여성 제자훈련 사역
North Korean ministry doesn’t only happen in North Korea. Every year, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross the border of North Korea and enter the countries surrounding it. Many work in factories to earn money for the North Korean government, which typically keeps more than 90% of wages earned. Others in good standing with the North Korean government travel to China to visit family there. Some who are not in good standing with the North Korean government cross the border illegally, looking for any work which will enable them to earn money to send back to their families inside North Korea. Some of the North Koreans who leave North Korea each year are beginning epic journeys of thousands of miles across China and Southeast Asia, with the goal of reaching prisons mainly in Thailand, from whence they are conveyed to South Korea.
But by far the largest category of those crossing the border out of North Korea each year are North Korean women, who are sold to men in China as wives. Some go because they are kidnapped. Some know they will be sold but choose to go anyway, seeing it as the only way of helping their families. Most go because they are deceived, told by brokers that jobs await them in China.
Many organizations focus on helping these sex-trafficked North Korean women to escape to South Korea. But Voice of the Martyrs Korea does not support or participate with such projects. Instead, in partnership with underground Christians, we disciple these women and watch with amazement as God uses them to transform not only their Chinese husbands and children, but also China and even North Korea.
Ministry is never conducted in a vacuum. Whether it be the increasing pressure against NK ministry by the Chinese and Russian governments or the crack-down on NK workers in Russia as a result of international sanctions, North Korean ministry is vulnerable to current affairs. How strict officials are with North Koreans—and those reaching out to them—depends on the politics of the day. Purchasing sex-trafficked brides from North Korea, for example, is technically illegal, but Chinese officials will occasionally overlook this offense when the government’s focus is elsewhere.
Our partner brought this NK woman to see the doctor. Often NK sex-trafficked women are kept from receiving medical treatment as their husbands are afraid the doctors will report them to Chinese officials.
The most recent wave to come crashing down on the ministry has been the Coronavirus outbreak. In an unprecedented turn of events, North Korea closed its borders to China and actually turned away NK defectors which China was trying to return! Experts believe North Korea took this course of action because it knew it lacked the resources to deal with an outbreak. Owing to borders closing, the trickle of North Koreans out of the country has also decreased substantially. Furthermore, mandatory quarantines are imposed on travelers to and from China—and especially on those travelling to North East China (the area with the strongest concentration of North Koreans) owing to the large (more than 500) number of confirmed cases in the region.
Even in the midst of public panic, our partner is focused on continuing the ministry and even expanding it through response to the virus. This partner also works with several North Korean women who continue to share the gospel with other North Koreans they meet and distribute MP3 players with Faith Comes By Hearing’s North Korean dialect recording of the gospel. According to testimonies we’ve received, these MP3 players are truly a light during an otherwise dark time.
“If asked what the happiest moment of my life was,”
one such testimony confesses,
“I would say it is the time I am able to listen to the word of God through MP3. During this time, I don’t worry about anything; I don’t even feel tired.”
A North Korean woman practicing Christian creeds with one of our partners.
So far, most countries have responded to the Coronavirus by holding China at a distance; the Kingdom of God, however, is different. In cities with some of the highest confirmed cases of the virus, Christians are continuing to conduct ministry—and to the very people most susceptible (North Koreans), no less!