Dear Friends, The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is upon us. I have written, “Safe and Secure,” a Short Story for IDOP, to remember the persecuted church, and our brothers and sisters in chains around the world. The story focus is on North Korea, about which I’m also writing the next COIL Legacy novel, Distant Harm, and soon releasing an unrelated novel, Fury in the Storm, set in and around North Korea as well. But we know there are many other countries that are antagonistic toward Christianity. May God comfort the persecuted in their sacrifice, and give them strength and courage to share Jesus, even while bound. Joining you on your knees, David Telbat.
Safe and Secure
by D.I. Telbat
Ray Hoffson knelt through the night in his prison cell, though he’d lost track of time. Occasionally, the other prisoners whispered and drew near him in the darkness, but mostly they left him alone. They knew he was wrestling with the news he’d received the evening before.
In the footsteps of other faith missionaries, Ray, an Australian, had offered his whole life to sharing the love of Jesus in areas of the world that were either closed to Christianity, or forgotten by the wealthy nations. He’d distributed Bibles to Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon, and smuggled Rohingya believers through the jungles of Myanmar into Bangladesh.
For the last year, Ray had been a prisoner at an interrogation camp in a northern region of North Korea. He’d been shocked to find that the contacts he’d used to slip into the country through China’s border had in fact been Secret Police agents who’d arrested him before he’d spent even one hour in the country.
The first days of his captivity and subsequent torture had been depressing, and Ray felt like a failure for trusting the wrong people. But after many months in the prison, he’d learned that the failure had been on the attempt of the police to silence the gospel in their country. Many prisoners housed with Ray had come to Christ because of his example of faith.
Ray was tortured more than any other prisoner in the interrogation prison. The agents hadn’t bothered to question him about his intentions in North Korea, because he’d been forthcoming from the beginning. He knew of no underground contacts to hide from their intelligence officers. Instead, they tortured him because he threatened their idea of who God was.
Since North Koreans were told to pray to their Supreme Leader, the head of state, Ray naturally contradicted their ideas of faith, prayer, and deity. Ray spoke of the loving Creator who had come as a Man to rescue sinners from guilt and shame. He tried to tell his persecutors that he would teach North Koreans to honor, respect, and pray for the dictator of their country, but no one listened. They simply pulled out his fingernails and burned him with brands.
After months of torture, Ray’s body bore the marks of horrific inventions to cause him pain, but he’d clung to only one reality through it all, and it was enough—his body was passing away, but his soul was safe and secure in the arms of Jesus.
When the morning ration of rice came through the door, Ray rose to his feet. His portion was allotted to him, but Ray handed it to the slender man next to him. None of the other prisoners objected. It made sense to Ray that he give his food away to those who would be alive after that day. After all, Ray was to be executed that morning.
“I’ve prayed through the night,” Ray said to the thirteen other men in the cell. They huddled close for warmth as well as to hear Ray’s soft voice. “Through prayer, I’ve found strength to rely on the Lord every day I’ve been in here. I’m not special, though my God has treated me with much grace to come here and meet you all. I’ve told you about Jesus, and some of you have confessed that He is now your Master for eternity. This is the reason for my hope, my feeling of safety, and my sense of security. The God of heaven and earth does not abandon His children.”
Keys jangled outside the door, and the prisoners embraced Ray as he made his way to the door. The door opened wide, and his executioners held clubs ready to strike, but Ray didn’t fight them. It was time to go home. And by prayer, he’d found the strength in Christ to die well.
Ray Hoffson left behind hundreds of converts when he was executed that morning. His time in North Korea had not been wasted.
The End of “Safe and Secure,” a Short Story for IDOP.
Read another IDOP post by David titled, “How to Pray for the Persecuted Church.” And here are a couple other short stories you might enjoy as well: “Tested by Fear,” and, “Printing Bibles in China.” You can find many more D.I. Telbat Christian short stories here.
NOTE: We have a new FREE PDF Download for you! It’s an Ordered List of ALL D.I. Telbat Novels & Series, with a suggestion of the best order to read them, plus the relationships between the series! We pray it helps you keep all David’s books straight. 🙂 Thanks, Janet, for this idea!
NOVEL UPDATE: FURY in the STORM (previously published as Sea Scribe) has been sent to our Beta Readers! TEARS in the WIND, Book Two of The Leeward Set, is working its way through the editing process. Keep your eyes on our book pages and our Novel News Page for news as it comes!
Prayer Prompt: Please remember to pray for Asia Bibi, in a Pakistani prison (read about her case here), and Andrew Brunson, an American in a prison in Turkey, (read about him here). Pray that God will comfort them, give them His strength, and for courage to speak boldly for Christ even while in chains.
COMING UP: Join us next time for a look at David’s new upcoming novels in, “God’s Protective Hand in New Series—The Leeward Set.”