Brother Simon (not his real name) has led Open Doors’ North Korea ministry for over 25 years. 2020 has been an extraordinary year for him, his team and the church – and his ministry would not have been possible without your support. In this letter he thanks you for helping to sustain him and the persecuted church in North Korea.
When I joined a missional organisation at university in 1975, I also prayed for an overseas mission, one that would bring me to the most difficult mission areas. While I was praying, God said: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Later, I shared this verse with a friend, and he said that these words came straight from the Bible – Philippians 4:13. I was ashamed that I hadn’t realised this!
Ever since, this Bible verse has come to my mind when I found myself in situations that, humanly speaking, were impossible to resolve.
God was faithful during the SARS and MERS epidemics; we were able to continue to support North Korean believers. Then 2020 came, and we had a pandemic which shut down China and then the rest of the world, including North Korea. Border traffic was practically impossible.
During the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread throughout China since the beginning of February this year, God showed Himself as the King of kings and the Lord of lords in a mission field with increasingly difficult circumstances.
Our almighty God has guided us, however. And even though it was difficult, and we had to adjust many times, we have been able to show our care to the North Koreans Christians. As in the early days and throughout my ministry, I needed to rely on that precious Bible verse from Philippians 4:13. I had to believe that God would do His work. And He did.
Your prayers and support have sustained North Korean believers through Brother Simon's ministry
We have been able to make use of small windows of opportunities to reach North Korean Christians through our safehouses and networks in China. We gave them food, medicines, and other daily necessities. Thanks to God’s providence, we have given 84 per cent of what we had planned for this year. The North Korean underground church wrote us a letter to thank supporters.
“We have been through many challenges this year,” one person wrote. “None of the challenges would stop our solemn march to the spiritual mountaintop. We remember the great consideration from all the brothers and sisters around the world. We have dedicated our lives again to the ministry of the underground church and to the succession of the precious faith of our ancestors. We would like to express our great gratitude towards all of you who cared for us, and we pray that God’s grace and blessings will be poured upon you.”
We, the North Korea team, also want to thank our supporters. We are grateful for your prayers and gifts. None of our core workers and family workers were infected by Covid-19.
Even though I am at an age that many retire, I will continue to run as the Apostle Paul confessed, until the day of unification of the two Koreas, so that I can support the North Korean believers while we wait for the sun to break through the clouds.
Once again, thank you for standing with us. We were afraid that we would have to reduce what we could do for the North Korean believers. But we’ve seen some amazing donations. We are so grateful for all of you who have prayed and given. And we have similar stories, even from churches that exist in hostile environments. It’s God’s providence.
Thank you to all supporters who pray for and dedicate themselves to the North Korea mission. The North Korean Christian leaders and believers vividly experience your love in Christ. I will do my best to serve the North Korean church and believers on behalf of you all.
I pray that the God of Emmanuel may fill you, your family and your church with peace and heavenly hope, and protect you from all the threats of evil. I pray that you will also experience Philippians 4:13 in your personal life.
You can ask your MP to attend the World Watch List launch on 13 January 2021. It's a crucial opportunity for decision makers to hear first-hand from the persecuted church - you can make a real difference by getting in touch.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.