Did you know that before the division of North and South Korea, there were about 3,000 churches in North Korea, with 132 of those being Korea Evangelical Holiness Churches (KEHC), started by Koreans trained by OMS missionaries? But during the Korean War, the churches in the north were laid waste, and the majority of the Christians fled to the south.
Dozens of North Korean pastors stayed to watch over their churches while they sent their families to flee south. Many of them were captured and suffered greatly, finally dying a martyr’s death. In the following decades of continual persecution by the North Korean government, the churches and Christians in North Korea disappeared altogether.
One pastor, who in spite of his sadness over losing his father to the communists, has devoted his life to restoring the church in North Korea. For several decades, he has embraced his enemies, the North Korean people, with the love of Christ. Because of the mission of unification in the Gospel, although he is in his 80s, he is still working hard to restore the North Korean church.
Here is a passionately written except from a letter he wrote to his father, who was abducted by the North Korean government:
“What has happened to Shinuiju Dongbu Church now . . . father! Restoring that fallen church is my fervent hope and prayer. Someday a church will stand tall again in that place. Father, in that church where you shared the Gospel and pastored, I see a vision of your descendants sharing the Gospel.”
This pastor has been doing the dangerous ministry of setting up a shelter for North Koreans, sharing the Gospel with those traveling overseas, and training them to go back to North Korea. Because South Koreans cannot go into North Korea to share the Gospel, he has also been training ethnic Korean Chinese nationals and Mongolians who can enter North Korea.
There are North Korean evangelists who, in obedience to God’s Word, are risking death to accept Jesus while overseas and then return to North Korea. They are keeping the faith in the midst of persecution and danger, building the underground church and sharing the Gospel.
Among the one billion people that OMS is pursuing to share the Good News of Jesus with, there are 25 million North Koreans who have never heard the Gospel. They are waiting for someone to share with them. OMS has focused on training national evangelists in Korea since the start of the Korea Evangelical Holiness Church (KEHC) over 110 years ago. The North Koreans that we have discipled will rebuild the fallen North Korean church and bring salvation to the souls dying without knowing Jesus Christ. The North Korean underground Christians who have kept their faith through suffering will fulfill the task of being witnesses of the light of Jesus Christ all over the world. We ask for your prayers and support as this ministry is dangerous and difficult.
Rev. Sungho Kim, Sarangnaru adviser