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.
HOW TO FIND A NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR
North Korean defectors make up about 0.06% of the total population of South Korea. That means that, for every 1,600 people you meet in South Korea, one of them will be a North Korean defector…maybe.
This presents a problem for those of us seeking to do ministry with North Koreans. Some organizations and churches have found a solution to the problem by working with governmental organizations. The government is more than happy to accept the church’s humanitarian aid efforts. However. they do have one caveat with regard to the church’s involvement:
“Please refrain from religious conversation.”
On top of this, the Coronavirus situation and restrictions have made it even harder to reach out to North Korean defectors. The number of defectors entering South Korea dropped 77% to 31 people in the first quarter of this year. What’s more, these days, the government is preventing the churches from meeting together with North Korean defectors due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
At Voice of the Martyrs Korea, we do not partner with the government, nor do we engage in humanitarian aid efforts. Our focus is on partnering with the underground church in discipleship and evangelism. As a result, we are unable to receive assistance from the government in introducing us to North Korean defectors.
So how do we find them? We find them underground.
We train them according to the methods of the North Korean underground church to do discipleship and evangelism through household worship. We train our students at UU and UT to visit their North Korean friends, family, and neighbors’ houses. Friends introduce them to family members, family members introduce them to friends, and the underground visitation network grows.
VOMK VISITATION PARTNER: MISSIONARY B
We are used to working with ministry partners in our underground North Korea work in China and North Korea. We create exclusive projects together with other ministers for the sole purpose of partnering with the underground church in discipleship and evangelism efforts.
But God gave us a new experience this quarter in that He gave us our first local visitation partner.
Missionary B first contacted us because she had met us in China and had used our North Korean hymnals before. But, recently, due to the Coronavirus, she was prevented from staying in China and her mission organization cut off her support.
With no finances, but an ever-burning burden in her heart for North Koreans, she decided to focus on visiting the North Korean defectors she had ministered to on the defection route in China, who were now living in South Korea.
Now in Korea and needing materials, she came to us asking for more hymnals. After hearing her story, and giving her a trial run for Bible distribution, we decided to provide her with Bibles and other discipleship materials as well as financial support in return for receipting and reports for her visitation ministry.
Missionary B continues to express how glad she is to partner with a “clean” ministry like VOMK, that has a high standard of financial accountability and focuses on discipleship and evangelism.
Missionary B has been very disappointed to find that only about 10% of the North Korean defectors she helped in China are attending church or are living out their faith. Seeing no fruit, she laments having focused on humanitarian efforts instead of doing discipleship and evangelism. Some of the people she helped are even engaging in sex work at massage parlors in South Korea. But God is working through Missionary B to complete the good work He has started through her to go and find them where they are, even in dark places, and give them the light of the Gospel.
Prayer Requests for this project:
- Pray for local church ministries to North Korean defectors: Local churches in South Korea that minister to North Korean defectors often seek help in connecting with defectors through government organizations. The government requests them to refrain from religious conversation. And now, during the Coronavirus pandemic, the government is restricting meetings with defectors. Pray for God to open the door for local church ministries to reach out to defectors with the gospel.
- Pray for VOMK visitation partner Missionary B: VOMK partner Missionary B used to help North Koreans defect from North Korea in China. Now she is realizing that many of them are living sinful lives in South Korea, so she is visiting them for the sole purpose of discipleship and evangelism. Please pray for her and for the North Koreans she meets.