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Discipleship, the Key for Ministering to North Koreans

The strategies for ministering to North Koreans have had to change in recent times with China and Russia cracking down not only on Christians but foreign missionaries.

In days past, North Korean ministry generally meant a professional minister travelling to North Korea, China, Russia or other places that North Koreans were found, to bring supplies and expert help. Now, interacting with foreigners is dangerous, especially those travelling on business visas.

Instead of supporting foreign missionaries, Voice of the Martyrs works with locals who are already ministering to North Koreans in their area. This raises less suspicion as foreigners will automatically draw attention regardless of their visa status, especially when they interact with North Korean workers, sex-trafficked women, and defectors.

Local Christians are experts at remaining off the radar. They understand how to navigate the country’s systems much better than any foreigner, and as they travel from one place to another, they’re simply another citizen. They not only know where North Koreans are in their area but also how to speak with them without raising suspicion.

Unlike foreign missionaries, local Christians are not licenced ministers with degrees in theology. For the most part, these are just average people who are doing ministry on top of their job. This means that they often need more than just supplies – they need discipleship.

These workers have more than just technical questions; often, they have questions about Christianity, how to put Scripture into practice, and how to respond to questions they’re asked.

Voice of the Martyrs is now working to supply discipleship resources to these local Christians, and all the resources can be found online at a hidden address. The impact has already been seen and felt by these workers and the North Koreans to whom they are ministering.

The more entwined with persecution theology these workers become, the more the faith of the North Koreans follows suit. This becomes important as many of them will return to North Korea – they are mainly workers, smugglers and citizens visiting family.

Although it is dangerous, many of these North Koreans want to return in order to share the Gospel they have learned with others in North Korea. This is dangerous work as the first question any North Korean is asked upon re-entering North Korea is if they have been in a church or seen a Bible.

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