North Korean Orphans: An Impossible Question

We recently held our second annual English Camp for the North Korean orphans in our Second Wave ministry. The children in this ministry are born into forced marriages with Chinese men who purchased North Korean women, the children's mothers, as brides. The camp lasted a four days and a number of our children were able to attend. In this time we had the opportunity to teach them English and provide spiritual counseling. Most of the North Korean orphans in Second Wave have lost their mothers, who escaped to South Korea, were captured by the Chinese police to be sent back to a North Korean prison camp, or have run away from their repressive marriages.

One of the North Koreans, “Yung” attended camp. Yung was abandoned by her mother when she was three-years-old. Her mother left her on the day Yung had open-heart surgery, which was about six years ago.

During camp, one of our counselors was able to form a very close bond with Yung. Towards the end of the camp, Yung asked the counselor, “Can you be my new mom?”

The best way to describe Yung is spunky. She has a personality that compensates for her diminutive height. When we took her measurements, she fell well below the average 5th percentile for height and weight in her age group.

Yung lives with her father in rural Northeast China. We make frequent visits to her home, which out missionaries have described as a pigpen. In a recent visit in January, dirty dishes were strewn on their small living space and Yung was covered in ash from a poorly maintained, coal-burning heating system. She had a heavy cough.

She is loved and cared for by her father but her desire for her mother is obvious.

We teach our counselors to answer our children honestly, especially when they ask for the impossible, like Yung did this year. Our counselor answered, “I can’t be your mother but I want to see you again.”

Yung began making appointments immediately.

One of the purposes of our camp is to teach our North Korean orphans a language that can be very useful to them; it is also for the purpose of bringing the healing hope of the gospel to these children. We try to remind them that they are not forgotten but that there is a God who loves them and cares about them.

To sponsor a child like Yung, please visit our Child Sponsorship page.

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: 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