We have been helping “Bo-ah”, a North Korean Refugee in our Restore Life program for over five years. Late last year we sent her off on the Underground Railroad. As tensions have escalated on the Korean Peninsula, the Underground Railroad continues to quietly bring thousands of North Korean refugees to freedom each year. It is an extremely dangerous journey because, if refugees are caught, they will be sent back to a North Korean gulag to be tortured and possibly executed.
Bo-ah has vivid memories of her home in North Korea. She used to go to the mountains early in the morning with her father to chop down trees to heat their home, which was outlawed. Her teenage years were spent picking mushrooms to make money. She was constantly hungry and would often bring a cup of milk for lunch.
When Bo-ah decided to leave North Korea it was a hard decision because she knew she would be leaving her family behind. She still worries for her family.
“I wish I will be able to make some more money and send it to my family so that they can move to a better house,” she said. “I would buy them a farm in a flat area so they could get enough food for a whole year. But I don’t even know how to contact them.”
We got her a job in Northeast China, though North Korean refugees are not allowed to work in China. Her dream is to open a successful restaurant. She was paid a small wage at first but soon her paychecks became smaller, with more and more time between payments until they stopped altogether.
Eventually Bo-ah decided to leave Northeast China through the Underground Railroad through a partner organization*.
Bo-ah set off months ago and we have not heard from her. The last message we received from our partner was late last year. They told us that she successfully made it past the most difficult leg of the journey.
Please pray this week for North Korean refugees who make this difficult journey through China to Southeast Asia and eventually to South Korea or another free country. Pray that they would be invisible to the authorities and visible to those who are willing to help them. Please also pray for Bo-ah, who could be anywhere along this path. We will keep you posted about her progress.
* Crossing Borders does not help refugees navigate the Underground Railroad because our focus is to provide help for them in China.