“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