Record Number of European Christians Greet Visiting North Korean Christian Speaker to Ask: ‘How Does the NK/US/SK Peace Process Affect NK Underground Believers?’
(June 20, 2018) This month, record crowds of Christians in the Netherlands gathered to hear Voice of the Martyrs Korea share about the impact of the peace process on the North Korean Underground Church.
“We’ve spoken in the Netherlands 6 or 7 times in the past 10 years, but the interest this year was unlike anything we have previously experienced,” Voice of the Martyrs board chair Hyun Sook Foley says. “Last year, we visited the Netherlands with two North Korean Christians and the largest event was attended by 600 people. But this year more than 1,300 people attended the main event, and a youth conference designed for 200 attracted more than 600.”
Board chair Foley explains that the most frequent question of attendees was “How does the NK/US/SK peace process affect NK underground believers?” Foley notes, “It’s a reminder that for Christians there is more at stake in the so-called ‘peace process’ than issues of nuclear disarmanent or economic prosperity. Christians around the world want to know, ‘What about the NK Christians?’ This should challenge us in South Korea to be asking those same questions as well.”
Each day, the Voice of the Martyrs team, including North Korean underground Christian Mrs. Goo (not her real name), did media interviews, private meetings with denominational leaders and speaking events. Mrs. Goo’s father was not a pastor but became the leader of their church inside North Korea when the pastor and many other members of the church fled south to escape persecution shortly before the Korean War. Her father and brother suffered at the hands of communists and she herself had a difficult life because of her family background. Today she has reclaimed the mission of her father as a missionary to North Koreans wherever they are found, after being trained by VOM Korea at its Underground University.
Mrs. Goo says, “Sometimes people say 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.”
She adds, “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. We only ask that you give us the tools to complete the work.”
Board chair Foley explains, “The Singapore Summit addressed the relationship of the NK government to other governments, but it did not address the NK government's relationship to its own people. To address the relationship of the NK government to its own people requires the NK government to first address its relationship to God.”
Individuals interested in learning more about the North Korean Underground Church can order a copy of These Are the Generations from the Voice of the Martyrs Korea office at 02-2065-0703. These are the Generations was written by VOM Korea CEO Pastor Eric Foley with underground Christians from North Korea. It explains the worship, discipleship, and evangelism practices of today’s North Korean underground church, which remains faithful to God in spite of fierce persecution.