One of our co-workers in China, close to the border with North Korea, is a lady known as ‘Mrs Shelter’. She operates one of our safe houses for refugees who make their way over the border.
North Korean refugees can often be found in Mrs Shelter’s city. These men and women make the dangerous and illegal journey from China, either escaping the oppressive North Korean regime or in search of food and other basic supplies to take back to their families.
Mrs Shelter says: “They wander the streets, looking for places to sleep. I approach them, offer them a free place to stay, and serve them until they go back or move on. They want to know why I do this without asking anything in return. Only then do I share with them about God and the Bible. Many return as believers.”
Just sheltering North Korean refugees and sharing the gospel with them puts Mrs Shelter at risk. She has had North Korean spies, pretending to be refugees, come to her home. They could have kidnapped her or even murdered her – but they didn’t.
She says: “God grants me supernatural discernment. I can tell if the person is genuine or sent to spy. But I never shy away from serving. I treat the spies with the same love as I do real refugees.
“Some confessed at the end of their stay they were there to write a bad report about me back in North Korea, but they promised they would make it a positive one. ‘We don’t have your faith,’ they say, ‘but we’ve seen your life and character and want to resemble it.'”
One of the North Korean refugees she was sheltering decided to follow Jesus just 20 days before we spoke to her. She says: “I called your co-worker and they taught the new believer as much of the Bible as time allowed. Shortly after, the refugee left, but he said he would return to learn more about God. He also intended to share his faith with his family by holding secret worship meetings with them.”
This is how the gospel is reaching North Korea, passing from person to person, saving one life at a time. When someone like Mrs Shelter shares the gospel with just one North Korean, we have no idea how far it will reach.
Mrs Shelter says, “Sometimes this work wears me out. Then I kneel to pray and God always gives me new strength.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.