Every Saturday, a small group of new North Korean Christians meet together in our Underground Technology (UT) classes. All of them attend an evangelical church–it’s a requirement for admission to UT–but most of the churches in Korea struggle to know how to disciple defectors. As a result, it’s frequently the case that defectors go to church without understanding even the basics of the Christian life. Over the past few years, we’ve found the UT program to be essential in their spiritual development and their basic survival in South Korea. The below story, shared by my wife (Melissia Dillmuth) illustrates this well . . .
“I don’t know what a prayer request is…”replied KYH, a new UT student, when we asked him if he had any prayer requests to share with us. We were sitting on the floor in KYH’s small, 100 square foot apartment, munching on dried seaweed and fruit that he had prepared for us. Weekly visitation to students’ homes is an integral part of UT and provides the students with the opportunity to tell us more about their experiences. It also provides us with a one-on-one opportunity to encourage them with the word of God and prayer as many of them share their feelings of guilt, loneliness, fear or depression.
When we asked him about his background in NK, KYH quickly pulled out a map and longingly showed us where he calls “home.” He shared that unlike many others from his seaside village, he was able to provide well for his family as he had a job as a driver for the head of agriculture in his town. Others in his village struggled to survive as they were banned from the abundant supply of nearby fish by a wall that was built to keep them from catching the fish and then selling it to produce an income. He told us about his family and that he only came to SK because he was invited by his daughter who had defected earlier. His one hope is that one day North and South Korea will be unified that he may return to his home.
Our visitation with KYH and other students who have little or no biblical knowledge has confirmed our assurance of the timeliness and importance of UT. Many lost NK souls are wandering in SK, being deceived and pulled in by churches that pay for attendance, cults, schools that do not teach the word of God and money schemes. Unlike any other NK defector school for young Christians in SK, UT provides the students with solid, biblical training in an environment where they must also participate in facilitating their own spiritual growth. They do this through scripture memorization, prayer, homework and Works of Mercy on a weekly basis.
Struggles and spiritual attacks are very real for both UT students and staff alike, which confirm the great battle that is raging to thwart the work that God is doing through UT. After an initial commitment to UT, the cares of this world begin to crowd the work that God has begun to do in the hearts of the students and some are tempted to give up. “I feel lonely,” “I don’t have what it takes to be a missionary,” “I have to get a job because my family wants me to send money to them,” and “my health is not good,” are the reasons we are hearing from those who do not want to follow through with their training. The enemy is seeking to pluck the seed out of the heart into which it has been planted. This also confirms to us the great need for this training school!
Please commit to pray alongside the VOM Korea staff for these new NK believers who are a part of the UT program!