English Opens Doors for North Koreans

December 7 2017

Most of us have never had to flee starvation and oppression in our homeland. Currently, South Korea hosts about 30,000 defectors who have escaped North Korea in the last 20 years or so since the famine of the 1990s. Most of them had never heard of Christ while in North Korea, but during the process of passing through China and other countries, many have now heard the Gospel. Some have become Christians and even have been trained as pastors to reach out to their own people, as well as to those around the world.

Adventures in English for a United Korea (AIE4UK) started with a vision to help pastors and young people who came from North Korea to be able to communicate with the church around the world. It also helps prepare people domestically and internationally for unification, raises up workers who can fill the basic need for English education, and helps Christians from North Korea share their testimonies and the Gospel in English to bring spiritual awakening and revival to the Western, English-speaking church.

From July 17 - 19, 2017, we held our fourth year of camp at Seoul Theological University with the theme “A New Thing” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Susan Truitt, OMS missionary and English professor at Seoul Theological University, directed the camp, and a team of eight native English speakers sent out from OMS served as teachers.

This year, 10 North Korean defectors participated in AIE4UK, so they were matched one on one with the native English speakers from the United States. About half of them were pastors serving in ministry in South Korea, and the other half were young people preparing for their future. One activity they did together was going to the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery to learn about some of the early missionaries who came to Korea over 100 years ago and be challenged by their lives of obedience and service. In the evenings we heard the testimonies of some of those who had come from North Korea. It was a tearful time to hear of how God has been faithful through all of the terrible suffering they had gone through.

We believe that God has sent North Korean defectors to South Korea not only for the unification of the Korean people but also so that through their living testimonies of how God has guided and preserved their lives in the midst of danger, they can be used as instruments to awaken Western, English-speaking churches. We believe that if Christian North Korean defectors can share their testimonies and the power of the Gospel in English without having to depend on interpretation, God will use them in valuable ways.

For over 20 years, One Mission Society (OMS) in Korea has held Adventures in English camps every summer with volunteer native English speakers. These volunteers, devoted to God’s kingdom, raise their own money to participate. Through AIE4UK, jointly sponsored by OMS Korea, the Prayer Network for North Korea and the Nations (PN4N), and Sarangnaru, we hope that North Korean defectors may be raised up in a wonderful way to serve as missionaries in cooperation with OMS. The next AIE4UK is being planned for August 8-10, 2018.

By Susan Truitt, OMS Korea field director

Tags: north korean defectors, english ministry, unification of korea, english camp, south korea, oms,

Hospitable Love for Defectors

November 27 2017

Since the mid-1990s, more than 1 million North Koreans have died of starvation from famine and economic collapse in North Korea. Because of this, many desperately attempt to cross the border into South Korea every year. In fact, each year, more than 1,000 people enter South Korea. As of March 2017, 8,848 men and 21,642 women (more than 70%) defectors live in South Korea. Many of these women were trafficked in China, where they had children that they brought with them to South Korea.

Although the number of North Korean defectors is only about .1 percent of the North Korean population, each life is valued. We believe that interacting with those from the north gives South Koreans a foretaste of what an integrated society after unification will be like. We also see that when those who defect adjust successfully to South Korean culture, they become indirect missionaries to family and friends in the north.

North Korean defectors now enjoy better economic stability and are enthusiastic about education opportunities for their children to live a better life. But unfortunately, the drop-out rate for North Korean defectors is 1.4 percent in elementary school, 8.8 percent in middle school, and 14.4 percent in high school, over 10 times that of South Korean students! For most children and teens from North Korea, the hardest part of the school is adjusting to using English.

Many North Korean defectors experience discrimination and inhospitality, so they are tempted into crimes such as sex trafficking, and some even return to North Korea. The reason the over 30,000 North Korean defectors are not adjusting well to South Korean society and have degenerated into failures, lawbreakers, and vulnerability is that they have not been embraced with love and acceptance.

For this reason, Sarangnaru, a ministry partner of One Mission Society, run a group home and after-school classes, which show compassion and can be effective tools to maintain continuing relationships with North Korean defectors for missions. The ultimate goal of this ministry is to share Christ and build disciples for Christ.

Resources are needed to prepare for the coming unification and the evangelization of North Koreans.

To give, click here.

By Rev. Yoonhoe Koo, Sarangnaru director

Tags: north korean defectors, ministry in south korea, compassion, share gospel, persecution, famine, cross borders,

Piercing the Darkness in North Korea

November 7 2017

A few years ago, mission researchers produced a map contrasting well-lit areas of the world with dark ones. Based on the best data available at the time, dots of light were imposed on an otherwise dark map of the world. Each pinpoint of light represented a certain number of evangelical followers of Jesus. The result was a compelling portrayal of the areas of the world where there is relatively rich access to the Gospel in comparison to the areas where access is critically low.

South Korea has a heavier concentration of light than any other nation. In contrast, North Korea is strikingly dark. Knowing the Lord of the harvest does not desire for any to perish (2 Peter 3:9), what can we do to help more people in, and from, North Korea have access to the light of Christ?

Along with many other partners, One Mission Society is deeply concerned for the people of North Korea. Christ loves them and died so that they could have life. Yet, so few of them have ever had the opportunity to hear and understand the truth of Christ. By God’s grace and with his help, OMS is seeking ways to make the Gospel available to North Koreans. May the walls keeping it from them come down. And when they do, may God’s people be ready to blanket this dark nation with light!

~Bob Fetherlin, President, One Mission Society

Editor’s note: This is the first in a six-part series on our outreach to North Koreans. Stay tuned for stories of about changed lives and how God is piercing the darkness. If you’d like to donate to this ministry effort, give here.

Tags: south korea, north korean defectors, ministry, light in the dark,