ESCAPING NORTH KOREA
God makes a way for His servants. He miraculously opens doors and hearts to fulfil His great commission.
This is the testimony of an Open Doors representative in China who regularly meets North Korean Christians who have escaped to China. Their name and the names of all those mentioned in the story have been withheld or changed for security purposes.
I know God has not abandoned North Korea. Too many people bear testimony of His saving work in North Korea. But most North Koreans live and die under the rule of the Kims and have never heard of a God who creates, cares, and cherishes. God however makes a way for His servants. He miraculously opens doors and hearts to fulfil His great commission. In a private room of a restaurant, I meet a cautious man in his sixties. After prayer, he confides how he grew up in the area roaming the mountains like a ranger. Now he uses his skills to find refugees hiding in the woods.
He said, “Six months ago, I met a North Korean man. I was able to share the gospel with him and he came to faith. A month ago, I had heart problems and was near death. God miraculously healed me. The doctors couldn’t explain it. Now, I provide food for three refugees. One of them is the man I helped six months ago. He now leads an underground church of sixteen believers.”
I meet with Sister P in an old church that had sheltered North Korean refugees until one of them was arrested. “It was our duty to help them,” she declared. “Fortunately, God granted these refugees faith. During services, they sat near the exit so, if the police came, they could slip out. But one of the ladies was arrested during a Bible study. She disappeared, leaving her children with an abusive husband.
“With the support of your organisation we were able to take care of this poor family. Every morning, members of our congregation prayed with tears for our lost sister. The husband started to attend church. He transformed. He’s no longer an abusive alcoholic but a faithful servant and good father. He is very important for our local ministry now.”
Recently his wife called from North Korea. After spending several years in a prison camp, she was released. “She hopes to escape to China soon,” Sister P continued. “Fifty per cent of inmates don’t survive their prison sentence. I’m sure our sister survived thanks to prayer.” Before me sits an extraordinary lady we call Mrs Shelter, because she risks her life to run one of Open Doors’ safe houses for North Korean refugees.
“Five years ago I was so sick I almost died,” she shared. “A pastor prayed for me. I was miraculously healed. God saved me and I know why. He wanted to use me for North Korean ministry. Ever since, I’ve realised I’m living on extra time. I don’t want to waste the days I’ve been given.” Living in a city where “people from the other side” regularly appear, her ministry is fruitful. “They wander the streets, looking for places to sleep. I approach them, offer them a free place to stay, and serve them until they go back or move on. “They want to know why I do this without asking anything in return. I share with them about God and the Bible. Many return as believers.”
The moment Mrs Shelter became involved in the work among North Koreans she also became a target for the Chinese authorities and North Korean government. She has had spies under her roof – humans trained to deceive, destroy and murder. “God grants me supernatural discernment. I can tell if the person is genuine or sent to spy. But I never shy away from serving. I treat the spies with as much love as I help real refugees. Some confessed at the end of their stay they were there to write a bad report about me back in North Korea, but they promised they would make it a positive one. ‘We don’t have your faith,’ they say, ‘but we’ve seen your life and character and want to resemble it’.
Source: Open Doors
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