There Are No Limits To Where God’s Healing Can Go . . . Including North Korea.

WLO_healcomfortWe might assume that all North Koreans outside of North Korea have simply escaped the tyrannous regime, but that assumption would be flat out wrong. Over 100,00 North Koreans are on official work release in places like Russia, Mongolia, Africa and the Middle East. It may sound a little exotic to us, but unfortunately these NKs often work very difficult jobs in less than ideal conditions.

Even though the NK workers are often not well-equipped to do their job, it is still very hard to get them to accept gifts from us.  Recently one of our ministry teams brought New Year’s gifts to an NK dormitory: socks, underwear, and chocolates. The NK workers proceeded to toss the gifts in a pile and urinate on them. “Why do you do this when you are not wearing any socks and it is so cold outside?” our team leader asked, incredulous. “We have everything we need,” one of the NK workers responded. “We don’t wear socks because we like being barefoot.” In responding this way, the NK workers are carrying out what is required of them: Not embarrassing the Kim regime with the admission that they are poorly provisioned.

Consequently, we’ve had to adapt our evangelism and discipleship strategies to reach these NK workers, but one of the new strategies was initially a little surprising to me – healing and comforting! Healing was always something that I thought took place in churches and revival meeting with those who were already Christians. It was certainly not something that happened in remote NK worker villages with individuals who did not know Christ! But yet when these NKs were sick and hurt, our missionaries were the first ones they reached out to. One of our missionaries recently wrote this,

After I arrived I went to see the NK workers with whom I spoke last time. I learned that a week before a furnace heater exploded in a building. Four NK workers suffered. Immediately I ran to hospital. Two of them were in really bad condition. I spoke with the chief doctor. After a long conversation he let me inside the burn unit. I openly prayed for them and left packages. Out of the other two one refused to speak, but took the pack. With another I had a good talk. In a whisper, he HIMSELF asked me to pray for him (he was very much afraid of death). I prayed, gave gospel literature and a New Testament. I bought some medicine in a drug store. I stayed there almost until the evening, visiting the rest of the people. There are about 70 of them there.

An NK worker asking for helping is extremely rare. It is almost inconceivable that they would accept prayer and a New Testament.

But nothing opens up NK workers to evangelism like illness. Remember that NK workers receive neither medicine nor provision for recovery when they are ill, and most have no money for doctor’s visits or badly-needed prescriptions. So when illness strikes, NK workers will often remember the missionaries who previously expressed care.

It reminds me that God is not bound by people, places and situations and God’s word and healing are not bound by these things either.

About tdillmuth

Pastor Timothy Dillmuth is the Discipleship Pastor of Voice of the Martyrs Korea. He oversees Underground University, a missionary training school for North Korean defectors, and does discipleship training with Christians from all over the world. Pastor Tim received a bachelor's degree from Zion Bible College and an M.Div. from Regent University. He lives with his wife, Melissia and their three children in Seoul, South Korea.
This entry was posted in Healing and Comforting, North Korea and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to There Are No Limits To Where God’s Healing Can Go . . . Including North Korea.

  1. Kate says:

    This was most informative!! Thanks so much. We continually need, as Christians, to be reminded to live creatively and that includes the way we spread The Word! The breadth of vision,wit, subtlety and wisdom shown by the outreach workers you mention, is inspiring to us all…..thank you for sharing and thank God for all those spreading Light in such dark corners! Your blogs shine out for spreading Hope and make me want to pray harder…….may ALL our prayers help sustain those evangelists and the suffering North Koreans WHEREVER they may be!! AND may God bless and encourage your writing heart. Thank you again! xxxxx

  2. Ted says:

    I have read about NK sending workers into places like Russia to pay back debt in basically a slave labor fashion. Watching the gonzo reporting of the Vice Guide (I don’t recommend reading vice since they can be crude, but their international on the ground video reporting is the best out there) actually go into Russia and try to visit some of these NK work camps. This article even made it more real, down to earth, and spiritually insightful. Thanks for sharing. God can create situations to break down the hardest of hearts.

    • Pastor Foley says:

      Good to hear from you, Ted. Interestingly, Russia is actually the favored place of NK workers. While they do give a lot of their wages to the government, they feel they enjoy greater freedoms there, along with greater earning potential. So it’s actually a coveted opportunity rather than indentured servitude. But then again, indentured servitude is often a comparatively coveted opportunity when it comes to NK…

      • Ted says:

        I guess that would make sense. Better working conditions and actual work in Russia is better than either no work, no money, or meaningless work in NK. I’m surprised by the access to NK foreign workers. I thought they were more tightly controlled with minders who oversee them. It’s good to hear about these opportunities.

      • Pastor Foley says:

        Definitely tightly controlled, Ted. Definitely overseen. Requires prayerful strategy.

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