Preparing for Underground Church…at campsite seminars!

Every Tuesday night, Pastor Eric Foley and Dr Hyun Sook Foley sleep in a camping car in a different campground in the Korean countryside. Their goal is not to take a rest from the hustle and bustle of their daily life in Seoul but instead to help Christians remember what they once knew about the Christian faith but which the Foleys say they have forgotten as Christianity has became wealthier and more socially acceptable over several generations.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea co-founders Pastor Eric Foley and Dr. Hyun Sook Foley leading a “Preparing for the Underground Church” campsite seminar in a tent at a Korean campsite. 

“We call it our ‘Preparing for the Underground Church’ campground seminar,” says Dr Hyun Sook Foley, who along with her husband founded Voice of the Martyrs Korea twenty years ago in order to learn from and support persecuted Christians in North Korea.

Today the organization partners with persecuted Christians in more than 70 countries, and the couple regularly travels to share what they have learned from persecuted Christians in speaking events around the world and at churches across Korea, including Korea’s famous megachurches. But according to the Foleys, they are happiest speaking at the weekly campsite events for the small number of Christians who come out to see them in the Korean countryside.

“Back in 2017 my husband wrote a series of three books called the ‘Preparing for the Underground Church’ series, to help Christians in so-called ‘free’ countries prepare for the coming persecution of Christians by remembering what all Christians once knew but which today only Christians in persecuted countries seem to remember,” says Representative Foley. “At the time they were published, Korean Christians said, ‘Why do we need to know these things? Our country is different.’ So few copies were sold. But then COVID hit, and the Sexual Revolution spread across Korea. Today, the books have become best-sellers in Korea and have been translated into several different languages. We receive so many offers from the Korean megachurches who say, ‘Come here, and we’ll gather a thousand pastors for a seminar on preparing for the underground church.’ But Pastor Foley and I realized that a big part of preparing for underground church is going to places where you normally don’t go, and meeting in ways you normally don’t meet. So we declined the offers from the megachurches, purchased a used camping car, and started booking spots at campsites.”

Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley at the ministry’s camping car. The ministry does weekly “Preparing for the Underground Church” seminars at campsites across Korea.

“Each Tuesday night we gather together at the campsite for dinner with the attendees, and we each bring a side dish,” says Representative Foley. “Then after dinner I do a presentation on the history and ministry philosophy of Voice of the Martyrs Korea. The informal setting enables us to continue talking into the evening.”

The main event is on Wednesday, when the Foleys present their one-day “Preparing for the Underground Church” seminar. “It’s not about presenting any special or unique teaching,” says Representative Foley. “In fact, it’s more about setting aside all the special or unique teachings that Korean churches tend to focus on these days and instead getting back to the basic message of the sufficiency of Christ and his word. We remind attendees that the church comes into existence when the word of God is received in faith, and the church goes out of existence when the word of God is no longer received as sufficient. We remind attendees that faithful witness to the sufficiency of Christ is what produces persecution, so persecution should not be feared but rather seen as the world’s act of self-defense against the trust of the gospel. We encourage attendees not to be worried as the Lord removes some of the externals from our churches and our lives that we wrongly assume are necessary to live as faithful believers. It’s really about a return to the basics of the Christian life, which is what persecuted Christians remind us not to forget.”

Representative Foley says that the couple began doing the seminars in the wintertime when temperatures were well below zero. Even then, she said, Christians came.

“We huddled together around the kerosene heater and ate ramyun,” she laughs. “It was a really precious time.”

Voice of the Martyrs Korea uses their tent to host groups of 10 to 15 Christians each week for “Preparing for the Underground Church” campsite seminars led by the organization’s co-founders, Pastor Eric Foley and Dr. Hyun Sook Foley.

Now in the warmer weather, Representative Foley says that doing a seminar at a campsite offers distinct advantages. “It’s really a pleasant time,” she says. “We sit outside the camping car and talk on Tuesday evening. We eat outside in the sunshine during the lunch break on Wednesday. Everyone brings food to share. There is time for good conversation and interaction. People always leave feeling like the Lord reminded them of what they once knew but have forgotten amidst the focus on the external, non-essential things of the Christian life.

Typically 10 to 15 people are in attendance, says Representative Foley.

“We don’t charge for the events, and attendees are surprised how freely they are able to interact with us,” she says. “One attendee last week said, ‘Pastor Foley is so famous. I am shocked that I could come and meet and talk with him like this!’ But people who know Pastor Foley will understand that even though he speaks all over the world, it is in small groups like this that he feels the important work of the ministry is done.”

Representative Foley says that the seminar attendees represent a broad range of Korean Christians. “We had a pastor from Gangnam last week, sitting next to a pastor couple from a small Baptist church nearby,” she says. “There are seminary students, seminary dropouts, deacons, elders, Christians who have no position in their churches, and even foreigners.” Attendance requires prior registration through Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s volunteer department and is open to evangelical Protestant Christians.

The Foleys follow a circuit of eight cities, going to a different campsite near each city each week and then beginning the circuit again once they complete their visits. Representative Foley says they plan to continue the seminars well into the future. “Pastor Foley likes to quote the early Korean Christian Kim Gyo Shin. The Lord told him, ‘Go to the countryside to comfort a woodcutter.’ Kim Gyo Shin died before he could follow the Lord’s instruction. So we are taking up that instruction and plan to continue going into the countryside to ‘comfort the woodcutters’ each week as long as the Lord permits us.”

Individuals interested in attending an upcoming “Preparing for the Underground Church” campsite seminar can call Voice of the Martyrs Korea volunteer department at +82-2-2065-0703 for more information.

The ‘Preparing for the Underground Church’ series of books was written by Pastor Eric Foley in 2017. The books are available in Korean, Chinese, Russian, and English through Voice of the Martyrs Korea. 

Pastor Foley’s Preparing for the Underground Church series is available in Korean, English, Russian, and Chinese through the Voice of the Martyrs Korea or via Amazon. The first book, Preparing for the Underground Church, defines “underground church” and helps Christians in so-called “free” countries understand and respond to the growing social hostility toward Christians in these countries. The second book, Planting the Underground Church, offers 12 recommendations to churches on how to operate in a future of heightened government surveillance and control. The third book, Living in the Underground Church, shows how Christians can restore family worship to the central place in church life. Further information on all three books is available at or by calling +82-2-2065-0703.

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Voice of the Martyrs Russian Language Unit Joins Voice of the Martyrs Korea

Voice of the Martyrs Korea announced today that the Voice of the Martyrs Russian language unit has joined its ministry.

“The Voice of the Martyrs Russian language unit has over one hundred years of combined experience in translating, publishing, and distributing books, videos, and electronic media to persecuted Christians in Russian speaking countries.” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr Hyun Sook Foley. “For decades they have kept alive the original ministry that Voice of the Martyrs founder Rev. Richard Wurmbrand began more than 70 years ago: providing Russian speaking Christians with the gospel resources they need to make a faithful witness for Christ to their persecutors.”

The unit also continues to produce resources in Ukrainian and more than a dozen other languages across the former Soviet Union, Representative Foley says. The unit has been responsible for the translation and publication of more than 700 books and video resources.

According to Representative Foley, the decision to integrate the work of the Voice of the Martyrs Russian language unit with Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s own Russian language team was an easy one.

“Each Voice of the Martyrs organization around the world is independent, and the Voice of the Martyrs Russian language unit previously worked under the oversight of one of our sister VOMs,” said Representative Foley. “But our own Voice of the Martyrs Korea Russian language work has grown to the point where Russian speakers around the world are actually our largest constituency, even more than Korean speakers. It was clear that combining the teams under the oversight of Voice of the Martyrs Korea was in the best interests of everyone—especially the Christians we are serving.”

Representative Foley says that the newly combined Russian language unit will be called, “Голос мучеников, a ministry of Voice of the Martyrs Korea”. VOMK’s Russian language website will become, while its Russian language Facebook page will remain The new team will continue to produce both digital and print editions of the Voice of the Martyrs Russian language newsletter, available for subscription through the website. Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s Korean language ministry remains unchanged.

Individuals interested in learning more about Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work with persecuted Russian language believers can visit

A selection of Russian language resources produced by Voice of the Martyrs Korea and the Voice of the Martyrs Russian language unit, which have now merged under Voice of the Martyrs Korea.
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As China blocks Christian Internet, gatherings, and stores, Christians are turning to radio

As Chinese authorities continue to raid worship services, block Christian websites, and track down and punish Christian book buyers, Christians are returning to a World War II-era technology to spread the gospel:

Shortwave radio.

“People tend to think of shortwave radio as antiquated technology,” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr Hyun Sook Foley. “But shortwave radio broadcasting is actually experiencing a major upsurge in China.”

A Voice of the Martyrs Korea staff member records a Chinese language shortwave broadcast. The ministry airs two shortwave radio broadcasts daily into China.

Representative Foley points to the increase in shortwave radio broadcasting in China by the world’s two largest radio broadcasters, the US and Chinese governments.

According to Representative Foley, the Chinese government continues to be the world’s leading shortwave radio broadcaster. “China state radio transmits over 400 hours daily to its population via shortwave, with almost 200 different programs in five languages on a wide range of frequencies. China is also the largest producer of shortwave radios. Alibaba offers over 1,000 different models, and tens of millions of shortwave radios are sold annually in China.”

Representative Foley notes that the U.S. government considered reducing its shortwave broadcasting into China in the mid-2010s but instead decided to maintain and subsequently increase its shortwave program delivery. “There are now unprecedented levels of shortwave broadcasting by the U.S. government into China,” says Representative Foley. She notes that Voice of the Martyrs Korea does not accept funding from or cooperate with any government or government-sponsored agency on its radio or other projects.

But it’s not only governments who are reviving shortwave radio use in China. It’s Christians.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea, began broadcasting two daily shortwave radio programs into China in May 2022. The programs feature sermons from jailed Christian pastors like Early Rain Covenant Church Pastor Wang Yi, as well as lectures, readings from Chinese Christian books, and teachings on being a faithful witness to Christ in the midst of suffering.

According to Representative Foley, the organization receives regular contact from listeners verifying their ability to access the broadcasts. But Representative Foley says the best proof of the programs’ effectiveness is the consistent effort by Chinese authorities to jam the broadcasts.

“China is far too big for nationwide jamming of shortwave signals, so authorities target their jamming of our broadcasts to regions with large populations, like Beijing and Hong Kong,” says Representative Foley. “So, the farther away from those cities, the more fully received are our broadcasts.” But Representative Foley says that quick work by her organization’s engineering partners enables the organization to make slight adjustments to their frequency and work around the jamming efforts even in major cities. “Our broadcasts are being received across China every day, in spite of authorities’ best efforts to block them,” says Representative Foley.

A recording sent to Voice of the Martyrs Korea by a listener verifying access to the broadcast.

According to Representative Foley, not only has the tightening of China’s laws on religion played a role in the move to shortwave radio by her organization, but even more so China’s intensifying cyber-monitoring and use of a “social credit” system to control individual media use and to track down and punish individuals who purchase banned Christian books.

“In China, VPN use is tracked. Christians commenting on websites are tracked. Even Christians purchasing Christian books through stores and websites are tracked and punished,” says Representative Foley. “Christian shortwave radio broadcasts are now the only media through which Chinese Christians can safely and anonymously access Christian content every day. With tens of millions of shortwave radios sold annually in China, and the Chinese government itself broadcasting extensively on shortwave radio, it is simply impossible for them to know who is using shortwave radios to listen to Christian broadcasts. And since Christian shortwave radio broadcasts are mostly of sermons and other spoken audio content, the quality of shortwave is more than sufficient. This World War II-era technology is well suited to spread the gospel throughout China in the 21st century.”

Individuals interested in learning about Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work in partnership with the house church Christians of China can visit

Individuals interested in donating to Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work in partnership with the house church Christians of China can visit or give via electronic transfer to:

KB Bank: 463501-01-243303

Account Holder: (사)순교자의소리

Please note “China” on the transfer

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