The Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), the North Korean Mission of the Korean Union Conference (KUC), Sahmyook University, and the Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church Council of America (KASDA) co-hosted the 6th North Korea Mission Conference at Sahmyook University, Seoul, South Korea, March 24-26.
The event, themed “North Korea Mission, Unrelinquishable DESIRE, Unstoppable MISSION,” was significant because it was the first time the event took place in South Korea. It was also the first face-to-face rally after the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 800 people, including North Korean missionary organizations such as North Korean Pioneer Missionaries (NKPMM), Priscilla and Aquila Missionaries, and Bukbukbuk, as well as pastor Kim Dong Jun, director of the North Korean Mission Committee in North America, members, seminarians, and others joined to pray for the unification of the gospel on the Korean Peninsula. Overseas Koreans also attended, expressing interest in the current status and possibilities of North Korean missions.
“The conference is an invaluable opportunity for many of us to share the burden of missions together, and it will be a time of zeal for the spread of the gospel,” General Conference (GC) president Ted N. C. Wilson said in a video message. “I hope this special mission conference will help us focus on how we can fulfill God’s will to reach the precious people of North Korea.”
In his welcoming remarks, NSD president Yo Han Kim said, “The dawn before dawn is the darkest, but we can look forward to a new day, so we must prepare for the new day with faith, even in the dark. Our branch is also actively preparing for the mission to North Korea with the conviction that ‘God will open the door when I am ready,’ instead of the passive attitude of spreading the gospel when the door opens one day.” Kim said he hoped the conference to be a place to restore the passion for the mission to North Korea.
In the opening sermon, GC Adventist Mission director Gary Krause referenced the salvation principle in Luke 5:1-6, comparing North Korea to the Sea of Galilee where no fish were caught. In his sermon, titled “Casting Out the Nets in Deep Water,” he presented statistics on the ratio of churches to population in the world’s major metropolitan areas and exhorted, “We need to get in the boat of missions and cast the net of salvation, believing that ‘one day we will catch fish.’”
Krause added, “Jesus wasn’t just talking to His disciples that day about catching fish; He was talking about catching people for the kingdom of heaven. Today He is asking us to push out into deep missionary waters for North Korea. We must prepare for this mission through prayer, humility, and creativity, looking forward to the day when the nets are torn apart by so many fish.”
GC secretary Erton Köhler preached on Acts 19:8, highlighting it as a key verse. In his message titled “Mission Is a Miracle,” he emphasized that the Bible clearly indicates our mission to reach every nation, tribe, tongue, and people worldwide, including difficult areas like North Korea.
He posed the question, “How can we spread the gospel to people with different languages and cultures?” and affirmed that the mission belongs to the Lord, who will perform miracles to open closed doors and reach seemingly impossible hearts and inaccessible areas. Köhler stressed that we are merely instruments for the Master of the church and its mission, and that God will work through us to perform remarkable miracles.
Adventist World Radio (AWR) Asia director Timothy Saxton shared about AWR and North Korea. He referenced AWR’s more than 50 years of preaching the three angels’ messages in hard-to-reach areas and highlighted its potential for the mission to North Korean. Saxton urged his listeners to move forward in faith, saying that the promise had already been given to them.
NSD North Korea Mission director Beom Seok Oh reported on the mission’s progress. During his report, he introduced key initiatives that have been carried out in collaboration with the KUC and KASDA. These initiatives include a prayer movement, training programs for North Korean missionaries, mission work among North Korean defectors, and the rebuilding of the North Korean church.
Oh emphasized that North Korea is the most persecuted country for Christianity and called for active participation and interest from members in the mission to the region.
At a prayer meeting, the congregation joined hands and prayed for various causes, including the rebuilding of the 98 Seventh-day Adventist churches in North Korea and successful settlement of 34,000 North Korean refugees in South Korean society.
Prayers also asked for leaders of North and South Korea to collaborate to create an atmosphere of peace that will open doors for missionary work in North Korea. Finally, participants prayed for the leaders of the General Conference and other church regions who are involved in missionary work in North Korea. “We pray so that they can be given vision and guidance to guide this work well,” they said.