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Christian Radio Beams Into North Korea: 'We Will Continue to Broadcast the Gospel Until All Have Heard'

05-02-2018
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Ed Cannon, president of Far East Broadcasting Company, spoke with CBN News about their efforts to penetrate North Korea with the gospel of Jesus Christ

President Trump says he'll soon announce a location and date for his meeting with North Korea's president Kim Jong Un.

"We're setting up meetings right now and I think it's probably going to be announced over the next couple of days, location, and date," Trump told reporters at the White House Tuesday.

The two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues at the summit, including North Korea's promise to end its nuclear testing and eventually give up its atomic weapons.

"The main thing, we want to get peace," Trump said. "It was a big problem, and I think it's going to work out."

Days after North Korea's leader held historic talks with South Korea, both sides started dismantling huge loudspeakers that were placed along the border and used to blare anti-propaganda broadcasts.

"Our military will begin the process of taking down anti-North Korea propaganda broadcast speakers," said Choi Hyun-soo, a South Korean government spokesperson. "This measure is being taken to carry out the promise to cease all hostile activities."

One group that does not plan to stop its daily broadcasts into North Korea is Far East Broadcasting Company or FEBC.

"We will continue to broadcast the gospel until all have heard," said Ed Cannon, president of FEBC.

For over 75 years, FEBC has been using radio signals to send the message of Jesus Christ around the world.

According to its website, FEBC's broadcasts can be heard in 107 languages and 49 countries from 149 stations and transmitters.

"Our goal in North Korea is the same has it is in all of our other countries: to share the gospel through radio so that people will be inspired to follow Jesus Christ as their Savior," Cannon told CBN News.

Cannon said FEBC's radio station in Seoul conducts daily programs to both North and South Korea. He told CBN News that their focus in North Korea is to introduce people to Christianity.

"The people in North Korea don't have exposure to the Christian faith," Cannon said. "Some of our programs are typical teaching programs or daily devotions."

North Korea is the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. Cannon knows the dangers Christians there face if they are caught listening to FEBC's programs.

"We've heard some horrific stories of people being tortured and persecuted," Cannon told CBN News. "We've heard stories of people being executed for worshipping God and particularly, in groups so that if they are caught in a group listening to the radio, they will find themselves in great peril."

According to Open Doors USA, some 50,000 Christians are languishing in prison or labor camps for their faith.

Cannon said it is impossible to say how many North Korean's are listening to FEBC's programs.

"It is very difficult for North Koreans to send messages to South Korea and in some cases, it is very dangerous," Cannon said. "Those messages we do get back, we hear from them that people are listening, people are very grateful for the opportunity to hear the gospel in the conditions that they are being forced to live in.

Each year, Open Doors USA releases their World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.

North Korea has taken the top spot for 16 years in a row.

In addition to the daily radio broadcasts, Cannon said FEBC is helping smuggle thousands of small handheld radios over the border so North Koreans can secretly listen to their broadcasts.

"There are various different ways that we get them in," Cannon told CBN News. "Sometimes we ship them in on weather balloons; sometimes we work through partners who are taking materials into North Korea and we get radios in through them."

Due to the severe clampdown on religious freedom inside the hermit kingdom, Cannon admits it's nearly impossible to know for certain the impact the radios are making.

"We are not even 100 percent sure about the success rate of these radios reaching the people but we know they will be in the hands of someone," Cannon said.

Yet, FEBC programmers say they take heart knowing the message of Christ is penetrating the restrictive nation. Several months ago, Cannon said he met with North Korean defectors in Seoul, South Korea, who reportedly told him to continue broadcasting FEBC's programs because "it is those radio broadcasts alone that give them hope and confidence that there is something other than the horrible life they are living."

Cannon said while FEBC in Korea is careful not to say anything political against the North Korean regime, the staff who run the station in Seoul regularly pray for the reunification of North and South Korea.

"Korea is divided, and we consider them as our people," Chung Soo Kim, a radio host who has worked for FEBC for more than 20 years, told The Atlantic. "We are solely doing the best we can do to bring reunification through the religious sector."

"It is our strategy that we do not disseminate political propaganda," Cannon insisted to CBN News. "We stay true to our mission which is to proclaim the gospel."

"Of course, all of our staff pray for and look forward to the day when North and South Korea are unified, and we even talk about that on our radio broadcast, but our goal is to give them hope by broadcasting the gospel," he added.

As president Trump and Kim Jong Un prepare to meet, Cannon is urging people around the world to pray for the summit and for more North Koreans to hear the gospel of Christ.

"Pray that the hearts of the people who haven't heard the message (gospel) will be softened and prepared so that when they get the rare opportunity to hear a radio broadcast, that they will accept Christ in faith."

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