North Korean Newcomers
탈북 새신자 맞이
Through our NK newcomers project, we encounterhundreds of North Koreans. Among the hundreds, God allows us to meet many people who had some form of faith, or knew somebody who did, even in North Korea. However, when we ask the question, “Did you or anyone you know have anything to do with Christianity while in North Korea?” some defectors simply tell us, “No,I didn’t hear anything about God, Church, or Christianity when I was in North Korea!”
Despite their lack of knowledge about God, we’ve found that they still are important links in the NK underground church.
These are the very NKs who come to faith in the Lord and end up reaching other NKs in China, Russia, Laos and around the world. Many of the people that they reach go back and forth across the NK/China border bringing Bibles and other resources to the underground church.
For this reason, we make every effort to meet all NK newcomers to SK . . . even those who knew nothing of Christ in North Korea.
And surprisingly, even those who say they knew nothing about God, discover that Christ has already visited their family! Through conversations with our VOMK staff and UU interns, they end up learning that certain actions or behaviors that they remember about their relatives—things like telling certain stories, singing certain songs, and praying—are signs that their family members knew something about God, even when those things could not be openly shared.
Below is the story of one North Korean that we met soon after she entered South Korea. She did not know God in North Korea, but had heard of Christ before coming to South Korea.
God Sends a Bracelet
“Do you really believe in God, or do you just think there might be a God up there?”
One VOMK volunteer regularly donates bracelets, hairbands, and other accessories made with cross-shaped beads and other colorful beads that represent different parts of the gospel. VOMK staff will often take these accessories on visitations and mission trips and give them as gifts to NKs.
On one visitation to a brand-new defector’s apartment, a VOMK staff member met a teenage NK defector girl named Miss Park. When our staff member pulled out the bracelet to give to her, she rummaged through her shelf and pulled out another one, only it was broken. On the defection route, she and her family received discipleship training. There, she received a bracelet like the ones that our volunteer donates. Since it broke, she had tried to fix it, but it was not the same as before. She was delighted to receive another one and studied once again what part of the gospel each bead signifies.
The VOMK staff member said, “I think it’s possible that God sent me to give you another bracelet, since he knew your bracelet was broken.” Miss Park said, “Can I ask you a question? Do you really believe in God, or do you just think there might be a God up there?” The staff member replied, “Yes, I really believe in God. Do you really believe in God?”
Miss Park responded, “I’m not sure yet.”
The NK Newcomers project affords us the opportunity to meet people like Miss Park, and as is often the case, we find that the Lord has gone before us and planted a seed of the gospel!
Prayer Requests for this project :
- Pray for Miss Park : (teenage NK defector that we shared the gospel with) and for other young North Korean defectors. Many of them, even those who have been Christians in North Korea, are easily swept away by the temptations of free society to pursue money, pleasure, and comfort. Not many young people are interested in enrolling in discipleship training schools like UT. Please pray for God to draw them to Him and for VOMK to have more opportunities to minister to them.
- Pray for an Unchurched North Korean Defector : With the temporary closure of many churches in South Korea on account of the Coronavirus, a North Korean defector who was planning to attend a local church is temporarily unable to. Please pray for God to lead her to brothers and sisters who can guide her and worship together with her in the meantime, and for other defectors in the same situation.
- Pray for Lonely, Socially-Distanced NK Defectors and Our Students Who Visit Them: Please pray for the physical and mental health of lonely, socially-distanced NK defectors living in South Korea. North Koreans living in South Korea have the highest rate of death due to suicide among people groups in the world. Even among our students, we are shocked when they tell us testimonies of how God saved them from suicide attempts or to helped them kick their addiction to anti-depressants and sleeping pills. Many of them tell us that reading the word of God and going to our two training schools helps curb their depression. Please pray for God to use His Word and His body to save their bodies and souls.
- Pray for NKs in the Newcomers facility and their pastors: There are a reduced amount of NK defectors in the newcomers facility and a reduced amount of support from churches to help them financially and spiritually. Let’s focus our efforts to support them through prayer, petitioning the God who tells us that His Word is never restricted (2 Timothy 2:9). Prayer is a Christian’s main method of accomplishing things in a world of restrictions.