North Korea seems to be an endless story of misery, power struggles and people being taken captive and forced to do things against their will. However, when listening to the whispering voices of North Korean Christians, one cannot help but discover hearts filled with faith, hope and love.
“You know, following the Lord is like carrying a white jade,” a secret church leader tells Open Doors. “It does not lose its luster even when it is broken. Following Him means walking on a path of faith in good and bad times. We must not have any doubts and must be willing to stay close behind our Lord at all times, wherever He may lead us. That is the hope and future of our church, and we cannot make any compromises. We will make sure our church becomes hard as a rock by staying strong in our faith in the worst of circumstances. I don’t know how to thank you enough for your love and prayers.”
Another Christian recently thanked Open Doors with these words: “You have shown and sent us generous support to provide as much help as possible to our church and our believers. We can meditate on His words, praise and pray endlessly, as our Lord is always at the deepest part of our hearts in times of joy and in times of sorrow. And as Christians, our hearts beat with boundless joy and pride.”
How can these Christians be so grateful when they have barely enough to survive? Their gratitude comes from the ways that God has proven to be Jehovah Jireh, the Provider in their lives. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ gave them eternal life and hope for the future. The sacrifices of brothers and sisters around the world tell them they are not alone. The underground Christians are very aware of the fact that many foreign followers of Christ identify with them.
“All the believers in North Korea would like to thank you and the many brothers and sisters around the world for their prayers and support,” shared one underground Christian. “We believe that a brilliant future lies ahead of us. We will always remember your love for us, and carry it deep down in our hearts as we serve and follow only our Lord.”
In spite of their inner joy, North Korean Christians must remain realistic and cautious. The government is cracking down on illegal materials, forcing our brothers and sisters to dispose of the Bibles and other Christian literature that have been given to them. However, church leaders still report spiritual growth in the lives of the believers. One leader explains, “As believers, leaders and soldiers of Christ, we are able to commit ourselves in our honorable missions with the love and support which many foreign brothers and sisters have provided us with. We are very proud to be Christians and highly value and honor our faithful lives, and we are ever more enthusiastic in carrying out our ministry. We will never forget the dedication, unwavering support, and contribution towards the church in North Korea.”
God is not only at work within the borders of North Korea, but is also working powerfully among North Koreans in China. A local Chinese believer told us that he takes care of a North Korean toddler. He explains that the little girl was born to a North Korean defector mother and a Chinese father, “Her mother was arrested, and her father is an alcoholic. I was asked to take care of her, and so I agreed. The feelings of rejection and abandonment had left deep scars on the young child. She was very sensitive and could not get along with others. However, she is doing much better now and has begun to play with other children. It breaks my heart to see so many children in this situation; they should be raised by their loving parents. It is obvious to see what these children will be like when they grow up. I feel so ashamed to see so many churches and Christians sitting by and not doing anything. I am regretful that I cannot take care of more children due to my finances. I just wish that I could raise more children with love, faith and hope. “
Open Doors worker Sun-Hi (alias) travels to meet with North Korean refugees. Some confess they believe, but are unsure of what all that entails. Others tell her they came to faith earlier, but abandoned their beliefs because they could not continue to read the Bible and pray after they returned to North Korea. “I tried to encourage them when they came back to China, and taught them how to stay faithful, but it’s so difficult to train people when they have different levels of understanding,” shared Sun Hi. “Sometimes, I have to start all over again and explain things like creation and salvation. I also met some North Koreans hiding under a makeshift tent in the mountains. I could not really give them any education, but arranged that food was taken to them.”
One person who was trained by Sun-Hi wrote this thank you letter to God.
Dear almighty God,
Thank you for your grace for sending these teachers and giving us the wisdom and intelligence so that we can learn more about Your words.
And thank you again for protecting us and giving us abundant food every day. I pray that Your words and gracious hands can be reached to our brothers and sisters living in North Korea soon. Please help us to learn more about Your words so that we can preach them to our nation. I pray that Your Will be done in the land of North Korea in the near future. Please protect us from Satan’s attack and also remember our families back in North Korea.
I pray this in the name of the living Jesus Christ. Amen.
Lord, God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, sovereign over the nations, we lift before Your presence Your church in North Korea, whose voices of praise are suppressed in silence, but whose testimony shouts the victory of Christ who is establishing His Church in this land whose government stands in open rebellion to You. We stand amazed at the gratitude and hope of believers who experience earthly terror, yet have eyes opened to see Your presence. We pray for North Koreans in China; that You will protect them from danger and lead them to Christian homes where they will hear Your Word, and that You will turn their hearts toward You in saving faith. We pray for Your protection over Your Chinese servants as they minister gentle and grace-filled care over these beleaguered pilgrims. Provide the resources they need, and as they sow the seed of Your Word, we pray that You will grant a harvest of souls who enter into Your Sabbath-rest. In the name of Jesus, the lover of our souls, Amen.