Cake: A Doorway to a North Korean Orphan's Heart

"Chun Joo" is one of the North Korean orphans in Crossing Borders' Second Wave group homes. It was Chun Joo's birthday when our team visited her orphanage. They went to an American restaurant with her, which served chicken sandwiches and French fries, the closest  to Western food our staff had eaten in over a week. Chun Joo received some small gifts and a paper crown on her head. When the candles on her gaudy cake were lit, she began to cry. Chun Joo could have been crying because she remembered the home she came from. The house she lived in prior to being brought into our Second Wave network was described by Crossing Borders’ missionaries as a “pig sty” with “no space to walk.”

It could have been because she remembered, in this moment, witnessing her father abusing her North Korean mother repeatedly until she "looked like a panda bear." She may have been crying in part because her mother left her behind to flee from her father. Following her mother's departure, Chun Joo's father began to abuse his daughter as well.

Worried for her, wanting to comfort her, our staff asked Chun Joo why she was upset. Chun Joo simply replied that it was because she was happy.

Crossing Borders' team spent a week with Chun Joo and North Korean orphans like her in Northeast China teaching them English and about the gospel. She was very shy at first but with much effort and the work of God, she opened up and began sharing with our teachers. She participated in the activities. She even prayed with our staff.

Our team knew Chun Joos' story going into the camp before they even met her. She had experienced a very harsh and difficult life as a North Korean orphan in China. Her report, however, read, “... she has totally transformed from when we first met her. Where she was shy and sad, she now always has a smile on her face.”

In a few years this fragile little girl has gone from being frightened, nervous and hesitant to being a joyful, gentle young woman. When our summer team played games with her she would always be the first to laugh at her own mistakes. She formed close bonds wit h our volunteers.

The only thing that our team knew for sure as she sat silently crying was what she told us: that she was happy.

We pray that our North Korean orphans' happiness would not be based solely on exterior circumstances but because Jesus loves them and wants to share his compassion for them.

North Korean Orphans: Sex and Half-North Korean Teens

China’s population of half-North Korean, half Chinese youths are beginning to reach adolescence, which means the introduction of adolescent problems. This is something we have seen in our group homes for North Korean orphans. Last year, a boy in one of our orphanages was caught downloading pornographic materials. His caretakers did not know what to do. In China, sex is a taboo subject. In our children’s schools there are no sex education courses and parents rarely speak to their children about the birds and the bees.

In that same orphanage, two of our girls began menstruating.

In response to this, our missionaries decided to hold a seminar about sex in a biblical context. Here is an excerpt from their report:

"We also talked about an amazing Chinese character –性 (xing) means sex, it has two words together, the first part 心 means ‘mind’, and 生 means body. So, true sex means body and soul, it matches what the Bible says.

The most important thing is that the children are committed to keep their bodies and hearts pure for the true love in God’s time for them. Children believe that God has a beautiful plan that is ordered and designed in a way to bring God glory and also will bless them."

This week, please pray for these North Korean orphans who are entering into adolescence without a family to support them. Their mothers have either abandoned them or have been sent back to North Korea by the Chinese police. Their fathers live in abject poverty and there are no people to raise them except for outsiders like Crossing Borders. Please also pray for our caregivers who do their best to address the problems of each of our children in a loving and biblical way.

North Korean Refugees and Orphans: We Need People

After Jim and Mary’s youngest child graduated from college they knew it was time to make good on a commitment they had made long ago. It had been a dream of theirs to help North Koreans refugees and orphans. But they only had one problem: they didn’t know how. By luck or providence (maybe a little bit of both), their eldest daughter married a director of Crossing Borders and the rest has been history.

Jim and Mary’s commitment to North Korean refugees and orphans we have helped has been unmatched. We have often times gotten into heated debates trying to convince them not to use all of their monthly salary to help our refugees. We have never seen a couple so fit to run our field operations. They are compassionate and they are tough. They know when to hold their tongues and they know when not to.

You probably hear all too often from groups like us that we need money. And we do. We also need prayer (hence this blog) for North Korean refugees and orphans. But one of the most understated, underestimated need that we have is people.

God doesn’t work through money alone. He doesn’t work through prayer alone. God works powerfully through people, imperfect and fallible vehicles of His grace.

As we have shared our plans to expand the scope and depth of our care, the only way this will happen is through people who are willing to serve North Korean refugees and orphans. Here’s what we are looking for:

- A minimum of five years of ministry experience, lay or pastoral at an evangelical, Bible-believing church - A proven track record of integrity and excellence in their personal life and interpersonal dealings - A minimum of seven years of professional experience in which you have tangible examples of excellence - Membership and good standing with an evangelical, Bible-believing church - Fluent in Korean - Ability to communicate in English - Asian by appearance. Ability to blend into the Chinese population

We are willing to bend on some of these qualifications (except the last three). However, above of all of the aforementioned necessities, we are looking for workers who are willing to love North Korean refugees and orphans, as well as the Chinese people. We are looking for individuals who are willing to listen first and speak last.

If you can’t pick up and move to China or do not know someone who may be able to, please join us in prayer as we try to change lives and a region through the people God provides.