them, He has not forgotten them.
Mrs. Seok From Across the Street
If you ask a South Korean if they personally know any North Korean defectors, they will most likely tell you that they don’t. In reality, some of them may know a North Korean, but might not be aware of it, since many defectors, especially young defectors, try to disguise their accent. Some lie about their origin and say that they are from the South Korean countryside.
If it’s so rare to find a North Korean defector, how is one supposed to minister to North Koreans in South Korea?
This is why Voice of the Martyrs Korea always insists on discipling North Koreans to reach their own people. North Koreans know North Koreans. “You just know” they often say. As we send our UU and UT students to visit North Korean newcomers to South Korea, we are constantly surprised at the reach of their ministry. Our students submit reports on their visitations, having visited a new person almost every week!
Last week, Mr. Gu requested one of the VOMK staff members to accompany him on a visitation to a North Korean woman his wife met, Mrs. Seok. When he sent the address of Mrs. Seok to the staff member, the staff member was surprised. Some visitations are so far away, but the house they were going to visit was right across the street from Mr. Gu’s house! North Koreans know North Koreans . . . especially if those North Koreans happen to be neighbors.
On the visitation, Mrs. Seok opened up about her origin and life in North Korea.
In Mrs. Seok’s neighborhood where she lived in North Korea, there were some underground Christians. One of the neighborhood women had gone to China, received strict discipleship training, and was sponsored to start an underground church gathering back in her neighborhood in North Korea. She would gather the neighbors together at her house once a week.
Once, Mrs. Seok heard them singing when they gathered. She figured that somebody had died. When she asked one of the neighbors about the meeting and the singing, the neighbor replied, “It was great!” Mrs. Seok was frightened.
Eventually, Mrs. Seok’s son also went to China and came back. When he came back, he told his mother, “Mom, before you eat, you have to bow and give thanks.” Mrs Seok replied, “Bow to whom? Why do I have to do that?” But he insisted, so she went along with it.
Later, Mrs. Seok realized that her son had also been to China and received discipleship training. Her son said, “Mom, you have to believe in God so that things will go well for our family to the third generation.” She was concerned that, if she didn’t believe, her family would be cursed. So she decided to believe also.
Later, During the famine, in the late 1990’s, Mrs. Seok and her family decided to defect from North Korea.
Her son died on the way.
At that time, Mrs. Seok was angry. She prayed, “My son said that if I believed, things were supposed to go well for our family to the third generation. But my son is dead! So, I’m not going to believe in you.”
Thankfully, Mrs. Seok did return to the faith. She said that the main way she first believed, and the way she keeps her faith is by singing hymns, because that is what her son suggested her to do.
On the visitation, just as her son taught her to do, the group sang a hymn: “We Will Keep Our Faith Alive”
And we will keep our faith alive. God will always be our guide.
Through the darkest night, we will see God’s light.
We will keep our faith alive!
Prayer Requests for this project:
- Pray for North Korean defectors in prison to cry out to God: In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (ESV). Pray for North Korean defectors in prison to cry out to God, and that he would use our North Korean Underground University students to minister to them.
- Pray for the salvation of North Korean defector Mrs. Seok’s second son: Mrs. Seok’s first son was an underground Christian in North Korea who tragically passed away while defecting. Now Mrs. Seok and her other children are in South Korea. Even though Mrs. Seok tries to get her second son to believe, he will not listen to his mother. Please pray for his salvation.