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Training Youth—North Korea Missionaries “Bukbukbuk”
September 03, 2021

 On August 19, 2021, thirty young people appeared on a computer screen—missionaries being trained for the North Korea mission. They are mostly composed of enthusiastic college students, with some high school students and young professionals—a doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, and social worker. These young people have set their dreams to become missionaries to North Korea.

The group is officially called “Bukbukbuk” in Korean—the three letters with the same pronunciation are aligned, but each letter has different meanings. The first “buk” indicates North, which draws us into awareness of North Korea and to pray for the country. The second “buk” holds the meaning of a book, and implies reading as many books as possible to gain knowledge regarding North Korea. And the last “buk” means drum, which signifies to sound out to deliver the gospel message as the drum does. 

Back in 2018, ten young missionaries formed Bukbukbuk, and it has gradually grown in number to reach 30 members. They meet on a regular basis, holding seminars, prayer meetings, and retreats at least three times in a year. 

The main speaker of the event, Kim YongIn, is the director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Korea. He talked about the connection ADRA has maintained with North Korea and the importance of young people being equipped as experts in each field in society. Pastor Yoo KyungHo, the associate director of Youth Ministries of the Korean Union Conference (KUC), preached about Daniel’s life of dedication and what can be learned from him as a missionary in Babylon. The lectures gave attendants greater opportunity to faithfully devote themselves to God. Participants then separated into small groups and discussed and prayed together on how to effectively prepare for the North Korea Mission.

Pastor Im SangWoo, who is the associate director of KUC North Korea Mission and the one who planned the event, stressed not to put off the task as if it can wait for an indefinite future, but to live with the assurance that we’re already missionaries. 

Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). North Korea is certainly one of the remnant missions where the gospel message must be delivered before Jesus comes. I pray that these young people play an essential role to carry on the Three Angels’ Messages to North Korea and facilitate our Lord’s Second Coming.


NSD North Korea Mission 

The Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) has a special department that other divisions in the Adventist church do not have, and that is the North Korea Mission department. To spread the gospel to North Korea, where the door to the gospel is still firmly closed, the NSD North Korea Mission works closely with KUC to train missionaries who can be dispatched to North Korea. In addition to Bukbukbuk, there are several mission teams called NK PMM, Priscilla and Aquila, and North Korean defector missionaries.

North Korea Pioneer Mission Movement (NKPMM)

The NKPMM are a group of trained pastors who have committed to serve as missionaries when the doors open to North Korea; they have been training since 2017. A total of four theory and practical field trainings have been conducted twice a year for two years, and 14 pastors have completed the course and qualified as NKPMM missionaries in 2017-2018. Currently, 20 pastors of the second batch have received their training. Pastors who have been trained in this way are assigned to a designated mission field in North Korea, and when the doors open, they are set to allocate themselves to that area to reestablish churches and preach the gospel.

Priscilla and Aquila

These lay missionaries will reside in North Korea when the doors are opened and take part in missions while working at regular jobs like Priscilla and Aquila in the New Testament. Their training started in 2018 and has been conducted regularly twice a year. A total of seven theoretical and field training sessions have been completed so far, and about 100 missionaries are participating in this training. 

North Korean Defector Missionary 

There are 33,721 North Korean defectors living in South Korea, with about 1,000 North Koreans finding a way into South Korea every year. By seeing north and south groups come together we have a glimpse of a brighter future. However, merely 0.3 percent of North Korean defectors are currently Adventists. In order to evangelize defectors, leaders are working together with Uimyeong Mission church, a North Korean refugee church. We expect this church to be a starting point for the North Korean Mission when the doors open. 

Ellen White said, “It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Christ’s Object Lesson, 69). In the meaning of this quotation, North Korea Mission is one of the areas that could hasten the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We hope that well-trained missionaries will be empowered by the Holy Spirit and earnestly spread the Three Angels’ Messages to North Korea so that Jesus can come soon. 

News Article by Oh BeomSeok, NSD North Korea Mission Director