Airlift into North Korea

Resourceful South Korean Christians are spreading the Gospel as they seal copies of the Story of Jesus into individual plastic packages, attach a balloon, then release the bundle into the air heading north. When the booklets release over North Korea, chances are good that someone who has never heard the Good News will pick up one.

The airborne booklet is a new, special edition of the Story of Jesus. As with all David C Cook programs, it is a joint project: this time in cooperation with Seoul USA, a group that has extensive experience working with defectors from North Korea. Seoul USA knows how to present the Gospel to the closed society of the North, where an atheist and totalitarian government blocks all contact with the outside world.

North Koreans are so isolated that they speak a dialect quite different from the Korean spoken in the South, and so the North Korean version required special translation skills, and is also organized differently from other versions of the Story of Jesus to make certain the message communicates well with its readers.

Airlift into North KoreaStacks of cartons filled with the booklets have just arrived at Seoul USA offices in Korea. In coming months the Story of Jesus will enable at least 100,000 North Koreans to receive a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Reaching so many people requires multiple strategies. 70% of the people escaping the repressive North do so by crossing the border into China. So, 70,000 copies of the 100,000 are for those refugees, mostly women, many of them victims of human trafficking. At border crossings, Christians quickly come to their aid with temporary housing and food, and then help them find permanent residence in a third country, often South Korea.  The people also receive copies of the Story of Jesus. (NOTE: CNN on March 25 posted a front-page story of a woman and her daughters who escaped from North Korea through China and became Christians in the process. It is a pattern we see with tens of thousands of  people and the reason for this outreach.)

Another 15,000 copies are for those escaping North Korea via Russia. Yet another 5,000 will go to the North Koreans arriving in South Korea by other means, yet never having heard the Good News.

Airlift into North KoreaThe remaining 10,000 copies, filling out this year’s total for Korea, are those in the airlift. The picture at the right shows the flight “vehicles,” similar to weather balloons.  Each carries a payload of 120 copies of the Story of Jesus individually sealed in airtight, thick plastic for protection (see top picture) so they arrive in good condition if it rains or they land in water.

The launch team checks wind direction and sets a timer for the drop to happen after one to three hours of flight. Following prayer over the payloads, the balloons lift off.

In mid-March, Eric Thurman, president of David C Cook’s Global Mission unit, met with North Koreans in training to establish them in their new faith and develop skills for new lives in Seoul. Eric was able to question them about their experiences. All had escaped North Korea within the last five years, some becoming believers only recently. Several said they had seen materials and Bibles dropped from previous balloon flights.

Worldwide Story of Jesus distribution is now one year old, proving to be a favorite tool for communicating the Gospel in a wide range of languages and cultures. Over 16 million copies are now circulating in 14 languages. Booklets for many more countries and languages are in current and constant development. Your giving makes it possible for even more people to discover the Gospel. Send us a note below to learn which countries are asking for more copies. Give generously to this effective evangelistic outreach.

 

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