This year we launched around 40,000 New Testaments into North Korea. We used GPS technology to confirm the landing point of each launch.
Still, it was nice to receive confirmation from the North Korean government that what the GPS is showing us is indeed true:
Our New Testaments are getting in.
In the television news broadcast the KCNA announcer said:
There is nothing more to say about it. South Korea keeps sending us propaganda leaflets and seditious religious books through balloons. One day, we got 1.2 million propaganda leaflets and 2250 volumes of religious book through balloons.
The religious books would likely be ours, thank you, since we only launch New Testaments these days. The flyers typically belong to the human rights groups. And 2,250 would be a typical day’s launch for us.
It’s a mixed blessing, really, this confirmation. On the one hand, the potential downside is that it does show that on occasion North Korea can, and does, mobilize its army to gather up the New Testaments we send. That is pretty remarkable, given that a single launch day can spread New Testaments across an area of hundreds of miles. We can even guess which launches they intercept, since they sometimes send signals back through the GPS (purposely or inadvertently, we don’t know) simply by their handling of it.
On the other hand, as we and other organizations have learned with mass Bible distribution campaigns over the years, interesting things can happen when soldiers are sent out to gather up or confiscate the Word of God, or when piles of New Testaments sit in local police stations or on military posts waiting to be destroyed. When a soldier is sent with other soldiers to fan out across an area hundreds of miles wide looking for New Testaments, it makes for interesting conversations—and interested glances inside the book when others are not looking. The whole experience can prompt a soldier to wonder, “What is in this book that is so threatening to our leader?” And it is awfully hard to find all 2,250 New Testaments from every single launch.
After all, wasn’t it 2,251 New Testaments that we launched that day?…