Today we end our series “Releasing the Gospel into North Korea” by looking at our third approach, short wave radio broadcasting.
It is hard to imagine but North Korean people are living in a fake reality: they are told things that are simply untrue. For example, they are told that they live in the richest country in the world and everywhere else is doing a lot worse than they are.
This simply is not true. According to the CIA Factbook, North Korea’s economy is ranked 112th in the world.
However, what are even worse are the lies North Koreans are taught to believe about Christianity:
Christianity is like a drug
Missionaries are gathering people so they can drink their blood
If this was all you were told about Christians and Christianity, when you have no access to the internet or alternate views, then you would believe it. These lies are preventing the people of North Korea from coming to know the true God.
Thankfully, the true God cannot be stopped and uses different ways to let people hear His Gospel. We have looked at the balloon and sea launches; now let me tell you about a third way God is using Voice of the Martyrs to tell North Koreans about Jesus.
Many North Koreans have access to radios, but the law states that they need to be tuned to the government station. You can be arrested for changing to a different station. Yet, despite the risks, it is estimated that two million North Koreans tune into our radio station.
Our radio broadcasts are produced by North Korean defector Bible college students in South Korea. The students share Scriptures in a North Korean drama style, discipleship training segments and songs. The students also share about their own experiences.
Impact Unlike the sea and balloon launches, we are able to receive a good indication on the immediate impact of this radio ministry.
The North Korean government regularly tries unsuccessfully to block our radio broadcasts. This is highly interesting because it demonstrates that the government feels threatened by these broadcasts. The good news is that we can easily change to a different frequency and the listeners know to scan the radio to find the new station.
In addition, North Korean defectors have shared with us how they heard these broadcasts when they were living in North Korea.
Chin-Sun (not her real name) explains her experience of listening to the radio in North Korea:
“One night, we closed the door and listened to the radio under the blanket. At the moment that I listened to the radio from South Korea, it was not only amazing but also tears pricked my eyes because of our nation’s state of division.
“From that point on, I kept listening to radio broadcasts from South Korea with my father. We realised that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un and their followers are untruthful. I sometimes got furious with them.
Later, after I arrived in South Korea, when I talked with my home folks, there were some people who also listened to South Korean radio broadcasts in North Korea. They said that they covered themselves with blankets and agreed that the best time for listening to the radio was from 10pm to 2:30am.”
This video shows some of the people who transmit the radio broadcasts. These believers have also worked to produce a video on the life of Jesus in North Korean, which are saved onto USBs and sent into North Korea via our balloon launches along with Bibles and other materials.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the different ways God is using Voice of the Martyrs to release the Gospel into North Korea. With such a closed country, there is no way of knowing how successful these efforts will be, but even if one person comes to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, the ministry is a success. You can support these projects by praying and through donations to our Release project. Our aim this year is to deliver over 3,000 Bibles into North Korea and to fund an entire week’s worth of radio broadcasts.
During the month of February, I’ve been sharing the various creative ways Voice of the Martyrs has been releasing the Gospel into North Korea. Last week I shared about our balloon project; this week I want to share how we are getting Scriptures into North Korea via sea. To do this I want to introduce you to Mr Yu.
Meet Mr Yu
When Mr Yu lived in North Korea he made his living as a farmer, one of the lowest-income trades in the country. The North Korean government owns all farmlands. They tell the farmers what to grow and how much and what, if anything, they are allowed to keep for themselves. Often there was not enough for Mr Yu’s family. In addition to this, during the 1990s there was a big famine that made life in North Korea go from bad to worse.
Mr Yu explained, “There was no food. People would eat grass and bark just to survive. Life in North Korea was like hell with no hope.”
Many North Koreans, including Mr Yu’s daughter, fled the country. Six years later Mr Yu received a letter from his daughter saying she was alive and in China. In 2007, Mr Yu left his home, making an illegal crossing of the Amnok River to see his daughter.
Eventually Mr Yu and his daughter made contact with his brother in South Korea, whom he had not seen or heard from in 57 years, and who had presumed Mr Yu had died long ago. Mr Yu’s brother was able to bring them into South Korea.
During this time Mr Yu was sure that there was a God who was protecting him. Mr Yu said, “I had this keen sense that a God I did not know was with me and protecting me.” When Mr Yu arrived in South Korea, he learned who this God was who was protecting him and his family, and soon trusted Jesus as his Saviour.
Mr Yu enlisted in Underground University, a VOM-sponsored discipleship and training school for North Korean defectors who want to reach their homeland for Christ. Upon graduation, Mr Yu’s first assignment was to join a small team that would distribute floating Gospel tracts off the coast of his homeland.
“I pray over every Gospel leaflet I throw into the sea. I pray for those that will read them as they wash up on shore. This is now my profession, the most important task of my life,” he said.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
In 2016, Voice of the Martyrs plans to launch over 13,000 packs into the sea bound for North Korea. These packs include Genesis 1-11, which has been the most effective piece of Scripture for evangelising North Koreans, and information about their radio broadcasts (find out about VOM’s radio broadcasts in next week’s post).
Join with us in prayer that these packs, which are intended to reach the west coast of North Korea, will deliver this life-changing message to fisherman and coastal residents there who are generally unreachable via any other form of evangelism.
Join Thirteen Three and Mr Yu in praying for this important ministry.
Here is a prayer that you might like to use, or post your own prayer in the comments below.
Father God, It’s horrible to hear about the life that North Koreans are forced to live and hard to believe that their leaders have knowingly hidden the truth from them. I know the only way this can change is for North Koreans to know You as their Lord and Saviour.
Please use these sea launches to show North Koreans the truth. You know every person in North Korea, so please guide the packs into the right people’s hands and open their hearts to You.
Protect Your people who are travelling out to sea to do this important task and protect the North Koreans that pick up the Scriptures and read them.
Imagine growing up being told that you live in the wealthiest country in the world, when in actual fact you are living in the most oppressive one.
This is what it means to live in North Korea.
Everything is controlled. Everything you do is watched. You must follow the regime, or you risk execution or imprisonment.
Pastor Eric Foley, Director of VOM South Korea, says “it is illegal to do any kind of Christian activity, proses a Bible or bow your head to pray.”
Given the difficulty and the risk, how can we tell North Koreans about Jesus?
Voice of the Martyrs South Korea have come up with three great ways to release the Gospel into North Korea. Over the next three weeks I’ll share these exciting initiatives with you.
Every year our sister office launch over 32,000 New Testaments into North Korea through hydrogen-filled balloons. The balloons are launched from secure locations in South Korea with specialised software that predicts where the Bibles will land. As the balloons rise higher in the air, the balloons expand to the point of bursting. The Bibles then fall to the ground. Eric and his team hope the Bibles land just outside one of the cities in North Korea. GPS trackers are fixed to some of the balloons when they launch to track where they land.
A few times the GPS trackers have been picked up by a North Korean. This confirms that the Bibles have landed in a location where people are walking pass.
A number of North Korean defectors to South Korea have told VOM workers in South Korea that they have seen the Bibles or even picked one up themselves.