|photo from this site|
Several people have asked me how we can help those starving in North Korea and to be honest, I don't know. (see first post on starvation in North Korea) But I have done a little research and found a few groups that seem to be doing something. Of course, the great problem with helping North Korea is that it is a totally closed country, so people are not free to just go in an help or to send aid; and aid sent through the government is used for the governmental elite and the army.
It really is a situation where to some extent all we can do is pray. I hate how it sounds when I say that because it reveals the fact that I somehow think that praying is somehow "lesser" and if I could help I could do more than God can do. I want to use James 2:15-16 as an excuse for my attitude, but it really says:
15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
It isn't talking about acting instead of praying. It is talking about acting instead of talking. Prayer is action. We must remember this.
And for that reason, Open Doors has a 30-day prayer guide for North Korea and starting next week I'm going to post the prayer suggestions daily, so you can all participate.
But there are other actions we can take. There are groups that smuggle food into North Korea, groups that smuggle Bibles into North Korea, and groups that aid North Korean refugees. North Korean refugees escape North Korea by sneaking over the river into China. However, once in China they are still in danger, because if they are caught by Chinese officials they will sent back to North Korea where they will face the harshest punishment for defecting, usually death or labor camps. Of course, you have to be very careful supporting people who are smuggling people, because very often that is a for-profit venture that we more commonly know as sex trafficking. (It is reported that a large number of women and children pay people to help them escape only to end up as sex-slaves in China and other places)
One group that I know is involved in North Korea and is a wonderful organization is Open Doors. This is the organization that was founded by Brother Andrew who lived and wrote The God Smuggler. They do not talk in great detail about what they do on their site, because much of what they do involves smuggling Bibles into places where it is illegal to own Bibles.
Another group that I've found online that seems to be legitimate, although I am not very familiar with them, is Helping Hands Korea. Their focus is:
- Providing secret foster homes in China for stateless children of North Korean refugee mothers who have been forcibly repatriated to North Korea or have fled abusive domestic situations by Chinese men who have “purchased” them from human traffickers in China
- Assisting North Korean refugees at extreme risk of detention, torture or even summary execution if repatriated to North Korea to make their way to safety along the so-called ‘underground railroad
- Sending already prepared (in China) food to hungry orphans and schoolchildren inside North Korea