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News / Thoughts

North Korea: Serving forgotten women

January 9, 2017

Meet Chinese evangelist Hwa-Young*. She’s spent years helping North Korean women who have escaped, or been trafficked, to northeast China. Most are sold into marriage or servitude. They face a life of abuse and ill-treatment. But for some women, thanks to Hwa-Young, this new life can lead them to new hope. Here’s some of her reflections on how she got started, despite the dangerous nature of what she was doing…

“[When I started this work I had] no doubts, no fear. I’m an experienced woman. The first two years were more difficult than I thought. But now I don’t have any fear of death. I’m a single woman, and if it’s necessary I don’t mind dying for this cause.”

“Pyongyang was once the Jerusalem of the East” (Christianity used to be prevalent in the North Korean capital), “now the people have to worship idols of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il in this city… The women were raised in fear.

“They grew up in severe poverty. They are always hungry. All of them know what it is like to worry about every meal, to eat from the trash and to beg for food.

“They go to pre-school in North Korea when they are about five years old. But they are still forced to watch public executions. Sometimes friends or neighbours were murdered in front of their eyes.

“But now I don’t have any fear of death… if it’s necessary I don’t mind dying for this cause.”

“Even when they are older and leave the country, they still experience that psychological pressure of fear. There is much more freedom here in China, but the women are still not safe. Additionally, most of them have been abused, both in North Korea and in China. They feel numb. They don’t even feel the hurt anymore.”

How Open Doors is helping…

Hwa-Young is one of a number of workers for Open Doors serving trafficked North Korean women in China. Every year, they help around 150-250 women with practical assistance, pastoral care and through Bible studies.

“The goal of our women’s project is to raise up female leaders for the future,” says Hwa-Young. “Every summer and winter we have more intensive Bible studies for ladies who show the willingness and potential to grow into leaders.”

Around ten of the ladies are currently being trained to become leaders in women-to-women ministry in China. The long-term dream is that these women will help to build the church of the future in North Korea – the country which currently ranks as the most hostile place for Christians in the world on Open Doors’ World Watch List.

You can help support Open Doors’ work with North Korean believers:

Pray. Use the points below…
Give. £6 can provide a single survival pack for a secret Christian in North Korea. Give here…

Pray now…

  • For sustenance for Hwa-Young and other Open Doors workers – that God would protect and counsel them
  • That the women reached through this ministry would come to know Him and would become pillars of God’s love and forgiveness in their communities
  • For breakthrough in the nation of North Korea – that they will no longer be forced to worship the idols of the Kims.

*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.