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.

Staff Notes: A Gift of Potential to North Korean Orphans

The following post was written by Crossing Borders volunteer staff: It seems that everywhere I turn lately, I'm running into reminders of our North Korean orphans. And it's usually in the unlikeliest of places. For example, a couple weeks ago I was reading Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel (which obviously has nothing to do with North Korea), and I came across this quote:

“There is a deep longing in the heart of every child to make a difference. They were hard-wired by God to want to do more than take up space…. That’s why tyrannical governments get so little out of their people. God didn’t create us to ignore our potential or abandon our dreams.”

Here I am, reading this book about parenting in hopes of finding some words of wisdom to help parent my two daughters, but the first thing that comes to my mind is each of the refugee children that Crossing Borders has supported over the years, and the individual dreams and potential that every North Korean orphan represents. In North Korea they would not have had a choice to pursue those dreams that God had planted in their hearts. They would be required to submit those dreams to the whims of a government that most certainly was not concerned with what was in their best interest.

But that is not the kind of God who created us. He created each of us, including every child that we serve, as individuals, with unique and purposeful longings and desires and dreams that are waiting to be fulfilled.

And then again, just this weekend, I attended a “Missional Moms” conference where it seemed God kept whispering to me, “Don’t forget about the orphans. Don’t forget about North Korea.”

One of the speakers, Shayne Moore, who wrote the book Global Soccer Mom after she was awakened from her own “suburbia stupor,” encouraged each one of us to go beyond our own small worlds and pursue the burdens that God has laid on our hearts. In her book she writes:

“I’m only one woman, who lives in one town, who goes to one church and who has one voice, but I have come to believe all our ones add up and together we can make a difference.”

At the end of her session, she told a beautiful story about meeting a little five-year old girl in Africa who had so much charisma and presence that she drew the attention of those around her simply by being who she was, and how this little African girl inspired her own fifth-grade daughter to come to the conclusion that “You’re never too small to make a difference.”

When I think about my own daughters, and when I think of each of the North Korean orphans in our Second Wave shelters, it reminds me that even they are not too small to make a difference. These are the children that will be the next generation that God is raising up, children that already say they want to grow up to be pastors and missionaries and teachers, and return to the country that their mothers and fathers fled, in hopes of bringing the good news of God’s love to a people that so desperately need to hear it. I suppose this is part of the mysterious way that God works, bringing salvation and hope, one individual, one soul at a time. To our Heavenly Father, each person matters. And no one, no child, is too small to be forgotten.


An Inside Look: Our Work with North Korean Refugees

Welcome to the new and improved Crossing Borders website and blog! We are an organization with the mission to share the compassion of Christ with North Korean refugees and their children in China.

It has been over 5 years since we’ve had a blog and for good reason: security.

There is a line we must walk as a missionary organization. We must share stories about the North Korean refugees we encounter and their plight.  Telling stories about the people we help can spread awareness about our mission but in so doing, we can run the risk of compromising the security of the very people we support. Since we’ve been on the mission field now for seven years, we feel like we have developed a firm grasp on what we can and cannot share and the precautions we must take in security.

We understand that we ask of our partner churches, donors and supports for an incredible amount of trust in participating in our work. In order for you to donate to us or even take time to read our emails, tweets and now, blog entries, you must first believe that we do in fact help North Korean refugees in Northeast China. You have to trust that we aren’t just pocketing your money and using it for ourselves.

There is a leap of faith that so many of you make when you write your checks and send them so faithfully to our PO Box.

We believe the trust factor is one reason why so many people don’t support us. If this is you, we hope this blog will help you change your mind.

Although we can never share the names of our refugees, tell you where they live or show their faces, we hope that this blog will give you the information necessary to trust that we are in fact on the difficult mission to restore the lives of North Korean refugees and their children.

We will share stories of our refugees and orphans, give you a behind-the-scenes look at our work, recommend and review books that might help you understand what we’re doing better, and share updates in the world of North Korean refugee work. We will try to pack as much information and news into our posts as possible. We warn you that some of our stories will be heartbreaking, dispiriting, depressing. But we guarantee that there will also be stories of light, joy and hope.

Through it all, we hope that you will be more engaged and motivated to help us share compassion and love to a people in need.