At the beginning of the year we began using a brand new North Korean announcer for our radio broadcasts into NK. Professionally speaking, she has been good for the broadcast in numerous ways. She was a singer in North Korea . . . not a famous person, but some professional voice training nonetheless. Through this training, she learned how to use her voice and breath in a way that our previous broadcasters had not been able to do. Our current producer feels like our new NK announcer has improved our broadcasts from a quality standpoint . . . it is comfortable and enjoyable to listen to her voice on the radio! Our NK announcer works together with one of our SK staff members to record the ments for each broadcast. “Ment” is short for mention, and it refers to the banter between announcers that occurs between the program elements such as songs, scriptures, sermons, or readings. The ments are a crucial element to the broadcast because they are like the string that connect and tie the individual pieces of the broadcast together, making them blend naturally.
Our new NK announcer is also very professional in her preparation. She always wants the script ahead of time in order to practice it and pray over it. She takes her responsibility very seriously. She is also able to ad lib with the script a bit, something which our previous North Korean announcers have not been able to do.
Interestingly enough, the very beginning of her spiritual journey started because of short-wave radio broadcasts into North Korea. Her father had begun listening to Christian radio and would often share with her what he learned. She would always deny what her father told her, but eventually her heart began to change as she listened to the radio programs herself. It was because of this foundation that she made an effort to (on her own) to go to church in South Korea once she defected. She said she had a strong desire to learn more about Jesus that came from the seed planted by Christian radio.
We felt like it was truly the Lord who brought her to us. In part, because of her professional ability and in part because a seed of faith was planted in her life by listening to short-wave radio. Surprisingly, we also found that God had another purpose in bringing her to VOM Korea!
After she had been in South Korea for a little while, her brother attempted to defect and come to South Korea, but he was captured at the border. To make matters worse, he eventually died in a NK prison. Her father dealt with this tragedy through alcohol, but soon after, he got cancer and died. Her mother dealt with this tragedy through several suicide attempts. The mother is currently very sick, but still alive in North Korea. Our radio announcer dealt with this through blaming God and turning away from him. But even in the midst of turning away, she knew God was real and eventually she began to pray that God would restore the relationship she once had with him.
Shortly after praying this prayer, one of our staff members was introduced to her through a mutual friend. And after hearing her background with short-wave radio, our staff member invited her to come to the office and become involved with our radio broadcast. She was delighted, but admitted her struggles to us. She said that she would help us with the broadcast, but in return she wanted us to disciple her. We believe that the chance meeting she had with one of our staff members was actually arranged by God as an answer to her prayer!
Our radio announcer is not necessarily a seasoned Christian, but still she is one who experienced great tragedy and is still following God. She has many questions, but she has the space to be able to ask those questions and grow in the Lord. She is far from perfect, but she has experienced the power of God through His forgiveness and restoration. So even during the actual recording of our broadcast (before it hits the airwaves each week) God is renewing and restoring North Koreans for His glory!