For the past few months, Crossing Borders has been continuing its search for missionaries to serve North Korean refugees in China. As we continue to interview and speak to individuals, there is one quality in a missionary that we have realized is hard to identify, but is absolutely essential to our work: Discernment. Crossing Borders has a policy to be cautious in approaching anyone about our work when working China. We realize that in some aspects, we are a foreign organization with some resources, but mostly a passion to do good. In an ideal world this would be all you need. But this world is not an ideal one, and the fact is that China possesses is a radically different from what we are familiar with.
One of our American staff members once noted, "Whenever I go to China I feel like I’m stepping into the Cantina in Star Wars, Episode IV. There is a different rhythm, a different culture."
Perhaps China quite as foreign to us as Tatooine, but reality is that one can get lost in the confusing backdrop of China, if not careful.
These are some basic questions we have to ask our missionaries on the field, and one which we hope any new field workers in our organization will be able to answer when meeting new North Korean refugees:
- How do we know the North Korean refugees who have approached us for help are really North Korean refugees?
- How do we know if the North Korean orphans we help are really in need?
These are questions that we analyze constantly and, to be honest, it’s an inexact science.
But what Crossing Borders will continue to do is ask questions relentlessly. Where do our North Korean refugees come from? Who do our refugees and our workers know? What was their experience crossing the border? How did North Korean refugees come to hear about us? Can we trust those who refer them to us? Do their stories hold up?
Please help us to continually approach our work with much caution and God's provision of wisdom. Constantly being on guard can be a necessary but exhausting process for our workers and staff. A lack of discernment can severely affect the safety we have built in our network.
Please pray for those on the front line who, through God's aid in discernment, make our mission to reach North Korean refugees possible.