Dear Friends, this is David Telbat. Thanks for joining us today! With the soon release of Distant Harm’s adventure inside North Korea, you may be interested in finding out a little more about the country. Below are a couple resources that helped me when I was researching for Distant Harm, Book Three in The COIL Legacy Series. I urge you to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters inside this repressive nation. Check out these resources in considering how to pray.
Voice of the Martyrs
VOM has a thin book simply titled, North Korea, with the subtitle: Good News Reaches the Hermit Kingdom. This small publication will offer you a brief history of North Korea and the persecution that has taken place on the peninsula long before the north and south became separate countries.
Many in America today are not familiar with the Christian education that Pyongyang once offered, boasting more Christians and Christian institutions than anywhere else in Asia. Many missionaries in Asia sent their children to the boarding schools in Pyongyang during the early 1900’s, because the schools were top-notch.
However, with war came persecution and eventually, the compromise of many foreign Christians in Korea. This book explains why North Korea’s regime views Christians as enemies. In short, the attitude came because of the way many believers felt abandoned during the war with Japan. This sentiment was bolstered with the coming of communism and the Juche idea, which enforces a type of cult-like dictator worship that is incompatible with the gospel of Christ. With so many unknowns about North Korea, this excellent book can get you up to speed in no time. You can find this 112-page volume at Voice of the Martyrs here.
Back To Jerusalem
Back To Jerusalem, spawned from Chinese Christians themselves, has impacted North Korea more directly than other efforts. They have a number of developing reports and at least one book that shares about the history of North Korea as well as the spread of Christianity in that underground church right now.
I liked how their book titled Crimson Crucible emphasized that God has worked mightily amongst the Korean Christians who have suffered the greatest inside North Korea. Our Westernized mindset thinks that the discomfort of persecution is so tragic, and that it is only saddening and pointless, but God has used persecution to develop a strong generation of North Korean believers.
These are believers who are often pitied by the West, since North Koreans are poor and have very few possessions. But Chinese contacts have reported that the underground church inside North Korea is remarkably faithful and pure. They say it would be impacted negatively if the West tried to reach these believers with materialism, as if riches were necessary for maturity in Christ. You can find the Crimson Crucible on the Back To Jerusalem site here.
Distant Harm is just a Glimpse
To write Distant Harm, I used both books above, as well as a few other private resources, to portray life inside North Korea. But my fictional book is just a glimpse of the suffering and devotion of Christians inside this ravaged country. We may be shocked at the harsh conditions, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit inside its borders that makes the story of North Korea one worth admiring and following right now.
If you don’t know much about North Korea, Distant Harm may give you a glimpse of the conditions and mindset both inside Pyongyang and outside the city in the labor camps sprinkled across the country. VOM and Back to Jerusalem are real ministries involved in hands-on efforts to support believers today inside North Korea. Their books and monthly newsletters can help us all stay informed to know how best to pray for God’s people there.
See you on your knees!
NOTE: Please be in prayer this week for American Pastor Andrew Brunson who has been incarcerated in Turkey for his faith since Oct 2016. We have friends who know this family well and verify that his charges have been fabricated and that he is being used as a political pawn. His trial is scheduled for April 16. Please pray for him and his family and for God to enable his release. You can learn about his case here, which includes a short video of his adult daughter speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, March 2018.
COMING UP: Join us next time for D.I. Telbat’s short story, “One Arm for Two.”