The 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.