Across the River: Part 1

From ICC's 40-Day Challenge
Sun beams on a misty morning on karst mountains and river Li in Guilin/Guangxi region of China

10/27/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)Brian, a field missionary with our partner agency in northeastern China, felt lonely. He felt like he was the last person still working the river bank that divides China and North Korea. It was here where he regularly worked with North Koreans who crossed into China to pick up supplies and then back into North Korea.

To prevent illegal bor­der crossings, the Chinese secret police (PSB) had recently instituted new restrictions and imposed high fines on those aiding North Koreans. As a result, most missionaries had stopped working on the river or shifted toward safer ministry activi­ties. Feeling lonely and abandoned, Brian asked another local worker to go with him to the bank of the Tumen River to look across to North Korea one more time.

He went to his usual spot where he regularly met North Korean Christians who were picking up food and other supplies. Looking across the river, he remembered the many times he had stood there watching North Korea’s secret evangelists heading back into North Korea.

If caught, they would be executed. Despite the extreme risk, they felt it was their calling and duty to bring life to the great spiritual graveyard that is North Korea.

Brian’s friend had brought his old guitar and, sitting on the river­bank, they began to sing. They sang worship songs, hymns, and even children’s praise music. Darkness settled on the river and the night mist began to soak his shirt. He was hungry, but felt no need to return home, as his inner being was filled to the brim with the presence of God.

Since the secret police’s new rules had scared off their fellow work­ers and the riverbank was abandoned, they sang freely. Overwhelmed by the presence of God, his heart overflowed and tears flowed down his cheeks.

Some of the tears were from gratitude for God’s patience with him. He had fallen so many times and repeatedly wanted to return home to the US for safety and rest. But there hadn’t been any release from his service to the North Koreans. God was always patient and present and working in his life, using him to serve and bless the most persecuted believers on earth.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.

To read more stories like this, sign up for ICC’s free monthly magazine.

ICC is on a mission to help persecuted Christians. Will you join us?