Next Steps: Planning for the future

Crossing Borders started Second Wave in September of 2004 to address the needs of children who were born to North Korean mothers and abandoned by them. This was in the wake of the Great North Korean Famine, which claimed millions of lives in North Korea and caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to spill over into China. When we started Second Wave, the average age of our children was about 5. This year the average age of the children in Second Wave entered into its teens at 13. Over the years our goal has always been to show the compassion of Christ to these children but this can take many forms. Is it enough to house them, feed them, educate them, and love them or do we need to do more?

As we look into the, now, very near future, we have set some priorities for our organization and our children. The skill we are focused on teaching these children is goal setting. We will know that we are achieving this organizational priority when more of the children in our network have clear career paths with short and mid term milestones to attain them.

This summer a team from the US traveled to Northeast China to address the spiritual and emotional needs of our children in a summer camp program, which lasted about a week. At this camp we had our first ever career seminar.

We had each of our children list their interests and talents and we had them map these on a matrix. From this matrix we were able to tell our children what types of jobs they were best suited for. Our intention was not to lock them into a specific career path but rather to get them thinking about what they might want to do when they finish their education.

We also had a seminar on how to set long term goals and then set short term goals on how to reach these long term goals. This winter we will host another seminar for these children where they will set a long term career goal for themselves and set smaller milestones on how to reach these goals. But, we are not under the delusion that this is our most important task. Most of us are parents and we know better.

Parenting is a grind. It is a selfless task that bears fruit -- good or bad -- decades later. As we raise these children, it is not our ultimate goal to have all of the children in our network employed by a certain date. It is also not our goal to only love them and nurture them for now. Raising children is challenging because parents have to think of both now and decades later.

What good is preparing someone for a good job if they lack character? How empty is a life filled with money and security if it lacks love?

Each day we carry our work forward with this in mind, asking God for grace for the things we might overlook.

Field Update: 8 North Korean Orphans

Recently, Crossing Borders took in eight new North Korean orphans into our Second Wave ministry, bringing the total number of children we help to 62. Through Second Wave, we help children of North Korean refugee women who have been sold as forced brides to Chinese men. The population of North Korean orphans is in the tens of thousands, according to experts.

Many of the children born into these forced marriages are separated from their mothers, making them orphans, according to the United Nations, who defines children who are missing one or both of their parents as orphans. Most of their mothers were captured by the Chinese police, sent back to North Korea, placed in concentration camps and never heard from again.

“Jung” is a 13-year-old boy we have recently taken in. He is the son of a North Korean refugee woman who had been sold to his father. His mother was captured by the Chinese police and sent back to North Korea when he was young. His father works far away in another region in China. Jung’s elderly grandmother is the only one able to take care of him but she is so old that she needs help with basic chores around their home. A neighborhood man comes to their home daily and helps.

Jung is autistic. He attends a school in the region for special needs children. He plays well by himself and has a keen interest in electronics and computers. He does not engage in conversations with other people but understands what is said when he is spoken to and can read out loud.

Jung was taken to church and his church laid hands on him to pray for him. He didn’t like this but over time he began to warm to the people there. Recently, he put his hand on a hymn and began to cry. Since that day, he enjoys being prayed for.

To find out how you can help children like Jung, go to our Child Sponsorship page.

Over the past two years, Crossing Borders has been able to nearly double the number of North Korean orphans we help because of the success of our Child Sponsorship program.

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: China's Human Trafficking

China was recently downgraded to the lowest rating by the Trafficking in Persons Office at the US State Department. This came as no surprise to us as we have been dealing with the human rights implications of China’s draconian policies toward North Korean refugees for over a decade. China was designated by the State Department as tier three, which is the lowest designation, putting the country in the same class as North Korea, Russia and Uzbekistan, among others.

Just as the State Department was releasing this report this year, we took in another North Korean orphan whose life has been affected by these policies.

“Meerae” was born to a Chinese father and a North Korean refugee mother. At the age of seven she witnessed her mother being hauled away by the Chinese police.

“I saw how my mom was captured in hand cuffs and was dragged away with the police,” Meerae said to our missionary. “I couldn’t say anything, couldn’t ask anything. My heart was hurting.”

Imagine being a child at the age of seven, witnessing your mother being hauled off by the police for a crime you couldn’t possibly understand at that age. This is the reality for not only Meerae but for tens of thousands of children with North Korean refugee mothers who have been born into this terrible situation.

China’s zero tolerance policy towards North Korean refugees has fed their sex trade industry. North Koreans are given no rights in China and because of this, they are prime targets for Chinese human trafficking rings.

Countries like China who share Tier 3 designation in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report do little to nothing change laws prohibiting human trafficking within their borders. Remember that China is the world’s largest country, home to 1.3 billion people. These are individuals who remain unprotected from human trafficking laws.

“... there are countless voiceless people, countless nameless people except to their families or perhaps a phony name by which they are being exploited, who look to us for their freedom and for the possibility of life itself,” Secretary of State, John Kerry said in a response to the Trafficking in Persons report this year.

As of last week, Meerae has been taken into the care of our ministry through our Second Wave program. She no longer has to worry where she will find her next meal or if she will be able to continue her education. But she still worries for her mother who she probably will never see again.

Please pray for Meerae. Please pray for the thousands of children like her. Please pray for the North Korean refugee women who are crushed under China’s policies. Please pray that God would move this nation to do what is just.