Crossing Borders' work was recently mentioned in FOX Files, as North Korean refugees in our care were interviewed on the news network. Today, we would like to share more about the life of this refugee. In Jesus' ministry, a man, whose daughter was close to death, approached Jesus with an urgent request for the Son of God to enter into his home and heal his ailing daughter. Jesus obliged and followed the man to his home. When they arrived it was too late. She was dead.
In a house full of mourning, Jesus entered with hope. He went to her room and raised her from the dead.
This account in Mark 5 is stunning on many levels. When someone said it was too late, Jesus responded, “Do not fear, only believe.”
We have seen the desperation and fear of so many North Korean refugees in Northeast China.
Crossing Borders staff once met with a family of four North Korean refugees who had only a few hours to flee from the North Korean police. In a rash decision, they decided it was best if the youngest, still in elementary school, was left behind in North Korea. They were afraid that she would slow the family down and that they would all be caught, sent to a prison camp and never emerge.
Our staff spoke with the family in a restaurant in Northeast China. It had been months since they had last seen their daughter and they couldn’t bring themselves to eat the enormous spread of food our staff had ordered for them.
Soon after, Crossing Borders decided to send for their daughter through a network of brokers and smugglers in North Korea. But her fate was uncertain. She could easily be caught by the police and sent to a prison camp where she would be held hostage. She could have been sold in China as a sex slave if caught by one of the many networks of smugglers who traffic North Korean refugees. She could get injured and die on her journey through the North Korean wilderness.
Through her journey, Crossing Borders held to the words of Jesus. “Do not fear, only believe.”
It took weeks of waiting but finally, the family was reunited. It was through moments of utter desperation that the family came to believe in the saving hope of Jesus. He was their only hope.
Once reunited, the family of four made another journey. This time, together, they trekked through China into Southeast Asia, where they were able to receive refugee status. From here, they travelled to South Korea and gained safe entrance. When the family arrived in Seoul they thought their journey of suffering had ended. But their youngest daughter, after the struggle and toil they had suffered to be together as a family, contracted H1N1 and died shortly after the completion of their journey.
Many say that North Korean refugees in China are rice Christians. Critics say they only act like Christians to receive aid. But at least for this family, this was not the case. In their utter devastation they turned to God and began rebuilding their lives.
Together, with Crossing Borders, they leaned on the words of Jesus.“Do not fear, only believe.”
As we go about our week, let us remember that God is near to the broken hearted. He meets those in desperate need. He has sustained Crossing Borders for 10 years with little trouble from the Chinese authorities, we believe, to minister to the North Korean refugees in fear. We hope that with your help, we can continue to work to share the words of Christ with them. "Do not fear, only believe."