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.

(Names, places, and dates in the following stories may have been changed for security purposes)
UT Students meet for Bible translation in a house


Mrs. Jang is a current UT student. She attended church in the NK newcomers facility and received baptism there, but did not actually believe in God or know much about him at that time. Upon leaving the facility, she became a Buddhist and was attending services at the Buddhist temple. But, one day, another UT student invited her to come to UT orientation and to do Bible translation. For some reason, she came and met the Lord through Bible translation.


Now, Mrs. Jang is our best UT student. She spends hours and hours meditating on the word of God through Bible translation. And, wherever she goes, she testifies to other North Koreans that she met the Lord and came to believe in the word of God through Bible translation, and encourages them to do the same.


It is common for churches in South Korea to give North Korean defector members a stipend simply for attending church. Mrs. Jang’s church recently gave her a full stipend despite her partial attendance, so she told them that she felt uncomfortable receiving a full stipend because she doesn’t attend church except for on Sundays. But the pastor told her, “Just receive it as God’s grace.” We encouraged Mrs. Jang to grow in her participation in her local church as she grows in the faith.


Recently, on a visitation to Mrs. Jang’s house, we read Luke 24 from the John Ross Bible. We discussed about what Pastor Wurmbrand said about Mary Magdalene coming to Jesus’ grave even though Jesus could not do anything for her. Mrs. Jang also asked why some people who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion or resurrection did not believe. She said “Jesus appeared to Peter, to the twelve, and to other disciples, and to Paul. And, when Paul saw Jesus, there were other people with him. Why did they not believe?” We looked at Luke 16:19-31 to find the answer to this question. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” A VOMK staff member shared with Mrs. Jang that faith does not come from seeing, but from hearing God’s word and receiving faith as a gift from God. Mrs. Jang read the scripture and said, “Right. So, in the end, the people who do not believe do not believe, and the people who believe believe.”

Mrs. Jang shows other new UT students how to do Bible translation.

Mrs. Jang also recently had dinner at a restaurant with a UU intern and a VOMK staff member. Mrs. Jang had recently been translating John 4 at home and, without a Bible in front of her, she turned to the VOMK staff member and said,


In John 4, Jesus met the woman at the well, and he told her that, if she knew who he was, she would have asked him for living water. She asked for the living water, so he told her to call her husband. She said she had no husband, so Jesus said that was right and that she had five husbands. Then she said that Jesus is a prophet and said that they worship on the mountain but the Jews worship in Jerusalem. But Jesus said that the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Then she said that she knows the Messiah is coming, and Jesus said that he was the Messiah. Then the disciples came back and told him to eat, but he said that he has food that they don’t know about and that doing the will of the Father is his food. Then he told them that the fields are white for harvest, and that other people have sowed and that the disciples are reaping what they did not labor for. But what I want to know is, who sowed the seeds? Was it God?


Clearly, God loves Mrs. Jang.



  • Pray for NK defectors who get arrested or imprisoned in South Korea for crimes – Sometimes North Korean defectors can get into trouble with the law in South Korea for engaging in behaviors that are acceptable in North Korea but illegal in South Korea. Pray that these can serve as opportunities to seek the Lord in repentance.
  • Pray for UT Student Mrs. Jang – Jang came to know the Lord through Bible translation and is continuing to actively seek to know the Lord more each day through His word. Pray that the Lord would reward her desire by revealing Himself to her more and more. And pray that she would continue to make Him known to others.

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.


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

    Says December 04, 2018 at pm 4:18

    […] UT 학교 […]

  2. 케이티

    Says September 14, 2022 at am 4:29

    So thankful for the work you are doing with the UT and the work that ultimately God is doing through all of you. I imagine translation works a lot like memorization does for me. Read and forget, but the meditating on changes our hearts. May we all learn from this and not ignore the freedoms we have now. And may God continue to create His image in the hearts of each and every one of these North Koreans, producing His life and character to draw many South Koreans (and beyond) to Himself.

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