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.


NK UT students and the NK Bible!


Our North Korean UT students watched a video called Underground Bible Route to North Korea that shows footage of 9 of our North Korean underground church partners who were martyred along with their family members (totaling 30 people) in 2007.

We talked about how God did not forget these 30 NK martyrs, because God is allowing their testimony to be heard throughout South Korea and the world. We told the students that, when they go and tell others of what they saw in the video, this, too, is a way that God is being faithful to not forget them.

As a result of watching the video, Mrs. OYG shared that, when she was on the defection route, she met a pregnant woman who had been an underground Christian in North Korea. When this woman was in NK, her family members in the U.S. had sent a care package and secretly concealed a Bible among the items in the package. She and her family read this Bible.

When they defected from North Korea, the pregnant woman’s husband was repatriated to North Korea and was executed. The woman was in her final month of pregnancy on the defection route, and somebody kicked her in the stomach. At the time, she prayed for God to save her. God heard the prayer, and the baby did not die. In fact, the baby was delivered quite miraculously and did not even cry!

Now, the woman is living in SK and has remarried. She is continuing to keep the faith.


New UT student Mrs. OYG sits during class.

Another student, Mrs. YEJ, said that she encountered Christianity when she was in North Korea. She said this:

My mother believed in Christianity, that is, she believed in God, and, as she was dying when I was thirteen, gave me a silver or iron cross. Because I was so young at the time, I didn’t even know what it was. My mother told me to bury it in the ground because I would die if someone found it, so I wrapped it in paper and buried it under a persimmon tree at night.

She said that she had never heard about the cross or understood anything about Jesus. She only remembered that she often saw her mother mumbling and begging in front of water or food in the room. Sometimes she saw her mom make the sign of the cross. But, at the time, she didn’t understand what her mother was doing, so she figured her mother must just be upset.


UT student Mrs. SYA’s UT completion ceremony

One of our other UT students, Mrs. SYA, told us about her experiences with Christianity in NK. She said that she witnessed some of her neighbors being dragged away by security guards because they were members of the underground church. She said she did not know much about God when she saw the underground Christians being taken. But what she did know is that she would be in trouble if she ever believed in God.

Mrs. SYA’s eldest son first defected from NK to China when he was young. At the time, she told her son to never to believe in God. Later, Mrs. SYA also defected from NK and lived in China. Her son would call her every Saturday and tell her to believe in God and go to church. He also sent her praise music tapes. Whenever she listened to the tapes, her heart felt at peace and she received grace through the tapes. Sometimes, she would stay up all night and listen to the tapes over and over again. After this, she began to attend church.

Unfortunately, her son died there in China. Mrs. SYA began to blame God and said that there was no God. She also stopped attending church.

A few years after this, Mrs. SYA came to SK. She remembered what grace she had received as she listened to the praise music tapes back in China, so she decided to listen to praise music. Once again, she received grace through listening to the praise music and started attending church again. Mrs. SYA’s thinking began to change. She began to believe that God must have had a good purpose for the death of her son.

Mrs. SYA said that, through this process, she experienced the good and faithful character of God.



  • SYA’s husband’s faith and health. Please pray for UT student Mrs. SYA’s South Korean husband’s faith and health. He grew up as a Roman Catholic, but now he refuses to attend church with Mrs. SYA, or even attend mass. Mrs. SYA tried to get him to read the Bible and to believe, but he refuses. This causes conflicts and great stress in her family. Mrs. SYA feels an evil presence in her home because of her husband’s disbelief. Now he has been admitted into the hospital. Please pray that God would redeem this situation, heal him, and give him faith.


  • Pray for UT students with a calling to NK missions– Pray for God to continue leading UT students like HPJ and her son who feel a strong calling to do NK missions. Many of their other family members and friends are opposed to Christianity. Please pray for them to begin their missions in their household through household worship and discipleship.

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 Comment

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

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