North Korea Graciously Confirms The Effectiveness Of Our Bible Balloon Launches

SUSA-KoreanThis 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?…

Posted in Balloon Launching, Bible, North Korea | 1 Comment

What Can You Do To Help Our North Korean Underground University and Underground Technology Students?

SUSA-KoreanWeek after week Pastor Foley and I write about our amazing Underground University (UU) and Underground Technology (UT) students. These North Korean defectors are truly role models that all of us should emulate! Underground Technology is our 6 month personal discipleship school for North Korean defectors who are new to the Christian faith or who are interested in learning more about Jesus Christ. We are always amazed to see these men and women, not only growing in their own faith, but also encouraging their friends and family (back in NK) to accept Christ into their lives!

After our UT students graduate, many of them decide to join UU. This is a huge step of faith for most of our students because the commitment required for UU is much greater. UU is essentially a 2 year program now, with intensive studies, a sizable short-term missionary commitment and a requirement to serve as an intern for a year. And all of this is with a goal to commit one’s life to serving as a missionary!

But yet, many of our UT and UU students suffer from depression related to the torture they endured in North Korea, the family members they left behind in NK and general loneliness in South Korea. Don’t get me wrong, these men and women are fully dedicated to God, but their past experiences still haunt them on a day to day basis. And to add injury to insult, they are often ignored or pitied by SK society rather than being viewed as worthwhile and able to contribute.

The bottom line is that these men and women have some amazing things to contribute to the Kingdom of God, but they need some encouragement along the way! Even though you and I are far away, God can use us to encourage these precious saints of God! One of the ways we can do that is by sending them encouraging cards and notes. Here are some instructions . . .

  1. Please include a picture of yourself – the students love to see who is praying for them!
  2. Please include a Scripture verse for them. This is best kind of encouragement and the students love learning new Scriptures passages!
  3. Please include a sentence of two of your own encouraging words. If the contents of your card are too long, the translation will take too long for our volunteers to translate.
  4. Please mail the card to our US office. Pastor Foley and I will be happy to hand deliver your card of encouragement on one of our upcoming trips! Please mail it to:

Seoul USA, 14960 Woodcarver Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Sending a card of encouragement is a simple, yet powerful way to share the love of God with these men and women who are called and equipped to bring the Gospel to quite possibly the most oppressive regime on the face of the earth!

Posted in North Korea, Uncategorized, Visiting and Remembering | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A North Korean Recounts How She Was Evangelized In A Labor Camp By North Korean Underground Christians

WLO_visitrememberUnderground Technology, or UT for short, is our foundational discipleship training program for North Korean defectors in South Korea. Sadly, many South Korean churches do not have a systematic discipleship method for their North Korean members. So we have seen North Korean defectors who have gone to church and morning prayer in South Korea for literally a decade who truly do not understand even the first principles of the Christian faith.

As we have been doing UT school for several years, we have learned that it is very important to teach UT students the basic Biblical concepts and repeat them many times. North Koreans often inadvertently blend Christianity into their existing North Korean Juche (Kim Il-Sungist) ideology. So we focus on teaching UT students about creation, sin, redemption, and the character of God, reprising and reviewing the core concepts each week. Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, the UT dean, incorporates a lot of visual materials and life applications to aid students in understanding the basics of the faith clearly and effectively.

Dr. Foley recently taught on the subject of God as our Abba Father. UT students watched a short video about the lost son based on Luke 15:11-32.

UT student CHJ shared that she still has a long way to go in understanding the love of God, which she first sensed in a North Korean labor camp. She was sent to labor camps in North Korea four times before coming to SK.

The third time, she met 19 underground believers in the camp. They ranged in age from 16 to 79 years old. They came from five families (likely an entire church network) that were caught together. CHJ said they clearly had no fear but showed only peace and gentleness. One of them told CHJ, “God is here with us. Why would we be afraid? God protects us.”

Through the encounter, CHJ was greatly encouraged and started to pray to this unknown God who was protecting the underground believers. She is now coming to know this God as her Abba Father. Through the video, she was once again reminded of the love of our Father God toward the believers in prison.

You may not like it, but God knows that the best way to reach people in prison in North Korea isn’t to smuggle a Bible in. It’s to permit a Christian to be sent to jail.

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us (Genesis 41:9-13, NIV).

Posted in Proclaiming The Gospel, Visiting and Remembering | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments