Secular movies are usually not known for their evangelistic impact, but according to one of several letters from North Korean underground Christians recently received by Voice of the Martyrs Korea, a family inside North Korea became Christians by seeing characters praying and going to church in various Russian movies.
“One family living in North Korea watched some Russian movies where people prayed and went to church and made the sign of the cross, so the family modeled what they saw and learned how to pray from the movies,” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley.
According to Dr. Foley, the family said they did not know to whom they were praying.
“One of the family members then went to China and heard the gospel preached by somebody they met,” says Representative Foley. “The family member asked to be taken to a church, just as they had seen in the movies. There they were able to learn about the basics of the faith, the Apostle’s Creed, and forgiveness.”
Representative Foley says that the family member then returned to North Korea to share what they learned with their family.
The letter was one of several recently received from underground Christians in North Korea, according to Representative Foley. Her organization, Voice of the Martyrs Korea, distributes 40,000 to 50,000 North Korean dialect Bibles a year in print and electronic formats to North Koreans inside North Korea, as well as to North Korean sex-trafficked women in China and North Koreans sent to work abroad by the North Korean government. She says that North Koreans who receive the Bibles sometimes send back notes of thanks through the organization’s contacts.
Bibles and small personal gift items sent to North Koreans through Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s distribution network.
Representative Foley shared the contents of three additional letters from underground North Korean Christians inside North Korea. The text of those letters follows:
“We humans need to know in our hearts that the whole world cannot turn by the power of humans. I pray in my heart for the love of God to be spread abroad to the people of our country, which is slipping down” – Underground NK Christian A
“This is something that we feel as we live in the world of humans, but this world is a lump of sin. But those who are children of God repent of their sin to the Lord and really feel deeply in their hearts that everything is going well by the love and grace of God.” – Underground NK Christian B
“The Lord has opened a great door of salvation to our lives but there are so many lives who are dying because they do not know this blessed news. The Lord has called us first for this work. In Matthew 28:19-20, He said “Therefore, you go and make disciples of all peoples, give them baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teach them to keep all of the things I have commanded you. Behold, I am always with you to the last day of the world.” He said that the gospel will be testified to and in doing so He will always be together to the last day of the world.” – Underground NK Christian C
Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, meets with one of our partners who helps to distribute NK dialect Bibles.
Representative Foley says she believes the letters reflect a growing knowledge of the Bible and biblical themes among North Korean underground believers as well as other North Koreans. She says the Bible is growing in its impact on North Korea—something she believes that independent surveys are also confirming.
“The North Korean Human Rights Information Center, an independent data-gathering NGO, has been conducting an ongoing study where they found that in the year 2000, effectively 0% of people inside North Korea had ever seen a Bible with their own eyes,” says Representative Foley. “They have continued to update that study, and at the end of 2020 they determined that around 8% of people inside of North Korea have now seen a Bible with their own eyes.”
She says that number is likely to have increased even further during the COVID pandemic. “The requests for Bibles from North Koreans outside of South Korea doubled each year during the pandemic,” she says. Her organization does not disclose information about the means used to receive and fulfill the requests they receive for Bibles, citing concerns for the safety of Bible couriers and recipients. “Anyone bringing the Bible into North Korea from any country in any format, whether printed or electronic, using any means of distribution, remains at risk of prosecution, imprisonment, and even death,” says Representative Foley.
Representative Foley says her organization publishes select letters from North Korean Bible recipients in order to help Christians outside of North Korea understand the impact the Bible is having today inside of North Korea. “Today is the day for gospel ministry to North Korea,” she says. “The Bible is continuing to get inside North Korea today, and more North Koreans are reading it and being transformed by it today than literally any other time in history.”
Individuals or churches interested in supporting Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s North Korea ministry can make a donation at www.vomkorea.com/en/donate or wire transfer to:
국민은행 (KB Bank) 463501-01-243303
예금주 (Account Holder): (사)순교자의소리
Please include the phrase “NK Ministry” with the donation.