Staff Notes: Crossing Borders Work, Contentedness

The following post was written by Crossing Borders staff: My wife and I have recently been looking at houses to buy. It’s a good time to buy, they say. Especially because we just gave birth to a newborn boy, our second child.

He’s a month old and his things are piling up around our small, two-bedroom apartment. Diapers, clothes, a crib, creams, bags.

As I searched online for a home, I said to myself, “If only I was making $__ more, then we could afford the home we need.”

And then last week a rare moment of clarity came over me. "Need? What does one really need?"

When a North Korean refugee comes to Crossing Borders and expresses thankfulness to us about all that we have done for him, I remember what I truly need.

Crossing Borders furnishes our refugees with what we consider basic necessities. Food, a small apartment, a television. And with these things, some come to us gushing with thanksgiving. Many refugees who have been in our care say that they want to go back into North Korea with the blessings they have received through Crossing Borders in China and share the Christ's compassion with others.

I remember a boy in one of our orphanages who used to look through every garbage can he could find. With just a little food, a meager place to live and a good education, we have seen his life transform. He now wants to become a pastor to train and teach in the gospel.

In order to help others, we at Crossing Borders must first realize how blessed we are. Looking through those real estate sites on my Macbook Pro with my speedy internet connection, somehow I forgot what it meant to be content.

I recently listened to a sermon by Tim Keller. He was talking about his wife, who was unsure of whether to move her family from Virginia to New York City in the difficult transition of building a church there. She was looking at a communion table and heard the voice of God saying:

“If I’ve done this for you, then it should be okay for me to ask you to spend the rest of your life living in a cardboard box in the streets of Calcutta.”

After that she agreed to move to New York City and God blessed the world through her and her husband’s ministry.

I am not saying that poverty is equal to godliness. Nor am I saying that being rich is bad. All I am saying is that the desire for more could hinder us from seeing what we have and from helping those in need.

As we pray this week I ask that we would all ask God to give Crossing Borders and those who share our vision the desire to “seek first his kingdom” and not “all these things.”

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: Unsung Heroes (Part II)

It seems at times presumptuous to ask North Korean refugees to cast their significant burdens to Jesus when many of us live in safe, comfortable homes far from their everyday struggle. What right do we have to tell them how to live when we cannot fathom the pain and suffering they have and continue to experience? Similarly, how can our American staff challenge local staff members in China to live out their calling to the gospel from our ivory towers in the Western world? Can we call these individuals, who are already heroes in our eyes, to continue to give more of themselves to serve God? Do we have any moral ground to stand on?

Crossing Borders' leaders have been discussing this question as the organization looks to its ongoing and future efforts. Sacrifice is intrinsic in the work that Crossing Borders does. We have to ask people to give. We have to ask people to take some very dangerous risks.

However, after much consideration of these factors, we have concluded that the staff of Crossing Borders does have the right to continue to call others to both submission before Christ and sacrifice to God.

This is why:

Looking to our staff in the US, we realize as an organization that many have made some incredible sacrifices in their lives to follow their gospel call.

This past weekend a couple on staff brought home a beautiful 16-month-old boy from South Korea. They didn’t do this to fill a selfish need but because they felt called by God’s Word to do so. They are the second couple on our staff to adopt.

Last year a staff member took an unpaid leave from his job in IT to help out with our project in China. He didn’t know if he would be able to keep his job but he did it anyway to further our ministry potential.

A few years back, when Crossing Borders was running a deficit, two of our directors took out loans to cover our expenses for the year, not knowing if they would ever be paid back. Both directors had families and children to care for.

We see an incredible amount of sacrifice from our volunteers and staff in the US. They have full-time jobs. They all are active members of their churches. They have people in their own lives they must support and uphold. Yet they still sacrifice on behalf of our mission. They give their time and finances to the will of God and His given conviction to serve North Korean refugees and their children.

What right do we have to ask North Korean refugees and our Chinese staff workers to follow God’s call? It’s because we have so many here in the comfort of the most prosperous country in the world who still demonstrate what it means to give their lives to the Lord in service of His kingdom. We will not be an organization that does not lead by example, and we will continue to pray that as we call others to submission to Christ, our hearts and lives will be examples of submission.

I believe that it is this heart of sacrifice to God that has carried our ministry for the past 10 years. In the next 10 years, we believe we will be called to give even more to the Lord.

Please pray for Crossing Borders - for our staff and leaders in the United States who offer their lives to the Lord, for hearts of sacrifice. We also pray for humility in our work for Christ. We hope that this message to you will not be read as a post of worldly boasting, but as a declaration of our joy and pride as we see so many volunteers and staff a part of our work dedicated to glorifying God in their lives and in the lives of North Korean refugees.