“Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior of your life?”
“Do you believe that only through Jesus’ blood, you can enter Heaven after death?”
“Do you accept that you are sinful and you can only be saved by Jesus’ name?”
For Bon-Hwa, the gravity of this moment she had waited for so long was more than the young woman could bear. The tears flowed, as she wept.
Two years had led up to this moment. Two years ago, Bon-Hwa* attended her first Open Doors’ Women to Women secret meeting specifically organized for North Korean women who have escaped their country for a better life and are now living illegally in China.
Learn why North Korea is No. 1 on the 2021 World Watch List for the 20th consecutive year.
North Korean women like Bon-Hwa are often caught by human traffickers and sold into prostitution or marriage to poor Chinese men. While Helping North Korean refugees is outlawed in China and subject to heavy punishment, Open Doors ministry partners take the enormous risk to operate a number of safe houses in China for North Korean Christians, as well as support women who are forced to marry.
Bon-Hwa met Jesus in this secret gathering and was soon begging to be baptized. The other women in her group had been believers longer than her and were already baptized.
“She wanted to be baptized so badly that she couldn’t wait any longer,” says the Open Doors worker/pastor who baptized her.
Of course, baptizing North Koreans is illegal and risky. It would take some planning. Because they couldn’t baptize Bon-Hwa in the town where she was living for fear of her being caught and repatriated back to North Korea, the three people involved—Bon Hwa, the pastor and her group leader—traveled separately to an Open Doors safe house in a remote area.
“It took many hours to reach the place,” our Open Doors staffer says.
He describes baptizing Bon-Hwa as a “holy moment.” Dressed in a black suit with a white collar, he opened the small ceremony with a prayer and then baptized the young woman “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Together in the tiny living room, the three believers stood and recited the Apostle’s Creed: “I believe in God the Father, maker of Heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ our Lord…”
There were no photos, no baptism certificate (too risky), no crowd, no hearty echoes of affirmation. But here in this tiny place in the middle of nowhere, three Christians stood on holy ground.
“I had to contain myself and focus on the steps of the ceremony,” says our Open Doors worker. “Or else, I would have cried loudly myself. It was such a beautiful moment and such a privilege to baptize a North Korean believer in these circumstances.”
Since her baptism, Bon-Hwa can now recite all of Psalm 119, Romans 8 and other chapters of the Bible. She is acutely aware she could be arrested any day, yet she rests in Jesus.
Because this woman who risked her life to leave her country and confess Jesus belongs to Him now.
*representative names and photos used for security reasons
Pray for Bon-Hwa and others like her
Thanks to God’s provision, your prayers and your gifts, our co-worker was able to baptize this brave North Korean woman in an Open Doors safe house. Please pray for Bon-Hwa—for her protection and that she would continue to grow in her faith, becoming a leader who leads others to the Savior she’s found. Pray that these Open Doors workers would remember the precious memory of baptizing Bon-Hwa when they’re discouraged; and that more and more North Koreans would meet Jesus and want to be baptized.
Help strengthen the church and encourage Christians in North Korea
Open Doors has been supporting North Korean Christians as they follow Jesus by providing emergency relief and discipleship through partners in China.