Why North Korean Orphans Should Not Be In Orphanages

orphansPost by Pastor Tim – When it comes to our North Korea work at VOM Korea (Seoul USA), we are very careful about what we openly share. Despite our robust website (www.seoulusa.org) that contains pictures and information on balloon launches, Underground University and radio broadcasting, there is still quite a bit that we don’t talk about, let alone post on our website.

One of those areas that we’ve shared little to nothing about has been our work with North Korean orphans. We still can’t share a great deal, but I wanted to share with you a fascinating insight from the North Korean underground church:

North Korean orphans should not be in orphanages.

The orphans we work with are often from North Korean women who were sold as sex slaves to Chinese men (sometimes one man or even a group of men). Many of these women eventually escape from these abusive relationships, but the children are left behind and often abandoned by their often aging or handicapped fathers.

Since these children are neither fully Chinese nor fully North Korean, they have virtually no rights, privileges, opportunities and really no hope for a good future.

Orphanages sound like a good solution, but there are serious limitations to caring for NK orphans in this way.  One limitation is that it “tags” them forever as orphans, with all the limitations mentioned in the link.

Instead, VOM Korea (Seoul USA) follows the direction of the North Korean underground church and the Korean Chinese church, supporting and training local church members who care for North Korean orphans in their own homes as “adopted” members of their own families.

This is a brave move for a family. Sometimes families even sacrifice having their own flesh and blood children to raise these orphans as their own flesh and blood. Sometimes they say that the child is their nephew or niece, since they think of the deceased or defecting parent as a brother or sister in the Lord. In this wise way, these orphans become part of the church member’s own family rather than being known as an institutional orphan.

On a recent discipleship trip to visit some of these (former) orphans, we had them draw pictures of God and provide an explanation (picture above). We wanted to share with you some of their responses so that you can get a picture of how God is touching the hearts of these young people who have found homes not only on earth but in heaven.

Here are the children’s explanations . . .

BYG drew Jesus waking up people who have fallen asleep praying.

SSB drew a church and a boy who goes to church and put a sticker on it that said, “Oh, Happy Day!” SSB said that his drawing depicted a joyful and happy life in Jesus Christ.

LDK drew a scene from his dream in which God was preaching to him.

HJN used many stickers including Bible phrases in his drawing. He said that those phrases represented truths that God gave him.

TH drew Jesus in the center and put Bible stickers around Jesus. She explained that Jesus is preaching to a crowd.

KYG also drew Jesus preaching the gospel to people.

MO drew Jesus opening his arms, and she confessed that Jesus was her strength and her shield with a passage from Psalm 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Lastly, BYH drew God, the Creator with love and care.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” –Ephesians 2:19-20 (ESV)

Posted in North Korea, Visiting and Remembering | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Seoul USA/VOM Korea Announces The North Korean Hymnal, Created By NK Underground Christians And NK Defector Christians

Logo 071414The North Korean church is not a subset of the South Korean Church. It has its own distinctive history and spiritual heritage that not only continues to bless North Korean underground Christians and North Korean defector Christians but also the whole world.

With the support of our sister Voice of the Martyrs missions around the world, Seoul USA (VOM/Korea) works with underground North Korean Christians and North Korean defector Christians to develop worship tools for North Korean Christians everywhere that are true to this rich spiritual heritage. The North-South Korean Parallel Bible is one of the results of our collaboration.

Now, with the support of our sister VOM missions in the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Belgium, and Australia, we are in the process of completing a North Korean Hymnal with the same goal: to help North Koreans worship God in their own dialect (which is 40% divergent from South Korean dialect) and according to the spiritual riches God has given them to superintend. This project was launched from the idea that it would be better for North Koreans to sing along with hymns and songs that have familiar vocabulary and melodies. This method will be effective for North Koreans who are inside NK, North Koreans who have defected from the North, and for the time that the two Koreas are unified.

With North Korean believers we have selected hymns and gospel songs that North Koreans would have already heard in North Korea or China. We are in the process of scoring and recording those songs and preparing the printed music.

The hymns we selected were those sung by Christians before the division of Korea. These are the ones that continue to be sung by North Korean underground Christians who have been keeping their Christian faith through the generations.

Generally, North Korean underground Christians memorize the songs or sometimes have a piece of paper with the lyrics of hymns written on it. Some of them learn hymns and gospel songs through printed materials launched by balloon from the South, or the lyrics are given by people who come and go to China.

Here are the sixty hymns and gospel songs that comprise the North Korean Christian Hymnal we are currently producing:

1. Holy, Holy, Holy 2. Silent Night 3. Joy to the World 4. Amazing Grace 5. I Just Keep Trusting My Lord 6. You Are Helping Me 7. What Can Wash Away My Sin 8. Yes, I like Jesus 9. Days Like The Sun, Nights Like The Moon 10. Nearer, My God, To Thee 11. I have Found A Friend In Jesus 12. It Is Well With My Soul 13. I’m Rejoicing Night and Day 14. I’ve Got Peace Like A River 15. I Know Who Hold Tomorrow 16. Someone Is Praying For You 17. You Are Created To Receive The Greatest Love 18. Cannot Go With Money 19. Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God 20. As The Deer Panteth 21. Through The Precious Blood 22. Call’d of God, We Honor the Call 23. There Shall Be Showers Of Blessing 24. Work Of Mercy Song I 25. Work Of Mercy Song II 26. God Of Love 27. I Love You, My Jesus 28. Water Flowing In The Desert 29. River And Mountain, Streams Flowing Clear 30. The Canonical Order of The Bible 31. We Will Keep Our Faith 32. I Can Hear My Saviour Calling 33. Jesus Loves Me This I Know 34. If I Come To Jesus 35. Jesus Is All The World To Me 36. In Jesus Christ’s Love, We Can Do Anything 37. Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine! 38. By The Love Of My Lord 39. We’ve A Story To Tell To The Nations 40. Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed 41. Higher Ground 42. I Come To The Garden Alone 43. God Is So Good 44. What A Friend We Have In Jesus 45. The Trusting Heart To Jesus Clings 46. While The Lord Is My Shepherd 47. God’s Great Grace It Has Brought Us 48. O Come, All Ye Faithful 49. This Is My Father’s World 50. My Peace I Give Unto You 51. The Lord Is Your Protector 52. John 3:16 53. Bright, Heavenly Way 54. Halleluiah, Halleluiah 55. When I Wondering From The World 56. Father, I Stretch My Hands To Thee 57. The Calling 58. My Confession 59. The Old Rugged Cross 60. Living Where The Healing Waters Flow

Our singers are North Korean defector Christians recommended by the Korean Christian Association for the Settlement of North Korean Defectors and applicants from the North Korean Performing Arts Company.

We always have spiritual battles when we undertake such projects. No doubt Satan will try to disturb us to the very end of the hymnal production process, and beyond. However, we will continue forward boldly in the name of God who has already won the battle because the battle is not ours, but God’s.

We have the following prayer requests for this project:

  • First, please pray for us to be especially sensitive to the guidance of God at every step of this project. Pray that any attacks of the enemy will only speed God’s purpose.
  • Second, please pray for North Korean singers to complete this project in a way that grows them in the grace of God.
  • Third, pray for the people who will sing and listen (via our radio broadcast and our electronic media distributions) to these hymns to meet God personally as they sing and listen.

As the Lord permits, the North Korean Hymnal is scheduled for release by Seoul USA/VOM Korea this December.

Posted in Announcements, Making Disciples, North Korea, persecution, Preparation, Presentation, Proclaiming The Gospel, Sanctification, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Our Brother Is In Prison. Here’s A Preliminary To-Do List

WLO_ransomcaptiveNo, I don’t know your family history. But I do know that you and I have brothers and sisters from all over the world who are in prison.  These are men and women that may not be related to us by blood, but they are connected to us by something far stronger than mere physical biology.  Paul’s words to the Ephesian church remind us of just how important this connection really is.  He says,

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:19-21)

Depending on what verse you turn to, this Christian connection is called the Bride of Christ, a family, a body, a church, a household and a temple.  Can you think of any more powerful connection than these?

And some of the members of our family are in prison . . . for their faith!

You’ve no doubt heard about this before, but remember: This is a blog about hearing and doing, since Jesus reminded us of the emptiness of revealed knowledge without action.

Maybe you’re not sure what you yourself can do. Let me assure you that doing virtually anything is better than doing nothing!

1.  The most important thing you can do is what Pastor Foley suggested in his Monday blog post: Stop sinning!  In other words, let the example of imprisoned believers remind you of the urgency of getting your own life right with Christ! Observe their way of life and apply it to your own discipleship. (And by the way . . . if you bypass this suggestion then the rest of this post is rendered meaningless!)

2.  Don’t forget about these Christians!  This sounds simplistic, but in Christian discipleship the simplest things are often the most difficult. What we are talking about here is a spiritual discipline. Our lives are filled with work, school functions, children’s activities, shopping, TV, computer, and church Bible studies. We don’t have much time to think about a Christian who may be imprisoned in a place like Iran.  But the spiritual discipline of “not forgetting” is exactly what Richard Wurmbrand asked us to practice in Tortured for Christ.  He said,

The message I bring from the Underground Church is: “Don’t abandon us!”  Don’t forget us!”  Don’t write us off!”  “Give us the tools we need!  We will pay the price for using them!”  This is the message I have been charged to deliver to the free church (pg. 144).

One simple way we can not forget our brothers and sisters in prison is by writing a letter to them.  Voice of the Martyrs has a letter writing program whereby they show you how to write a letter, the benefits of writing such a letter, and who exactly to write a letter to.  Right now they have opportunities to write letters to imprisoned believers in Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, and Sudan, among many other countries.

Imagine being in prison yourself . . . alone and not sure if anyone really knows or cares that you are in prison.  Imagine receiving a letter from a believer halfway across the world whereby you realize that someone is praying for you!

3.  Finally, Richard Wurmbrand  mentioned that persecuted and imprisoned Christians desire tools.  We can certainly be a help in providing these tools, but we must first understand what the tools are and how they should be provided.  In other words, Christians in North Korea may need something different than Christians in Nigeria.  Or Christians in Sudan and Christians in India may both want the Scriptures, but it may need to be delivered in different ways.

Let’s first take the time to listen to the persecuted and imprisoned church leaders and learn about the faithful church in their country and how we can come alongside them and serve the body of Christ together.

Posted in North Korea, persecution, Ransoming the Captive | Tagged , , | Leave a comment