Imagine! In one Central Asian country, books must be registered and stamped with approval from the government, or they are illegal to possess or sell. Because these restrictions impact the registration and distribution of Bibles, Christians in this country turn to illegal smuggling to distribute them. In one family’s case, the government became suspicious that they possessed illicit literature, so officials came to raid the house. But before the police could arrive to search, the family put their Bibles in the bathtub and burned them.
Now consider this story. Before the Korean War, a girl was born into a Christian family in northern Korea. She went to church for worship and prayed with her family and other Christians. When the war broke out, half of the congregation fled to South Korea, and half of the congregation, including this young girl, were prevented from fleeing south. The parents were even concerned about talking about faith at home. What if talking about faith became such a habit that they unknowingly talked about it outside the home?
They decided to practice their faith primarily by doing acts of kindness for their neighbors. The girl grew up knowing she was a Christian but knew little of what it meant other than loving her neighbors. When she grew older, she visited a church in a creative access country and agreed to work as an underground Christian worker, evangelizing and starting underground groups in North Korea. She even smuggled in three Bibles: one for her and her group and two for the leaders of two other groups. One day, the state security department discovered the Bible in one of the other groups, and the group leader was arrested and executed. The woman decided to burn her Bible for security. She said, “When I think about how I breathlessly prayed and cried … how I burned the Word that I had brought with such difficulty … I was barely able to burn one, the one that was in my house.”
These stories remind us of the realities believers face in places throughout Asia. Please continue to join us in prayer for believers who boldly share the gospel and for the millions who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus.
These are stories told by Trevor Foley, our newest missionary in Asia. Trevor’s ministry includes helping re-establish a presence for the FMC in South Korea while also working with Voice of the Martyrs – Korea, discipling North Korean defectors at discipleship training schools. Please pray for Trevor and sign up for his newsletter here.