Prayer for North Korean Refugees: Unyielding Stone

You would never be able to guess that “Kyung”, a North Korean refugee in our care, escaped a life of abuse and and suffering from her husband, who owned her as property. She has a dignity about her that transcends her recent past. You would also be unable to tell that her husband’s teenage son raped her repeatedly when her husband was away or that her husband’s family would beat her if she didn’t cook food the way they liked. North Korean refugees, though resilient, are hard to read. They have been trained by their government to keep their thoughts, feelings and emotions inside. If a North Korean shows any of their feelings, they might die.

We helped Kyung for over two years and for most of those two years she would say to us, “North Korea has the best government, they just need food.”

Our missionaries were baffled by her unyielding insistence that the North Korean government, with its crumbling infrastructure, famines, and oppression of both its own citizens and North Korean refugees, was the best.

Despite her convictions, we would frequently visit Kyung. We would sing with her. We would try to meet her where she was. Kyung's beliefs, we found, were unchanging as if engraved in stone. To her, the North Korean government was an immovable ideal. Her demeanor was impenetrable, her personal thoughts and feelings always shielded impassively even to our skilled missionaries.

It was in a meeting after two years of spending time with Kyung that the subject of government arose in a conversation between two visitors and a missionary who came to see Kyung. Having no knowledge of the thoughts Kyung had shared for so long, one of the visitors asked Kyung for her opinion of North Korea's leadership. All she said was, “North Korea just needs God.” She has held to this new belief since.

Progress in ministering to North Korean refugees is often measured in teaspoons. Bringing change to hardened hearts that have endured much suffering, lies, and pain is a slow process. Nonetheless, Crossing Borders is confident that through the slow work of caring for and loving North Korean refugees, there is change. This is not to speak of our own ability and skill. It is a testament to God's love and unyielding pursuit.

As Ezekiel 36:26 writes,

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

Please pray for us this week as we minister with the compassion of Christ to North Korean refugees who struggle to hold their burdens in hardened hearts. Please pray that God would wash away the lies and the struggle they have endured, allowing them to receive His love.

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.

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

In the middle of the night the Chinese Police barged into a room where our missionaries were meeting with two North Korean refugees. There was a Bible open in front of them and it was clear what was going on. This was the first time anything like this had ever happened to Crossing Borders workers. Our missionary couple was taken aback. The wife was sitting with the North Korean refugee women. When the police came in the husband was off in a corner of the room, watching television. Immediately the wife whispered in English, “Don’t turn around.”

He stayed still while the TV blared on.

For a reason unknown to us, Chinese authorities punish male missionaries more harshly than female missionaries. The government punishes couples with even more cruelty.

When I think of this story I am reminded of Acts 12, when Peter was imprisoned and the church began to pray.

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” – Acts 12:5

As the church prayed, Peter was met by an angel, was escorted out of prison and showed up at the prayer meeting. So unbelievable was this that when a woman announced that Peter - the subject of their prayers - had arrived at their doorstep, nobody in attendance believed her.

As the police questioned our female missionary and the two refugees, they looked around the room. They did not see her husband watching television, who sat in plain sight. They told the women to go home and left without a huff.

That month Crossing Borders was the prayer focus of one of our closest partner churches. We didn’t know it but this church was busy praying for us.

We believe, as an organization, that prayer is an integral component to our work. Prayers fuel the effectiveness of our ministry toward North Korean refugees and protect us as we do this dangerous work.

We ask that you, the Church, would continue to pray for us knowing that it is our sovereign God who moves the hearts of refugees and eyes of policemen.