Dr. Foley and I just returned from the Netherlands, where we were hosted on a speaking and media tour by our dear VOM sister mission, SDOK. We were accompanied by “Mrs. Goo” (name changed for security protection), a North Korean who grew up in an underground Christian home and who continues to reach North Koreans wherever they are found as a VOM Korea Underground University missionary.
Early in the trip, many of those we met said to Mrs. Goo, “You must be excited with the peace process! Soon North Korea may be open to the gospel!”
Mrs. Goo listened quietly and graciously each time. I knew she must be thinking of her father. When many Christians fled North Korea when Kim Il Sung came to power–including the pastor of her church–her father insisted that her family must remain in order to care for Christ’s remaining sheep there. Though he was not a pastor or seminary graduate, he led the church as best he could–and he paid the price.
So each time after that that Mrs. Goo shared her testimony, she also shared the following greeting. For those who pray in well-meaning ways for North Korea to open to the gospel, it is a good reminder of the Church of Philadelphia that is the North Korean underground church, which for more than 70 years has lived and ministered and advanced the gospel in the light of Jesus’ promise, “Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”
Greetings on behalf of the 100,000 underground Christians of North Korea, 30,000 of whom remain faithful in concentration camps.
I am the product of that church. My father became an underground Christian leader when North Korea fell to communism in the 1940s. Most Christians fled to the south, including the pastor of our church. My father stayed and led those who remained at our church, and he and our family paid the price.
My life has been marked by great suffering because I carry the name of Jesus. But it has been marked by even greater grace, because Christ brings good out of whatever the enemy intends for evil.
Sometimes people will say that they pray for North Korea to open to the gospel. But North Korea continues to be open to the gospel, for any messenger willing to pay the price. For more than 70 years, North Korean Christians have gladly paid that price, and they continue to pay it today.
I have taken up the work of my father and serve as a missionary, having been trained at VOM Korea’s Underground University, supported by Dutch Christians through SDOK. I thank the Lord for your willingness to stand with us.
Christians in our country are actively doing the work of Christ today. We are not waiting for political changes that would make Christian work safer. We know that people in our country need Christ today, and so we bring Christ to them today. We ask only that you give us the tools to complete the work.
Thank you for your willingness to stand with us. May the Lord bless you all.