I want to share a story from a recent trip I took to the North Korean border. The entire adventure was unforgettable but this experience in particular was one I couldn’t wait to tell you all about. Enjoy ...
Something feels wrong. Our driver has cautiously pulled the truck to the side of the dirt road we have been traveling on. Around us the forest presses in, branches obscuring each new bend and turn in the road. So far we’ve been the only vehicle in this remote area, but that has changed. Up ahead we can see the outline of a car parked intentionally across our path. Have we been discovered?
It’s my second day in South Korea, visiting with project partners who are aiding and rescuing the underground church inside North Korea. The precious cargo we are carrying in our truck is going to be used to smuggle food, digital scripture, and other aid items into the closed country. We are just a few kilometers from the border, but moving our cargo any closer by ground through the “Demilitarized Zone” is nearly impossible.
There is, however, a special smuggling method our partners have developed which we will be using today. The method of delivery? … Simply helium balloons and the right wind conditions. Aid items and digital scripture are securely attached to the three foot balloons and then launched as close to the border as safety will allow. During certain times of the year, jet streams flowing at high altitudes are capable of carrying balloons deep inside North Korea where they eventually deflate and come back to earth. North Korean escapees have reported finding these balloons and even coming to Christ as a result of the messages and scripture attached.
Our activities must be done in secret, and the car parked in the road ahead of us could mean our day’s mission is over. Thankfully, upon further inspection our driver indicates that the vehicle belongs to a local farmer and we continue on to a field which will serve as our launch point.
It’s a surreal experience flying the balloons this afternoon as our team is comprised of many North Korean defectors, all of whom have family still remaining in the dark country. I listen to them pray, asking the Lord to guide each balloon to those in need. After we all have as many balloons as our hands can hold, we ask a final blessing over the flight, and then release the colorful couriers into the air, watching as they clear the trees and soar high out of sight. They are in God’s hands now, and His word does not return void.
Call to Respond:
The Balloon Project is just one example of the creative ways Alpha Relief is aiding the underground church inside North Korea. Through the Discipleship Fund you have enabled a diverse smuggling network to deliver God’s word and other resources into the hands of persecuted believers. Interested in helping with our next launch or cross-border smuggling trip? Click below and equip the Discipleship Fund today.