Crossing Borders

A new way to help North Korean refugees

The fate of thousands of North Korean refugees rests on our ability to expose new people to our work. The more people know about what we do, the more people will act on behalf of North Korean refugees in China. And when more and more people act, the more and more North Korean refugees and their children we can help in Northeast China. Our goals for the rest of the year are simple.Think 20/30/40. We want to:

Visit 20 churches. Get 30 people from each of these churches to donate $40 per month.

Already we have scheduled several church visits to get the word out about the plight of the North Korean refugee in China. When the information gets out, we are confident that the ripple effects will be immense.

Each dollar will:

Improve quality of life through poverty alleviation, education and micro-loans

Foster spiritual healing through community building and Biblical counseling

Win freedom along the Modern Day Underground Railroad

We’ve seen the powerful effects when churches and communities engage in our work. Not only is it a blessing to the people we help, it’s a blessing to them.

If you are interested in inviting a Crossing Borders representative to your church, fellowship or community group, please email us at contact@crossingbordersnk.org.

North Korean Refugees' Instilled Reverence

A few years ago, we met a North Korean refugee whose house caught fire while home with his family in North Korea. He was able to save his wife and daughter, he said. But after the fire was extinguished he was arrested and imprisoned. Every North Korean household is given a picture of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Each citizen must hang these pictures in a prominent place in their home and make sure they are dusted and straightened regularly. These photos are of utmost importance in the lives of North Koreans.

This man was arrested because he went into his home to save his wife and daughter, not the pictures. He was recently released from several years in prison and escaped to China as a North Korean refugee.

People often ask us how the North Korean regime is able to retain power. A western government that instilled such draconian measures, they say, would surely incite a revolt. But the North Korean regime holds power because it instills an unshakeable fear in the hearts and minds of its citizens. But times are changing and the vice grip the regime once had on the hearts and minds of its people is eroding.

North Korea's control on the minds of its citizens is an issue we have to deal with for many of the North Korean refugees we've met, especially when we started working with them in 2003. North Korean refugees would cower in fear when we would first meet them. They were taught that Americans are baby-eating monsters.

But things are changing. As information is creeping into North Korea from the outside world, the regime is losing its “reverence capital.” The result of this isn’t a callousness to authority and power, but quite the opposite, the people of North Korea have been left with a deep longing to honor a higher authority.

North Korean refugees are coming to China savvy of the situation they are in. They know about their government. They know about the prosperity of the outside world. But with this knowledge they are also seeking something else essential to their lives.

Melanie Kirkpatrick’s book, “Escape From North Korea” describes the conversion rates of North Korean refugees. Many people insist that North Koreans are converting in China because they are “rice Christians.” Meaning, they convert to receive aid. If this was true, we would not be seeing the robust Christian population of North Korean defectors in South Korea, most of whom claim that they converted in China, according to Kirkpatrick.

Crossing Borders believes the only thing that can satisfy the longing in a person's heart is God. We do not force this belief on anyone but many do come to believe what we do.

A version of this piece was originally posted in 2013. 

A Prayer Campaign for North Korean Refugees and Orphans

Sex trafficking. Abuse. Hopelessness. Abandonment. The struggles of North Korean refugees and orphans are well documented on this blog. When we share this information with people who hear it for the first time, the reaction is almost always shock and horror. This year, we want to equip people to do something about these modern-day atrocities. You will be seeing more ways you can actively participate in the health and well-being of North Korean refugees in China on our website and communications this year.

The first thing we want to do is equip you to pray for North Korean refugees in our new program, #Pray40NK, which will coincide with Lent.

The reason why we are calling people to pray is because we believe it is the most practical way that people can get involved. We believe in an all-powerful God who can change any situation according to His will. Prayer is the most effective and powerful first step to substantive change.

In our prayer guide, you will find a daily prayer item coupled with a Bible verse to meditate on. It is our hope that this will bring powerful change in the lives of many and also to bless you in your life.

Many of us on staff have been a part of this ministry for over a decade. We can all say that we have received exponentially more than we have given. We hope you will experience the same measure of blessing as you pray.

You can download the guide here. You can also follow us on Instagram (@crossingbordersnk) for daily reminders. Thank you!