Bible distribution to North Koreans continues to be double that of the same period last year, according to Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley. The ministry credits the Coronavirus for the heightened interest of North Koreans, as well as for new avenues for distribution.
“North Koreans are looking for hope in this time of pandemic, and they are finding it in the Bible,” says Representative Foley. “Even though the North Korean authorities make the ordinary laborers work as hard as ever, they seem to be fearful about catching the virus from them. That ‘social distancing’ creates some opportunities for covert Bible distribution that we have not had previously.”
Voice of the Martyrs Korea supplies audio and printed North Korean dialect Bibles to North Koreans inside North Korea, as well as to North Korean laborers working abroad and North Korean sex trafficked women in China. The Bibles are hand–distributed one at a time directly to recipients as part of small care packages containing other items like masks, medicines, and hygiene items. The distribution is done by underground Christians from North Korea and the other countries where Voice of the Martyrs Korea reaches North Korean citizens. Representative Foley says that so far in 2020, 2,630 audio and print Bibles have been individually hand-distributed, in addition to 11,928 launched into North Korea by balloons and rice bottles, as confirmed by GPS tracking. The Bible is also read nightly on Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s four shortwave and AM radio broadcasts. Representative Foley says that the ministry plans to send out approximately 40,000 North Korean Bibles this year.
Representative Foley likens the person-to-person Bible distribution strategy to that of pioneering missionary John Ross.
“Missionary Ross believed that people could meet Jesus directly through reading or hearing a vernacular language Bible,” says Representative Foley. “The most interesting aspect of the testimonial letters we receive back from these current North Korean Bible recipients is that their Christian language and thought in the letters is very raw. It comes only from the Bible, not from additional training from churches or missionaries. One letter says in part, ‘It looks like everything in my life is transforming into a new creation. Thank you for those who are sending the “new world”.’ They are being discipled only by the Holy Spirit guiding their Bible reading and listening. I think Missionary Ross would be delighted by that.”
The ministry released six letters it received this past week from North Korean Bible recipients. The letters are shown here, with slight alterations in appearance to ensure the safety of the writers.
Representative Foley says that the unexpected increase in demand has caused Voice of the Martyrs Korea to have to plan for an additional printing of North Korean Bibles this year.
“It’s a nice problem to have, really,” says Representative Foley. “The reprint will cost approximately 40,000,000 KRW, but already we received a single donation of 10,000,000 KRW toward the project. We are trusting the Lord to supply the rest.”
“Who can send his only son to save other people? For mere human beings, this is a very difficult concept that God sent his only Son Jesus to save us. I have finally found the amazing news. I have been educated and thought it was accidental and natural that the earth began to form and that monkeys became humans. As I was listening to the audio Bible, I have received this amazing news that God has saved the world through his suffering. God please forgive us, human beings, who distressed you. We will give our lives in return for God’s passionate love.”
“When I had lived a comfortable, happy life, I was not able to fully grasp the full heart of God the Father. But, I have finally come to understand his heart through suffering and hardship. Dear God, please give your comfort to our hearts. We are truly thankful for your grace and love through this gift [ministry pack and audio Bible]. Our heart to trust, rely on, and follow you will never change.”
“We have come to [worksite name omitted] where we are [work type omitted]. We are locked up all day here. We cannot even go out. We have met good leaders here that have given us audio Bibles. When we were given [the audio Bibles], we were earnestly requested to listen to it secretly only at nighttime in order to avoid the eyes of our state security comrades. We are encouraged to work throughout difficult nights as we are listening to the stories and songs. Thank you for giving [the ministry packs]. We are in an area where there is nothing to see or hear. We are sending our gratitude on behalf of all NKs in my group. We will keep these precious gifts for sure.”
“Who could send God’s words to such people like us? We are writing letters to good people of God who risk their lives to send us this audio Bible. The first word that is penetrating my heart is that Jesus came down to earth to be crucified and resurrected and ascended and now is in heaven. I have come to have this question: What would our lives be without the presence of God? It looks like everything in my life is transforming into a new creation. Thank you for those who are sending the ‘new world’.”
“We give thanks to those who are sending God’s love in this pandemic. We are also thankful for all gifts [ministry packs]. Thank you for awakening us and understanding our situation. Every time we listen to the stories, we feel peaceful and too good.”
“I have received very dangerous videos and music files. If someone watches and hears it in NK, not just himself but his whole family will be arrested and sent to a concentration camp. It (MP4) will secretly be distributed in market. Everyone financially suffers enormously through this difficult season (pandemic) because of restrictions on travel and border closures. However, I have seen hope and come out of fear as I encountered God for the first time (as I listened to the audio bible). I look for the day when more people believe in God than in Juche ideology. Respect! “
Individuals or churches interested in supporting Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s North Korean Bible project can make a donation via website or wire transfer to:
- VOM Korea website: www.vomkorea.com/en/donation
- Wire Transfer: 국민은행 (KB Bank) 463501-01-243303, Account Holder: (사)순교자의소리
- (For wire transfers, please include “NK Bible” in the memo along with your name. Donations without a clear designation will be considered general donation.)