5 Things You Can Do: Change the North Korean Refugee Crisis

"Min-sook," a North Korean refugee in the care of Crossing Borders in China, had three children in North Korea during the Great North Korean Famine. She watched as two died of starvation. She vowed to keep her third child alive at all costs. But her child, a little girl, was not doing well. As Min-sook held her frail child in her arms, her daughter said, “Mother, I want at least one bowl of white rice before I die.”

“Yes, I will sell my shirt at the market and buy you a bowl of rice,” Min-sook promised in reply. Her daughter smiled, touched the button of Min-sook’s shirt and breathed her last breath.

Though her daughter had passed away more than ten years ago, Min-sook was shaken as she recounted this story to Crossing Borders staff in China last month. After her children died, Min-sook fled to China where she was captured by traffickers and sold to a poor farmer. She was worked so hard that she permanently injured her back.

She cannot stand up straight today.

Yesterday the UN released a report about human rights violations committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea), which confirm what Crossing Borders and groups like us have been saying for more than a decade: North Korea has been engaged in horrific practices such as placing its own citizens in harsh labor camps and using food as a method of controlling its population.

As the world fixes its gaze on North Korea and North Korean refugees escaping from its government – which the UN report compares to Nazi Germany – we hope the world’s citizens ask themselves, “What can I do to create change for people fleeing from this regime?”

Here are five things you can do:

  1. Read as much about the situation as possible and keep your eyes out for news coming out of the country. North Korea is becoming a topic of great interest to the world. The more informed you are about citizens in North Korean and North Korean refugees fleeing, the more you will be inclined to help and keep helping. You can get news alerts from Google whenever North Korea is in the news.
  2. Tell as many people as you can about what has been confirmed by the UN and regarding the North Korean refugee crisis. The conditions in North Korea are horrific and the government is not helping its own people. Nazi Germany is one point of comparison. Today many people who lived through World War II regret not acting on an injustice that was evident in hindsight. You can help spread the word about these injustices through social media or by arranging a meeting at your church or community group. Send Crossing Borders a message and we'll do our best to come out to your meeting!
  3. Call your elected officials to pass effective legislation to help North Koreans and to put pressure on China to help North Korean refugees. These refugees are systematically hunted down by the Chinese government and forcibly sent back to North Korea where they are tortured and even executed. Here's a website with phone numbers of your congress people, if you're from the US.
  4. Give to groups like Crossing Borders who help alleviate the suffering of North Korean refugees who have made it out of their country. These people are hungry, impoverished and in need. Here's a link to our donation page.
  5. Pray for North Korea. We believe the only way to change the conditions for the North Korean people is for God to move. We are not sure why these things are happening but the Bible is clear that sometimes, terrible things happen so that His glory can be revealed. You can also subscribe to our Facebook and Twitter pages for regular prayer topics.

We believe that now is the time to act on the atrocities that have been occurring in North Korea and against North Korean refugees for decades. We are outraged by the reports coming out of North Korea and China and we hope that the world will be too. The suffering has gone on, unquestioned, for too long.

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: Unsung Heroes (Part II)

It seems at times presumptuous to ask North Korean refugees to cast their significant burdens to Jesus when many of us live in safe, comfortable homes far from their everyday struggle. What right do we have to tell them how to live when we cannot fathom the pain and suffering they have and continue to experience? Similarly, how can our American staff challenge local staff members in China to live out their calling to the gospel from our ivory towers in the Western world? Can we call these individuals, who are already heroes in our eyes, to continue to give more of themselves to serve God? Do we have any moral ground to stand on?

Crossing Borders' leaders have been discussing this question as the organization looks to its ongoing and future efforts. Sacrifice is intrinsic in the work that Crossing Borders does. We have to ask people to give. We have to ask people to take some very dangerous risks.

However, after much consideration of these factors, we have concluded that the staff of Crossing Borders does have the right to continue to call others to both submission before Christ and sacrifice to God.

This is why:

Looking to our staff in the US, we realize as an organization that many have made some incredible sacrifices in their lives to follow their gospel call.

This past weekend a couple on staff brought home a beautiful 16-month-old boy from South Korea. They didn’t do this to fill a selfish need but because they felt called by God’s Word to do so. They are the second couple on our staff to adopt.

Last year a staff member took an unpaid leave from his job in IT to help out with our project in China. He didn’t know if he would be able to keep his job but he did it anyway to further our ministry potential.

A few years back, when Crossing Borders was running a deficit, two of our directors took out loans to cover our expenses for the year, not knowing if they would ever be paid back. Both directors had families and children to care for.

We see an incredible amount of sacrifice from our volunteers and staff in the US. They have full-time jobs. They all are active members of their churches. They have people in their own lives they must support and uphold. Yet they still sacrifice on behalf of our mission. They give their time and finances to the will of God and His given conviction to serve North Korean refugees and their children.

What right do we have to ask North Korean refugees and our Chinese staff workers to follow God’s call? It’s because we have so many here in the comfort of the most prosperous country in the world who still demonstrate what it means to give their lives to the Lord in service of His kingdom. We will not be an organization that does not lead by example, and we will continue to pray that as we call others to submission to Christ, our hearts and lives will be examples of submission.

I believe that it is this heart of sacrifice to God that has carried our ministry for the past 10 years. In the next 10 years, we believe we will be called to give even more to the Lord.

Please pray for Crossing Borders - for our staff and leaders in the United States who offer their lives to the Lord, for hearts of sacrifice. We also pray for humility in our work for Christ. We hope that this message to you will not be read as a post of worldly boasting, but as a declaration of our joy and pride as we see so many volunteers and staff a part of our work dedicated to glorifying God in their lives and in the lives of North Korean refugees.