Day 14: Feeling Like a Failure

Before I came to North Korea, I was living and ministering in China and then one day a Christian brother came and asked if I knew anything about North Korea. I told him that I hadn’t even heard of it before. After he introduced it to me and told me that it was on the border of China and was a very poor country, I had a strong desire to go.

My desire to move there and share with the people was almost more than I could take. I thought about North Korea day and night. After I finished my training, I was given an opportunity to serve in North Korea with other Chinese Back to Jerusalem missionaries. I will never forget my first time going into North Korea. I arrived into the country and looked around, I really felt that I had been taken back in a time machine to my grandfather’s generation.

After only a day or two, I realized why God had put me through so much training in China for this day. The pressure was high and the situation is dire. I was ridiculed for being a foreigner and not understanding the system. I prayed that God would help me to understand the local customs and practices. I had only been in North Korea for less than a week and already it seemed that everyone I met hated me.

During my first year, I was absolutely certain that I had made the wrong decision and that there was no way that I would ever have an opportunity to share about the love of Christ. How can I possibly share about Christ if the people completely hate me? Sharing about Christ became the least of my problems though. I didn’t think that I would survive. I started to doubt whether or not I would even live another week. One day, the most miraculous thing happened: I made a friend in North Korea.

I had the best opportunity to share the Gospel with them through our small daily conversations. However, a westerner overheard our conversation. The westerner is a Christian missionary as well, but was not happy that I was sharing the Gospel. The missionary took me to the side and scolded me for preaching about Jesus. Most missionaries that I have observed in North Korea do not believe that openly sharing about Jesus is the way to minister. I went back to my room and cried out to Christ. “Jesus! I can’t do anything right. The government doesn’t like me. The locals don’t want me here. Even the Christian missionaries don’t want me around for fear that jeopardize the mission.”

I was tired and drained. I was weak and confused. I needed the Lord to show me the way. I needed to crawl up in His arms and take refuge. Then I read the words, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” God’s words refreshed and strengthened me again.

Soon after that prayer, I met my North Korean friend and she gave me an apple. This does not seem like a lot, but in North Korea, giving things that are valuable like food almost never happens. It was an amazing sign to me that God was working! Because of her friendship, more North Koreans started to trust me. I separated myself from the missionaries who did not approve of me preaching to the locals. I shared the Gospel on a regular basis and one day my friend became a believer.

Eventually, several more of her friends who heard about Jesus also came and gave their hearts to Christ. I eventually moved in with all three of them and we worship Christ together every day. These North Korean ladies are no longer my friends. They are now my family members and I can’t imagine my life without them.

Prayer Points:

  • Fear runs rampant in North Korea and often prohibits even the most basic emotions from being shared
  • Even those that know the Gospel message can be afraid to share it because of the level of security needed to maintain safety
  • Pray the spirit of fear be lifted and a new boldness be found to pierce the dark clouds that hover over North Korea

Today’s Scripture Reading:

2 Timothy 1:7-12
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.