It is with great excitement that we announce that over 1,800 Bibles have landed securely in North Korea in recent months. From the beginning of May, the weather has been favourable for balloon launches.
Each weather balloon contains 25 Bibles and three USB drives. For each launch, our project officer attaches a GPS locator, enabling us to track the balloons and to see where they have been able to drop the Bibles. We thank God for the safe arrival of the Bibles the balloons have carried into North Korea.
For the 14th year running, North Korea is still at the top of the Open Doors World Watch List and they still severely persecute Christians.
This year Thirteen Three hopes to send 3,600 Bibles into North Korea. In total, our sister organisation in South Korea hopes to send 32,250 Bibles into this restrictive country.
To date, Thirteen Three has raised enough funds to send 1,411 Bibles. Help us reach our target by donating to our Release campaign today!
Imagine hefting a suitcase carrying 80 Bibles onto the X-ray machine in Iran. Patrick Klein has carried Bibles into hostile and restricted nations all over the world. Listen as Patrick shares the miraculous ways God intervened to allow him and his Vision Beyond Borders smuggling teams safe passage and used them to make a Kingdom impact all over the world.
“When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15
In the bottom drawer of my dresser, carefully folded and organised by type, are stacks of clothes to mend. One blouse just needs its sleeves hemmed. Somehow, I can never find the time to fix the clothes. I am so busy staying up late to study for finals or rushing off to work at six in the morning that I struggle to make time for the little things I know need help.
In the timeline of eternity, the life of a human is a minute speck. Nevertheless, the Being who sustains all space and time not only knows about the smallest problems of one human, but also promises His children that He will take care of them. My “when I have to, I’ll do that” allows me to push away responsibility indefinitely. God’s “when he calls to Me, I will answer” is His commitment to His people. My “I will” is often a reason to forget. His “I will” is a promise to act.
God does rescue. He does answer, though not always as we expect. God has no bottom drawer stuffed with projects to complete at some later date. He is at work now, providing Bibles to those who long for His Word, safe passage to those who escape death, joy and peace to those who suffer, and grace to those who at times doubt Him. When I cannot understand what Christ Jesus is doing and when it seems that He has forgotten His people, in His promises I trust, for He will not go back on His word.
‘Elijah’ (not his real name), a graduate student from a Bible college in the Philippines, recounts a recent time when, as a student pastor, he helped his village escape from Islamic extremists.
Elijah is about twenty years old and his work is vital for the Gospel to spread in Southern Mindanao, that is in an area that is being terrorised by Islamic radicals. As a student pastor, Elijah’s days are very different to the life of a student pastor in Australia. Elijah doesn’t have a senior minister to guide and support him as he learns about the ministry. Elijah’s church did not have a pastor at all, which is why Elijah was sent there. He was trained and sent to be a pastor in an area that had no pastors due to persecution. Pastors are threatened and killed and many have had to leave for safety. Elijah’s life is at risk every day. He is willing to die for Christ so that more people can find out about Jesus.
Thirteen Three invests in the next generation of pastors because they are needed now to spread the Gospel. It is only God’s life-changing message that can bring an end to this violence and, most importantly, save them from their own destruction.
I have been reading the Book of Acts and read, again, the story of Saul’s conversation in Acts, chapter 9. I am always struck by how soon after Saul met Jesus that people were trying to kill him!
As I have been reading in Acts in recent days the Lord has really drawn my attention to the role that Ananias played in Saul’s conversion. We all remember the story; Saul is on the road to Damascus and he sees a blinding light and hears the voice of Jesus saying, “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul is struck blind and has to be lead into the city by his helpers. That is where Ananias comes in.
God tells Ananias to go to Saul and restore his sight. What does Ananias say? You can read the story in Acts, chapter 9, but basically he tells God, “That is a terrible idea. No, no, no, God! I know about Saul and he is a really bad guy. He has come here to arrest people in the church and now you want me to go see him?” The Lord tells Ananias, “Yes, I want you to go.”
So Ananias is obedient and he goes to see Saul and there are two things that struck me in a new way as I read the story this time. First, Ananias reached out and touched Saul and secondly, he called him Brother Saul, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus sent me to you.” Remember just four verses earlier Ananias was telling God what a terrible guy Saul was and yet now he obeys God, goes to Saul, reaches out to touch him and calls him brother, “Brother Saul.” Then Ananias sort of disappears from the story. We don’t know what happened to him, but we sure know what happened with Saul. He became Paul, the great missionary/evangelist and the author of so much of the New Testament.
How different is that story if Ananias says no to God?
Not too long ago one of our VOM staff was in the Middle East at a meeting of Syrian church leaders. They were talking about this very passage. Some of these believers minister in the city of Damascus. For them it is very easy to see Ananias’ side of the story. They talked about that very situation. What if a guy from Islamic State (IS) calls and says he wants to meet? What if a fighter from Al-Nusra Front comes in the door of your church? “I have had a vision of Jesus and I need to meet with you to learn more.” What would these Syrian Christians do? What would we do?
Our Syrian brothers and sisters talked about that. Would they go to meet with a sworn enemy of the Gospel? One-by-one they shared that it would be difficult, it would be scary, but that if they felt God calling them to go, they would go in spite of the risks. I am thankful for the example of Ananias who was willing to reach out and touch and call “Brother” someone who had been an enemy. And I am thankful for Syrian Christians who are willing to take that risk today. It is thrilling to know that God is reaching into the ranks of terrorists, even IS, and calling people to Himself.
We have had the incredible privilege to share some of those stories right here on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio. But those new believers, those Sauls, need an Ananias to help connect them to the truth and to a body of believers, and that is not an easy job. There is a lot of risk.
But it isn’t just former IS fighters that need an Ananias, it is people coming to Christ where you live, where I live; our neighbours, co-workers, students at our children’s school. I hope that you will pray with me that God will reach more Sauls among radical Muslim groups and also raise up more Ananiases to disciple and teach them. I hope we will pray that we can be an Ananias for someone who needs a friendly face and a welcoming smile as they choose to follow Jesus Christ.
These comments were a part of a VOM Radio episode.
Todd Nettleton works for VOM USA as media spokesperson.