“Why can’t you just stop launching for a while?”: A word to Christians around the world about our situation in South Korea

“Why can’t you just stop launching for a while?”

This is the question we at Voice of the Martyrs Korea are always asked about our work of sending Bibles into North Korea by high-altitude helium balloons. It is work that began 18 years ago in response to a promise Dr. Foley and I made to underground North Korean Christians. It is work that has continued every night over the past 15 years when the weather has permitted us to successfully launch (typically 10-15 times each summer), as according to our computer modeling software and GPS tracking devices. It is work that has continued even during the moments of greatest conflict between north and south: when Kim Jong-Il died, when the Cheonan submarine was sunk, and when Yeonpyeong Island was shelled. By the grace of God, it is work that has enabled us to place more than 600,000 Bibles inside North Korea, raising the percentage of North Koreans who have seen the Bible with their own eyes from 0% when we started to nearly 8% today.

However, from the day we started, it has always been unpopular work.  

In 2018, people said to us, “Peace is upon us now. Why can’t you just stop launching for a while?”

Now in 2020, people say to us, “War is upon us now. Why can’t you just stop launching for a while?”

The answer is this:

As long as it is day, we Christians in South Korea must all do the works of the Lord Jesus who sent us. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)

From now on, each day that passes, it will become more and more difficult for Christians in South Korean to partner with underground North Korean Christians. The goal of the enemy (and our enemy is not flesh and blood; Ephesians 6:12) is to cut off South Korean Christians from North Korean Christians, to make us believe we are two bodies, not one.

People think that it is the South Korean Christians who are supporting the underground North Korean Christians, but from the moment Christianity came to Korea, continuing on up through today, the North Korean underground Christians have been and still remain the foundation and the pillars of the whole Korean church, north and south. So when the enemy cuts off the South Korean church from the North Korean underground church, it is not the North Korean underground church that will struggle but the South Korean church.

The South Korean church is always in danger of trusting in its money and whatever freedom the government grants it. That is how it allowed itself to become separate from the North Korean underground church in the first place.

But the North Korean underground church has never had money or freedom. It has only ever had Christ. And it has always found that Christ is sufficient. Christ is and always has been the light of the North Korean underground church. That light has always shined from the North Korean underground church to the South Korean church.

God’s word for today for all of us Christians in South Korea is this:

“Then Jesus told them, ‘You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.’” (John 12:35)

Warmly in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Eric Foley
CEO,  Voice of the Martyrs Korea
July 5, 2020

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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4 Responses to “Why can’t you just stop launching for a while?”: A word to Christians around the world about our situation in South Korea

  1. Ruth Thomas says:

    So much in our prayers, our Korean family. Courage and love. Praying now.

  2. CW Keegan says:

    I have followed your website for the past 6 years and have read the majority of the books you have written. This article, as short as it is, sums up everything you have written about from the pureness and Christ Beauty of the underground church and the parallel of the “Free” Church not only in Korea but in America too.
    Over the past couple of years, I have been able to speak to my small group about the Persecuted Church on a few occasions, only to find very little knowledge not only in the subject but on the vastness and scale on an international level.
    The last time I spoke on the subject, I concentrated on the warning signs happening right now in America. Using your materials and books I showed the danger signs that are appearing and what must happen to keep the church pure and based on Faith in Christ alone. Although my small audience was attentive it appeared not to be a priority.
    With all that is happening now in this country, for the first time I fear for my fellow Christians in America.
    Please keep us in your prayers.

    • tdillmuth says:

      Thanks CW for this encouraging message. At times we are in awe with the love, support and prayers we receive from around the world.I am praying for you right now as I’m typing up this reply. ~ Pastor Tim

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