27 December 2014

While war drums pound loudly in the foreground of daily news reports, in the background a message of peace and hope connects North Korea and Guam.

Tensions entangling the Korean peninsula and the United States have spilled over to the tiny island of Guam, home to international media ministry TWR’s 100,000-watt transmitter site, which beams shortwave messages of biblical reconciliation to people who are hungering for God’s love rather than political confrontation.

The Guam site already broadcasts several hours of gospel programming every week to North Korea, where the government maintains strict controls on the media and persecution of Christians is reportedly severe. Today, though, the escalated saber rattling is spurring TWR’s regional and national offices, in concert with partner Child Evangelism Fellowship of South Korea, to redouble efforts to air three new programmes in response to the spiritual needs of North Koreans.

Gospel Train for Children will help North Korean parents pass on the Good News. Let’s Talk About Something will strive to connect with nonbelievers and brand-new believers to promote a positive attitude toward hearing more of the Bible story via TWR broadcasts. Teacher’s Institute, produced by CEF-Korea, will train Sunday-school teachers and other church leaders to teach the Bible to children.

As TWR strives to raise the necessary additional funding to put the new programmes on the air, reports from North Korean believers have emerged about life on a wartime footing. Open Doors, a nonprofit organization that supports persecuted believers around the world, recently reported on a smuggled letter in which underground Christians said prices for food and other goods are skyrocketing as people stock up on emergency supplies.

“I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support,” Open Doors quoted one North Korean believer as saying. “We know that our journey will not be an easy one, but we are sure that our faith, desperate hope and passionate desire will someday bear fruit. … Please pray for us.”

TWR is working to build financial support for what it calls the North Korea project and counter the swirling rumors of war as it tells and retells the story of the God-man who taught his followers to “love your enemies.”

In response to TWR broadcasts, one North Korean listener wrote, “When we listen to your programme every night, we are encouraged and find life worth living. If not for the Word of God, and your love and devotion in the midst of our sufferings, our lives would be dark and hopeless.” Another listener shared, “TWR’s Korean broadcasts help me keep the faith and understand God’s Word more and more. I never forget you and your team in my prayers, as you are serving God by broadcasting His Word to us, day and night. … Please do not stop these programmes, for they give us the hope of God.”