ICC Note: Christianity is still growing in North Korea, despite the level of persecution that occurs. Christian groups have different ways to bring the Gospel to North Korea, such as through helium-filled balloons that are sent away from different points in South Korea. Given any North Korean citizens who are found with the Bible or any other Christian materials could be executed or sent away to prison, the people who smuggle bibles have to be extremely careful about how they distribute the texts. North Korean Christian defectors in the border areas of South Korea broadcast Christian content on a regular basis, as sponsored by ICC. The Gospel has a strong appeal to people trapped in North Korea.
10/10/2017 North Korea (Fox News) – On the nights when the winds are light and the skies are dark, hundreds of helium-filled balloons are sent up and away from multiple points in South Korea, destined a few miles away and into North Korea. Only these are no ordinary balloons — they are considered “Bible Balloons,” adorned with the Words of God printed in Korean or flash drives featuring the entire texts of the Testament.
It is one of the few creative — and inherently dangerous — ways bibles are smuggled into the oppressive dictatorship in the hopes that impoverished North Koreans will know that they aren’t forgotten. Other activists, such as American pastor Eric Foley, have opted for a much larger hydrogen-fueled 40-foot balloon brimming with bibles and testimonials. These are then dropped into rural areas with the help of GPS technology, in the hopes that even just one will be picked up.
“Growth in Christianity does not happen in waves but always one at a time,” Foley — CEO of Voice of the Martyrs Korea — told Fox News.
Nonetheless, the regime is well aware of the biblical balloons — which have been at the center point of bible smuggling since the 90’s — and if the endeavor to shoot them down fails, anyone spotted collecting the contents is immediately arrested. These days, flash drives, SD cards, leaflets and photos featuring the strictly outlawed religious texts are also disseminated not only from balloons but also through the use of large drones — and more and more, bibles are being disseminated in electronic rather than print form.
Such smuggling programs generate little funding or support from outside governments, and are generally left up to missionaries, nongovernmental organizations and activists.
“It is becoming too dangerous and bulky to bring in hard copy bibles,” one Korean source familiar with the operations said. “Over the past 10 years, there has been a growing demand for ‘outside’ information — whether religious or secular.”
But still, there are on the on-foot actors.
“The bibles are printed in another country, and then secretly taken and distributed in North Korea, usually a few at a time,” Vernon Brewer, founder and president of Christian humanitarian organization World Help, told Fox News. “The people who smuggle bibles have to be extremely careful, changing their route and taking other precautions to avoid getting caught.”