BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – Frankly, I was surprised to learn of a Christian ministry actively working in North Korea. Then, I discovered CFK (not to be confused with KFC), Christian Friends of Korea. I was amazed by how the Lord has opened doors for CFK and how much He has accomplished through them in the past 25 years.
Open Doors’ annual World Watch List continually ranks North Korea as the leading nation for the persecution of Christians.
“Driven by the state, Christian persecution in North Korea is extreme, and meeting other Christians to worship is nearly impossible unless it’s done in complete secrecy.
Christians must keep their faith completely secret. If a Christian has a Bible or part of one, it will be carefully hidden and only read when the believer is sure they are alone.
Yet behind the headlines, a massive underground church of 200-400,000 Christians is growing in North Korea. And tens of thousands of these secret believers are held in North Korea’s infamous labor camps. It is a miracle that this underground church is able to exist. But more than that, it is thriving and growing.”
Despite difficult conditions, CFK has been able to sustain a ministry representing and presenting Jesus Christ to North Koreans affected by flooding, disease, malnutrition, and other ongoing challenges.
CFK participates in customary humanitarian and development projects but distinguishes itself particularly with its ongoing support of more than 35 tuberculosis and hepatitis care centers, some in metropolitan areas, and others in remote locations. CFK even ministers at North Korea’s National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory.
CFK’s chief activities are targeted at improving the care and medical needs of patients. They do so by supplying food, medicine, medical equipment, bedding, and blankets. They build greenhouses and provide seeds to support fresh food programs for facility residents.
On a broader scale, Christian Friends of Korea assists in providing solar-powered lighting, clean water systems, and medical staff training. They have also supplied ambulances, tractors, and other modern agricultural equipment.
Yet another unique aspect of the CFK operations is their confirmation visits to North Korea. These visits are expressly for the purpose of confirming that goods and supplies shipped from the U.S. arrive complete and in good condition. The visits also include accompanying the supplies to their intended locations.
Although CFK has been involved for several years now in supporting well-drilling projects, the group predominantly distributes Sawyer water filter bucket systems to places where they are most needed. The systems can be installed nearly anywhere and are designed to last as long as 30 years.
NGOs and FBOs have their own unique agendas, but they often end up doing the same things in slightly different ways. CFK is clear about what drives their efforts. They “seek to be responsive to the needs expressed and observed by others.”
By doing so, Christian Friends of Korea has been able to consistently meet those expressed and observed needs as the Lord provides the resources and opportunities to respond through the generous donations of the organization’s faithful supporters.