Christians activists are pursuing aggressively creative ways to bring the Gospel into beleaguered North Korea as conflicting reports of their leader, Kim Jong-Un, swirled in the media last week.
Voice of the Martyrs radio host Todd Nettleton spoke with Faithwire recently about the tactics being pursued by VOM and partner organizations to reach the lost (and trapped) in the authoritarian nation.
(Discussion of tactics begins around the 6-minute mark):
“There is a church in North Korea. It doesn’t look anything like our churches when we gather together with believers in the United States,” Nettleton said. “One of the challenges for Christian parents is when do I tell my children about Jesus Christ? Because if my children say the wrong thing at school I’m going to go to prison.”
“Obviously, we can’t send missionaries to North Korea. But the Gospel is getting in creatively. One of the things VOM does is attaches Bibles to helium-filled balloons and then floats those balloons across the border into North Korea,” Nettleton explained. He went on to say that the balloons have GPS trackers so they can tell where they landed, which helps determine the chances it was picked up by a citizen.
Nettleton also said radio broadcasts are utilized to reach North Koreans, and during those broadcasts, they’ll read the Bible – but they do it in a very specific way: slowly and deliberately. The reason? “So that the people in North Korea can write down what they’re hearing. Simply having somebody read the Scriptures over the radio waves, for many Koreans that will be the only Bible they ever have.”
North Korean defectors are also being trained to share the Gospel back into the country through phone conversations back home. So, while missionaries aren’t able to stroll into North Korea but Christians are doing the Lord’s work in creative and effective ways.
Nettleton also discussed a letter-writing campaign for a deacon (Zhang Wen Shi) who was arrested by North Korea for “defaming the regime” in North Korea and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Here’s the story from VOM’s Prisoner Alert website:
Zhang Wen Shi, also known by his Korean name and title as Deacon Jang, is an ethnically Korean Chinese citizen who lived in Changbai, China, a town on the border between China and North Korea. He worked alongside Korean-Chinese pastor Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, ministering to the North Koreans who crossed the border into Changbai.
Though it is illegal to cross into China without permission, North Koreans often visit Chinese border towns to purchase goods for reselling in North Korea, to seek medicine or other help, and to conduct business. Near Changbai, North Koreans gather herbs on the North Korean side of the mountain and then take them into Changbai to sell at the market and bring the money back with them to North Korea.
Continue praying for those faithfully trying to bring the Gospel to North Korea, and for those trapped inside this prison of a country, that they may learn the truth and seek freedom.
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