Underground Technology School

Underground Technology School

Underground Technology School

Underground Technology School

UT 학교

Many people pray that North Korea will be opened so that North Korean ministry can begin. But did you know that North Korean ministry has already begun? Every year, more than 1,000 North Koreans defect into South Korea. Some of these defectors bring with them a burning desire to know God. Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s Underground Technology (UT) school was created to help these defectors. UT staff work together with South Korean churches to disciple NK defectors in rudiments of the Christian faith. God is truly moving among our UT students, and we would like to share two of their stories with you.

One thing that draws North Korean defectors to Underground Technology is the strong community. Here you can see students from both our schools praying over a student's well-being

Mr. Min Gets Kidnapped by American Missionaries

A UU student prays together with Mr. Min at his house.

While in North Korea, Mr. Min had hopes of completing his studies and becoming a teacher. Near the end of his studies, his father passed away. To make matters worse, the government indicted him posthumously for having been a private landowner abroad earlier in his life, before Mr. Min was born. This meant that, while all of the other graduates were dispatched to become teachers in Pyongyang or to serve in other well-to-do positions, Mr. Min was sent to the countryside.

After working a variety of odd jobs over many years, he was eventually able to work for the NK government abroad in China in a work squad. It was during this time that Mr. Min made up his mind to defect.

In China, Mr. Min happened to meet some American missionaries who agreed to help him. They took him, blindfolded him, and brought him to stay in a brick house. In the brick house lived an old woman. She encouraged him to read the Bible. Mr. Min took the Bible and, later, after seeing that the cover was good, tore the cover off, and threw the paper away, not knowing what a Bible was. A little while later, the old woman told him that the American missionaries will ask him to study the Bible and go back to North Korea to become an underground church worker but, because many of the underground church workers die, he should instead go to South Korea. When Mr. Min met the missionaries again, he convinced them that, because of his position, and because the facts about him were well known, he could not go back to North Korea, or else he would be immediately discovered and be killed. The missionaries relented and directed him on the way that he might be able to go to South Korea.

For many years, Mr. Min has lived a rather quiet life in South Korea, working as a tradesman. As a result of his background, he has strong and informed views in opposition to Marxism, Communism, Stalinism, Leninism, Juche, etc. As part of his homework for UT, Mr. Min has been reading Richard Wurmbrand’s book Marx and Satan. Mr. Min believes that it is important for North Korean people to read this book. He is also coming to learn that it is important not to try to solve political problems with politics or other methods, but to instead focus on reading the Bible and proclaim the word of God. He heartily agrees that, because North Korea’s Juche ideology is based on Christianity, and because there is strong evidence that Marxism has satanic roots, it is by seeing the truth of scripture that North Korean people can see what is false being revealed as false.

Mr. Min also confirmed some interesting facts about the North Korean education system for us. Among them, he told us that, when he was in North Korea at a university, he found out that there was a religion department with about sixty students enrolled in the program. This was kept a secret, as the students would later be sent out as spies.


Mrs. Cha shows us the leftover depression medication she will throw away.

“I can’t sleep without taking pills.”

Unfortunately, this quote can be attributed to quite a large number of North Korean defectors. While during class time we see students laughing, eating, and learning attentively, during the week, many of them become severely depressed and even suicidal as they struggle with loneliness, trauma, feelings of futility, and concerns about their families. During breaks from school when we visit them, they often tell us that they have not been eating much because nothing tastes good when you eat it alone.

When North Korean defectors come to the doctor with these issues, the doctors are more likely to prescribe them fluoxetine instead of friendship.

One of our UT students, Mrs. Cha, has been taking anti-depressants for five years. Once, she had even resolved to purposely overdose on the pills and commit suicide. As she was about to do so, a worker from the community center happened to stop by her house and stop her.

But now, Mrs. Cha says that God has healed her. She has not taken the medicine for twenty days and is sleeping fine without it. The following Saturday, she brought the big bag of leftover medicine to class, saying, “I brought the medicine today. I’m going to throw it away.” Now, Mrs. Cha is preparing to graduate from UT to UU and is learning how to visit others so she can encourage them, share her testimony with them, and be an example for them.


UT 학교

  • North Korean Underground Christians who Risk their Lives. There is a price to pay for all these stories we hear from out UT students about faithful witnesses and evangelists in North Korea. Many people, even today, are risking their lives to preach the gospel to others in North Korea. Please pray that God will continue their witness, and that God will use us all, as one body, to support them with our prayers and supply of discipleship materials to witness well.


  • Fear Among North Korean Defectors. Especially in light of the fact that the current South Korean government is becoming quite friendly with the North Korean government, quite a few of our students are fearing for their lives. Some of them, like Mr. Min, are well-known to the North Korean government. Many still have families in North Korea and are afraid that, if the North Korean government were to become aware of them, their family members would be targeted. Please pray for them not to act out of fear, but to keep their minds stayed on the Lord and trust Him as He keeps them in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

About Underground Technology School

Q1. What is Underground Technology (UT)?

Nearly 80 percent of those who leave North Korea are women. The majority of those have had some kind of traumatic encounter related to human trafficking or abuse. When they come to South Korea, few churches know how to relate, let alone help. Often in an effort to do good, churches and social programs regard these women simply as victims and recipients of services.  Voice of the Martyrs Korea takes a different approach. We see these women as amazing, creative, and powerful. How else could they have successfully escaped the most brutal and repressive regime on earth and then survived and triumphed over sex traffickers, abusers, and underground police, all while traveling three thousand miles across countries whose languages they do not speak, even while they had no money and were caring for children or parents or other refugees? Our goal is to help them grow in relationship to the God they met along the way—the God who has an even more exciting adventure for them in the future.

Underground Technology (UT) is our six month school where those adventures are born. It is a personal discipleship program where female and male North Korean Christian defectors are trained in five key areas to equip them for the next stage of their journey: 1) Academic success; 2) Life skills; 3) Character formation; 4) Relationship development; and 5) Spiritual foundation. Through field trips, internships, classroom education, volunteering and one-on-one coaching and counseling, they not only receive care for the hurts they have sustained; more than that, at UT they learn to care for others—especially those in their immediate sphere of influence, like their family members in South Korea and North Korea.

Q2. What do you teach at UT?

We use a variety of resources, but the Prasso materials are foundational to UT.  Prasso is the Greek word meaning “to practice” and it is designed to help ordinary Christians learn to practice the Bible in the everyday events of their lives.

In addition, instructors from all over the world who are among the most well-regarded in their fields of practice teach both in person and via videoconference. UT students learn what the “ordinary” Christian life is all about, and they get to see how that is practiced around the world.

All of our teaching materials are specifically adapted for North Koreans.  For example, North Korean people are used to criticizing one another and thinking negatively about each other’s talents.  This is how they were educated and required to behave in North Korea.  In UT, students learn how to change their sinful thoughts and habits into godly ones.  Students learn how to encourage one another and to regard each other with charitable judgment. They learn to pray for people other than themselves. This simple activity is an important corrective to North Korea’s “self-criticism” meetings.

Q3. Testimony From a Current UT Student

Ms. Han’s friend was shocked. She could hardly recognize Ms. Han. It wasn’t that Ms. Han had gotten her hair cut or lost weight. It wasn’t even that she hadn’t seen Ms. Han in a while. After all, the two met together every Sunday. The difference was that Ms. Han wore a genuine, confident smile on her face.

Like many North Koreans, Ms. Han had, understandably, wrestled with fear on a regular basis. She had also, understandably, tried to keep this fear to herself. Who cared enough about her to ease the burden of her fears? Who could possibly understand the struggles she faced? It wasn’t until Ms. Han attended UT that she was given an answer to her questions: not only does God care enough, but God understands her most harrowing experiences. After all, God was there with her.

Every week, VOMK staff members and volunteers travel to the UT student’s homes. This not only gives the students a chance to practice mirroring God by hosting the very people the student was raised to fear and hate (North Koreans are taught that the South Koreans and Americans hate them), but it also gives the students a chance to open up about the challenges they face.

“I feel blessed when you come to visit me,” one UT student told the staff that visited her. “I love to share what I have with everyone. One day, I hope I can share my house with the whole UT class!”

This particular student had been struggling with fear all her life. She assured us that she felt blessed to have made it to South Korea. Life in South Korea came equipped with its own toil and trouble, but life in North Korea was almost unbearable. There was no money and so her son had to steal and lie in order to survive. Every day, this student would fear for her son’s life. Even a knock at the door would tug at her nerves: anything could be a sign that her son had been found out and killed.

However, this student did not leave her fears behind when she left Nouth Korea. Her son still lives in North Korea and she spends every day fearing for his life. This student admitted to us that she feared she would never see her son again. By sharing this fear, this student handed it over to God.

Not only were our staff members able to pray for her, but her fellow students were able to pray for her as well. And when these students heard about her sorrow, they opened up about their own. Several students also had sons and daughters that still lived in North Korea. Several were afraid they would never be able to see their children again, either.

Yet after we prayed, the students did not gather together and cry. They smiled together and comforted one another. When fear is hidden, it becomes despair. However, when fear is shared, it becomes hope.

Q4. What kind of field trips do you do with the UT students?

We recently took UT students to the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery.  This cemetery is a place where foreign missionaries’ compassion and love for Korea is kept alive.  This is particularly important for our North Korean students, because it was in the northern part of pre-war Korea that missionaries first found the greatest acceptance.  North Korea was a missionary launching pad for the gospel as it went across Korea and Northeast China.

When the UT students lived in North Korea, they heard these same missionaries were American imperialists who were very cruel and evil.  A field trip like this not only challenges their long-held assumptions, but also encourages them not to get too comfortable in South Korea, but instead be ready to serve God in everything they do

Q5. What kinds of volunteer activities do UT students do?

The UT students are regularly involved with everything from launching balloons to packing up North Korean Bibles for distribution.  Serving others is an extremely important part of the UT training, because from the moment defectors enter South Korea they are only taught to receive.  This “receiving” mentality stunts their Christian growth. A regular program of volunteering and serving is needed to help the students grow to fullness in Christ.

These ministry opportunities are normally denied to many NK defector men and women, but they are essential to helping them to understand about the God who takes the stone the builders have rejected and makes it the cornerstone—in this case, the cornerstone of new, God-centered leadership in the North Korean defector community and in North Korea itself.

Q6. How can I send a message of encouragement to UT students?

Teachers in North Korea teach schoolchildren to hate Westerners (and especially Americans), and they are taught that those in America and the West hate them and seek to do them harm. Thus, when UT students receive a card from you, they express wonderment at this barrier-breaking element of the Body of Christ. You can of course write in English, as our staff and volunteers happily provide a basic translation of the contents. We encourage you to mail cards to the Voice of the Martyrs, and we will hand-deliver them to UT students in Korea.


Please include a picture of yourself – the UT students love to see who is praying for them!  Please include a Scripture verse for them.  These are easy for our volunteers to translate.

Please include a sentence or two of your own encouraging words.  If the contents of your card are too long, the translation will take too long for our volunteers.


Address: 15, Jeongneung-ro 17-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, Korea
주소 : 대한민국 서울특별시 성북구 정릉로 17길 15
Phone: 02-2065-0703
Office hours:  Tue ~ Sat 09:00 – 17:00
Email: [email protected]

Q7. Can I set up a pen pal relationship with a UT student?

Sorry, but thanks for understanding. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us and to the students. That’s because students have family members still inside North Korea, and those family members are punished by the North Korean government for the students’ “sin” of defecting. That’s why we release no details about the students and why students are very protective of their privacy. A message of encouragement to all the students is the best pen pal note you can send!


Address: 15, Jeongneung-ro 17-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, Korea
주소 : 대한민국 서울특별시 성북구 정릉로 17길 15
Phone: 02-2065-0703
Office hours:  Tue ~ Sat 09:00 – 17:00
Email: [email protected]

Q8. What happens after a student graduates from UT?

Graduates of the UT program are eligible to enroll in the Underground University program. UT students are an excellent source of candidates for Underground University.

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  1. 탈북민, 북한 지하교회 방식대로 선교사를 훈련하는 학교 졸업!!! – Voice of the Martyrs Korea

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