Bold Believers in North Korea includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where citizens are forbidden to practice Christianity. The 54-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.
Published on February 16th, 2018
The Voice of the Martyrs USA is part of a worldwide family of missions that were started through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. Stef is SDOK’s children’s publication and website.
The following story comes from Stef magazine.
Close to the Border
Hi, I’m Ching. I have a brother, a father, and a mother. My father is half Chinese and half Korean. He studied to become a pastor. When he was finished with his studies, he was asked to be a pastor at a church in China near the North Korean border.
My father prayed about it, and then he knew, “Yes, that is my place.”
My father was only there for a short time when a famine broke out in North Korea. It was really terrible. The people were very hungry. Many tried to cross the border into China. They were desperately looking for food, medicine, and clothing.
Building with a Cross
Our church has a big cross on it. North Koreans had learned that they could find help at a special building with a cross. When they came to our church, they saw love in the eyes of my father.
Many people came to faith in Christ at the church. My father trained them to go back to North Korea to tell their people about Jesus. They knew it would be dangerous work. But my father said, “It’s better to die with God than to live in a free land without Him.”
Chinese and South Korean officers warned my father, “Your life is in danger [from enemies in North Korea who don’t like Christians].” I heard my parents talk about it. They thought about quitting their work with North Koreans. But God let them know they had to continue. They sent my brother and me to a safer school.
The Word Continues
One day my father got a phone call. My mother didn’t know who was on the line, but it seemed to be someone my father knew. She heard him say, “I’m coming!”
By dinnertime, my father had not come home. Church members went on a search for him. They found his car on the border. He was in it. North Koreans had paid someone to attack him, and he died.
We are sad that my dear father is no longer here. In the beginning, my mother was really angry. I believe that she is not angry anymore. She prays a lot that the North Korean leader will come to know God.
We live in the same place, and we go to the same church. But things have changed. My mother does not dare to help the North Koreans anymore.
But do you know what I like? A lot of people who my father helped now believe in God, and they do the same work he did. So the work for God continues.
Please join Ching’s mother in praying that North Korea’s leader will come to know God, and pray for Ching’s family.
(Source: SDOK. Translated and edited. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)
Published on February 15th, 2018
Fax: An image of a document transmitted by a telephone line. Fax machines are used less often today because advances in technology have improved other methods of sending documents.
Dr. Eric Foley, the president of VOM-Korea, told the following story about a creative way that Christians found to send the gospel message into North Korea.
Dr. Foley: Underground Christians in North Korea gathered more than 650 fax numbers of North Korean officials, hotels, government offices, and others. They sent those to us. Christian North Korean students living in South Korea wrote out gospel testimonies and Scripture every week. We would blast fax all those faxes inside North Korea, and we would change the fax number every week. It drove the North Koreans crazy.
You know, there are certain things the North Koreans hate. They hate radio, they hate Scripture balloons, and they really hated the faxes. So they responded with a fax to an embassy in Europe, but it was really to us. It said, “We know you dirty people. We know who you are, and it will not go well for you if you continue.” I remember sitting down with our kids, and saying, “What do you think about this situation? We don’t want to put you guys in danger.” Our daughter said, “Dad, that is what being a Christian is.” She was 13 at the time.
Fear is an entirely understandable reaction to North Korea, but I would challenge all Christians that any time they feel a fear related to news from North Korea that they would stop themselves and say, “Instead of being afraid, I want to intercede for the people of North Korea.”
Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, age-appropriateness, and clarity.
Published on February 14th, 2018
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14. But why? Many buy cards and candied hearts and do not know there was a man named Valentine. Who was the man behind this holiday that has become known for cupid, chocolate, roses, and love notes saying, “Be my Valentine?”
(Source: The Story of St. Valentine: More Than Cards and Candied Hearts)
Christian history describes several men named Valentine (or Valentinus), and even a women named Valentina. Legends tell about the courage of a Valentine who died for his faith on February 14th. The legends encourage Christians to boldly stand up for Jesus in the face of struggles.
Valentine and the Emperor
One of the legends tells of a harsh Roman emperor, Claudius. The emperor conquered tribes that tried to invade Rome. But more and more tribes were becoming a threat. Claudius needed more soldiers, but few men wanted to leave their wives and families to serve as soldiers for 25 years.
So Claudius made a law against weddings! If men did not marry, they would be more willing to be soldiers.
Young men and women who were engaged were heartbroken.
Valentinus (Valentine) secretly joined couples in marriage. “Marriage was God’s idea!” he said. “No emperor can hinder what God created!”
Valentinus was arrested, and just like Christians in many countries today, he continued to speak the truth ever after his arrest.
The Story of St. Valentine: More Than Cards and Candied Hearts is available at VOMBooks.com.
Published on February 13th, 2018
Robert Thomas was a missionary to China, but he also wanted to go to Korea and share the gospel with Koreans who had never heard of Jesus. When Thomas heard about an American who was sailing to Korea to buy and sell goods, he offered to serve as a translator.
Thomas had learned some Korean while on another short visit to Korea. The captain agreed to take Thomas aboard, and the ship sailed into the Yellow Sea, then up a Korean river toward Pyongyang. Thomas took a case of Bibles with him on the journey.
Korea was called “the hermit kingdom” because Koreans did not like visitors or traders from other countries. (A hermit is someone who lives alone and does not spend time with other people.) The captain hoped to change their minds. But the Koreans did not welcome the men on the ship. Thomas translated while the captain talked with Korean messengers.
After a time, their peaceful discussion turned to anger. Then the ship got stuck on a sandbar and could not leave. The Koreans threw rocks and burning sticks onto the ship, and the ship’s crew fired guns toward the Koreans.
Precious to the Lord
Thomas threw Bibles to the shore and tried to talk to the Koreans about making peace. He asked God to help him. Then the Koreans filled a small boat with tree branches and set them on fire. They pushed the boat toward Thomas’s ship, and the ship caught on fire. The ship’s crew jumped into the river as the ship began to sink. Thomas made it to shore with a Bible. When he saw that he was going to be killed, he held out the Bible to a Korean man and said, “Jesus, Jesus.”
Robert Thomas was 26 years old when he died. Some might say that his life was wasted. But God’s ways are not our ways. The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).
Years later, an American missionary visited a guesthouse in Korea and noticed unusual paper on the walls. Many guests came to the house to read the writing on the wallpaper. The owner of the house, Mr. Park, had covered the walls with pages of the Bible that Robert Thomas had offered to his killers. Mr. Park had also read the walls and given his life to Christ. Mr. Park’s nephew attended a Bible college, and he later helped complete a Korean translation of the Bible that was easier to understand than the Bible that the Koreans had been reading up to that time.
(Source: Restricted Nations:North Korea, available from VOMBooks.com.)
Watch a video clip about Robert Thomas here.
Learn more about Thomas and 15 other Christian heroes in The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book and DVD set, available at VOMBooks.com. The book includes 144 pages of stories, devotionals, challenging coloring pages, extreme dot-to-dots, crafts, and activities related to the 16 heroes on the accompanying Torchlighters DVDs.
Published on February 12th, 2018
What were the first words you learned as a baby? “Mama” or “Dada” are the first words of many babies.
“But that’s not really good in North Korea,” said Dr. Eric Foley, the president of VOM-Korea.
The government of North Korea expects people to follow the teachings of Juche (JOO-chay). Juche teaches that human beings are the masters of everything. (Learn more about Juche here.)
Citizens of North Korea must honor:
*Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s first leader, who died in 1994
*Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung’s son, who died in 2011
*And Kim Jong Un, Kim Il Sung’s grandson, who now leads the country.
According to Dr. Foley, 43,000 centers across North Korea teach Juche beliefs. And 100 percent of the people must be involved in honoring the leaders. Following Christ is not allowed.
So, if a North Korean baby’s first words are something like mama or dada, the baby’s parents might keep it secret. They don’t want government officials to think their family members are more important to them than the Kim family. If friends ask about the baby’s first words, the parents will often not tell the truth. They will say, instead, that the baby’s words were words from Juche teachings.
Pray that North Korean babies will learn that Jesus loves them.