Refugee Rescue

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: Restoration Song

North Korean Refugee Sings a Song She Wrote from Crossing Borders on Vimeo.

This is not a song one would think that a North Korean refugee would write. It is especially unexpected of a woman who has been trafficked and physically abused, a woman who has spent time in a North Korean prison camp. However, after two years in the care of Crossing Borders, having received the gospel and been ministered to by the faithful missionaries on the field, “Ok-seo,” one of the North Korean refugees a part of Restore Life program shared this personally written song with us. Ok-seo has found hope in Christ through the underground church in China.

Ok-seo was well to do in North Korea. She didn’t suffer during the Great North Korean Famine of the 1990s during which an estimated 3 million people starved to death. But when her husband took her 10-year-old son with him to be with another woman, her life took a turn for the worse.

She began selling copper taken from electrical wiring on North Korea’s sputtering electrical grid. This is a grave crime in North Korea and when caught, she was sent to prison. Ok-seo, however, said that she had been lucky. If she had be caught stealing wires going to or from the North Korean capitol of Pyongyang, she would have been executed.

When Ok-seo got out of prison, her friend who was also in the copper trade, told her that she could make $500 a month in China in a tailoring factory. But when she crossed the border she immediately realized that something was very wrong. Ok-seo had been tricked. She had stepped into the waiting hands of a human trafficking ring. Ok-seo begged her captors to sell her to someone without physical defects. Many North Korean refugee women are sold to Chinese men with disabilities. They honored her request and sold Ok-seo to a Chinese farmer who had an immense amount of debt.

Her husband and his family physically and verbally abused Ok-seo to the point where she would get severe migraines. Desperate, she turned to a neighbor, a fellow North Korean refugee who was also trafficked. This woman brought her to church.

Ok-seo said that shortly after she started attending church, her migraines went away.

Outwardly, Ok-seo's situation as a North Korean refugee has not changed. She is still struggling to find the means to survive with her family. However, her outlook on life has transformed. Ok-seo was recently given a journal from our missionaries and wrote the lyrics to the song she she shared after North Korean women in her village were sent back to North Korea. The tune is a of a traditional North Korean song.

In fear, Ok-seo has found hope. Please pray for her and the tens of thousands of North Korean refugees like her - that they would find restoration and strength in God.

*Note: Ok-seo is a part of our Refugee Rescue Fund where you can sponsor women like her in Restore Life and receive regular updates on them.

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: Harvest Workers

Crossing Borders has been fortunate to have a string of missionaries in China who have driven our work to new heights. Our current missionaries aiding the North Korean refugees and orphans in our care are fantastic people. Two years ago our staff member made a visit to our work in China and was able to spend quite a bit of time with our current missionaries. They noted on the trip, "They're twice my age but they were running circles around me as we moved from task to task. At one point I asked if we could slow down. They didn’t."

Our missionaries brought our staff to a remote farming village in Northeast China where there are many North Korean refugees in hiding. Refugee after refugee lined up to tell our missionaries their stories and their troubles. In response, each one was treated with kindness and compassion. With each North Korean refugee, our missionaries listened and ministered avidly, passionately. Tears flowed and prayers were shared.

After several years on the field, our missionaries continue to show remarkable care toward the individuals they have met time and time again, with each and every new North Korean refugee who enters our Refugee Rescue program. Missionaries in our line of work tend to get hardened and burnt out. These two got better with time.

But now their commitment is up and they are looking to move on. Though we fully support this decision, we are at a loss as to how we are going to find people to fill their shoes.

We remain hopeful and see this as an opportunity, not a setback. We pray in eager expectation to see what God has in store for us. We pray that this will make our organization grow, not shutter.

For this we ask you to join with us in prayer. This is a specific need that we need met and before we get into specifics about what we are looking for, we really want to spend time in prayer about it.

Please join with us as we pray asking God to send workers to His harvest field of North Korean refugees in China.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

- Matthew 9:36-38