Messages from North Korean Escapees


 Dear Friend: 

Can you imagine what happens to North Koreans after they escape from the evil regime? 

Getting out of the country is only the beginning of their challenges. 

On a recent trip to Asia, I met with several of our partners who rescue the persecuted. They explained the real-world problems, and unique ways for us to help. Here are three: 

Reality Inside a Shelter 

There was a problem inside the safe houses. 

A pastor had prepared the shelters for people who escaped from North Korea. Inside they had a place to hide from Chinese authorities. They had food and clothes. 

But not all was well. The small shelters were overcrowded, and the people were squabbling and fighting. 

In tyrannical North Korea, where Christianity is illegal, people are taught to accuse and distrust everyone. Students, factory workers, farmers, and communist activists alike must attend weekly “criticism sessions” to point out each other’s transgressions and mistakes. Grudges grow. 

On top of that, covid restrictions forced the escapees to stay inside all the time. China’s totalitarian surveillance makes it more dangerous to be outside. 

The pastor grappled with another challenge. The harsh reality is that not all who escape will get to a safe country. Some who fled into China will be repatriated, forcibly sent back to North Korea. 

Others choose to return. Astonishing, some who become believers feel compelled by God to go back to North Korea to share Jesus. 

The pastor prayed. How can the time spent in the shelter spiritually prepare them for their future . . . wherever that may be? 

“The way God is working is shifting,” he told me. 

His passion is to bring the gospel to those who will return to North Korea. His shelters are set up to train them to be lights in the darkness. 

Their stay in the shelters is “a timely season to comfort and ground them in Christ so they can share Jesus with others.” 

They learn a style of gradual evangelism by showing love. They memorize Scriptures. They worship, and the Holy Spirit moves. 

This prepares them for life after the shelter, wherever they go. Whether to a safe country, or to an evil regime. 

But the stress of living under the constant fear of getting caught and friction of many people confined in a small space has consequences. Bickering and conflicts break out. 

So he tested an idea to lower the tension: Encourage the shelter residents with small rewards to learn hymns and praise songs. A year ago, Christian Freedom International began helping with the project. 

What were the results? 

“The culture has changed,” the pastor said. As they memorized songs and focused on worship, they experienced God. 

He can see it in the way they speak to one another. 

Praise songs “have the power to cure wounds. It changes their language,” he noted. 

There is something powerful about reflecting on God and singing His praises. It draws us closer to God. 

One North Korean said he had to pause while singing hymns to cry. 

This small yet powerful act enhances their time living together. They struggle with “so many wrong beliefs and thoughts and demonic influences,” he said. The only way to heal is with God’s love and trust. 

“It is not easy to develop these missionaries,” he said. If a person in North Korea believes in Jesus, “they are sacrificing their lives. If caught, their whole family is arrested.”

Yet, he said, “I know there are people with real faith in North Korea. They are few but real.” One of them sent a picture of a Bible verse scrawled on their hand, Jeremiah 1:19 which says: 

“‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the Lord.” 

Please pray for these missionaries-in-training. 

Pray for the shelters to not be exposed to the authorities. 

Pray for more Bibles to reach them. China’s surveillance makes deliveries to the shelters riskier. (Our last shipment of audio Bibles took several months to hand deliver.) 

A Lifeline to Trafficked North Korean Women in China 

Most of the people who escape North Korea are women. When they get to China, many are trafficked into forced marriages. (Due to its one child policy, China has far more men than women, especially in rural areas.) 

To make it worse, the communist Chinese government restricts access to Christian information – especially online – making it even harder to get the truth to these women. 

But there is hope. 

Your donations help to provide radios and produce broadcasts for hard-to-reach North Koreans. 

Thanks to your support, Christian Freedom International has equipped our partners to get shortwave radios to 300 women living in rural towns in China who are predominately trafficked victims sold to Chinese men as “wives.” 

These radios will give the women and their children the ability to listen to broadcasts from Christians. They can tune in to learn the truth from stations like Free North Korea Radio, a station run by Christians who escaped North Korea. 

The specific types of radios chosen by our partners are ideal. They are considered a survival tool with a flashlight and several ways to charge: solar power, battery power, hand crank, USB and computer charging. 

Please pray that the women will be encouraged as they listen and learn to trust God.

Arrived, Then Not Forgotten 

The basement office in Seoul is stocked with food, clothes, and blankets. 

Several times a week, elderly folks come for supplies provided by Christian Freedom International’s partner. On Wednesdays they gather for worship services. 

These North Koreans made it to safety in South Korea. But now they are old and alone. Many lost their families when they fled. 

Our partner who runs this ministry is a defector. He is determined to rescue ten thousand people from the evil regime that killed his wife and small daughters when he escaped. 

He and his loyal band – including a former North Korean diplomat – provide shelters in China for those escaping and care for those who arrive to South Korea and need help. 

When I visited, the ladies clasped my hands and teared up. They had courageously escaped North Korea and now they serve those in greater need than themselves. “Please remember [these elderly] defectors. They need our help,” they said. 

Please pray that they will not feel alone but will experience God’s presence and provision through the worship and aid at the center. 

Thank you for supporting persecuted Christians. You get it that shelters, food, radios, and other aid that together we provide are tools for God to do His amazing work in their lives. 

For His Kingdom, 

Wendy Wright President 

P.S. The folllowing are letters from North Korean defectors who were encouraged to learn praise songs while in a shelter. Their gratitude reveals the eternal impact of your support. Thank you for making it possible!



Dear _____ Thank you.

I express my greetings and appreciation to you who has shed light to us living in darkness. Also, I thank you also for giving us strength and inspiring us to praise God in His blessing.

While this world is suffering from fear and anxiety due to Covid, but praise has been a big encouragement to us. It was just like a ray of sunlight to our heart.

In this light in the darkness, every day and every time, I pray and get courage to continue to live. This kind of love is what you have given us – so I thank you for these blessings. Amen.

(from a NK defector residing in China)

My name is _____ and I am living in China – a little lamb belonging to God. 

We are living with many challenges and events of life but you provided encouragement and strength. You provided the chance for us to experience the truth. 

Thus, I have decided to write with my pen. Thank you for not forgetting us – and I am one of those who live much afar from home. You have taken care of us – and I really thank you. 

Even though it was easy to lose much hope due to the situation related to Coronavirus, you have created a gathering for people to praise God. I once again want to express my thank you for this blessing. 

We who live much far away from home will continue to praise God no matter how hard life becomes. We promise that we will live as God’s children marching with praises. Lastly, always take good care of your health and I pray for you with earnest heart.

(from a defector in China)


Elsewhere, inside shelters in China, North Koreans who escaped get Bible training. 

After bickering broke out, they were encouraged to memorize hymns and praise songs. 

“The culture changed,” our partner said, and they wrote these letters of thanks.

Pictured at the top: Meeting with North Korean defectors who serve others in this center in South Korea.