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North Korea: A Smuggler Escapes


Park Chin-Mae took pride in his job as a border guard for the North Korea military. He arrested anyone he caught trying to sneak out of North Korea, or attempting to smuggle forbidden goods into the country.

But Chin-Mae had a secret. He was guilty of the same crimes for which he arrested others! He smuggled illegal goods into North Korea and sold them to make money.

Then another guard discovered his secret and reported him to the authorities. Chin-Mae went to jail for 60 days. When he got out, he returned to his job — and to smuggling. One day, Chin-Mae discovered six Bibles in a box that a woman smuggled into the country. He was filled with fear. Bibles are forbidden in North Korea, and Chin-Mae had never seen one before. Border guards are not allowed to even open a Bible if they find one. The government wants citizens to put their faith in the country’s rulers, not God. Chin-Mae permitted the Bibles to enter the country, knowing he could be killed if he was caught for allowing them past the border.

A New Life
Like many North Koreans, Chin-Mae wanted to escape the conditions in North Korea, where many people are hungry and citizens have few freedoms. After years of working as a border guard, he knew exactly how to cross the border without getting caught.

Chin-Mae settled in South Korea, and a Christian in his new country told him about God. He began to visit a church, where he volunteered to set out Bibles before the worship service. As he put the Bibles on the empty chairs, he realized that he was holding the book that would have gotten him killed in North Korea.

He began to read the Bible, and in time, he placed his faith in Jesus. “I didn’t just read it like any other book,” Chin-Mae said. “I read it and took every word of the Bible into my heart.”

Chin-Mae is receiving help from The Voice of the Martyrs as he starts his new life in South Korea. He asks people to pray for North Korea and for him as he adjusts to a new way of life with new hope in Jesus.

(Source: The June 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness.)

This Month

Parents and Teachers

The June 2019 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter features stories about bold believers risking their freedom and lives to reach North Koreans with the good news of Jesus. Also included are updates from Sri Lanka, Colombia, Kenya, and Uganda, and information about the upcoming Day of the Christian Martyr (June 29). You can share stories of Christians in those areas from this site with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Note: To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, visit the subscription signup page.

Additional Related Resources
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight North Korea, Colombia, and Sri Lanka from the Downloads section.

*Find Restricted Nations books about North Korea and Colombia at

*Find a Torchlighters DVD and related resources about Robert Jermain Thomas (North Korea) at and in the Downloads section.

*Click here to find a lesson plan for Colombia.

Eid al-Fitr

Muslims celebrate a three-day festival at the end of Ramadan called Eid-al-Fitr. This year Ramadan ends in early June. Families buy new clothes, decorate their homes, visit friends and relatives, and exchange gifts. Schools and businesses in Muslim countries close for the holidays.

Muslims in many countries greet each other during the festival by saying, “Eid Mubarak,” which means “blessed festival.” They may send greeting cards to other Muslims.

Egg fighting is a traditional game in Afghanistan played during the celebration. Two people each hold a hardboiled egg. They bump the ends of their eggs together until one egg cracks. The holder of the egg that is not cracked wins.

Note: Citizens of Afghanistan who declare faith in Christ experience serious persecution. Learn about Christians in Afghanistan in Bold Believers in Afghanistan, available in the free Downloads section.

The “Night of Power”

Iraqi child at a Ramadan feast

This month, Muslims have been celebrating Ramadan, a month-long fast from food and drink during daylight hours. One of the final nights of Ramadan is the “Night of Power.” Muslims may be more open to dreams, visions, and revelations on the Night of Power.

Pray that Muslims who seek the truth during Ramadan will come to know Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Learn more about Islam from Learning About Islam, a 60-page spiral bound book for readers ages 8 and up, available for free download on this site.

Libya: Pray for Bible Smugglers, Part 2

Libyan Muslims praying

The previous post told about Brother Hannu, a Christian from Finland who planned a trip to Libya with Christian friends. He was not happy when he realized that his friends intended to smuggle Bibles into Libya, a Muslim country. Read below what happened next.

Brother Hannu wondered how he could get out of the situation. He was too fearful to smuggle Bibles into Libya.

He decided he would let his friends carry their suitcases full of Bibles, and he would just pray for them while they tried to get their Bibles past the officials at customs. [“Customs” is the place at an airport or other point of entry into a country where officials check incoming luggage.]

“Yes, that was my strategy,” said Hannu on VOM Radio. Then, unfortunately, one of the guys said, ‘Hannu, my suitcase is very heavy. Could you please help?’

“I prayed, ‘God, You have to help. You understand, I have a wife, I have a son, and I am a pastor in a church.’” But he helped his friend carry the suitcase. As they approached customs, the official said, “Welcome!” They passed through customs with no problems. “I was happy!” said Brother Hannu.

But his happiness ended later that night. At 1 a.m., his hotel room phone rang. “This is the police!” said a voice when Brother Hannu answered the phone. “Come to the lobby! We will arrest you. You have brought illegal books into the country!”

“I almost had a heart attack,” said Brother Hannu. “I knew that another group had been put in a Libyan prison for smuggling Bibles the week before. So I was very scared. I hung up the phone, and they called again and shouted the same words. I was in a state of shock.

“I got on my knees in the hotel room, and I said, ‘Jesus, please forgive me. I don’t love Muslims. I don’t like them. Lord, You see how they are treating Your people in many places. But, Jesus, I can love them because Your Word says in Romans 5:5 that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts. So I will open the tap, and it will flow. I will love them. I promise to preach Your Word to these people.’

“I was just surrendering my life to God….and then to my big surprise, the telephone was silent. Nothing happened. We had a good trip to Libya.

“When I went back to my church in Finland, a woman asked me, ‘Hannu, what happened [on a certain date] at 1 o’clock in the night?’ It was the same night when the police called me. ‘I was deep in sleep,’ the woman continued, ‘when suddenly I woke up, and I saw your face. You were in danger. I started praying for you. I prayed for a long time that you would be happy again.’”

[Note: Finland and Libya are in the same time zone, so when it is 1 a.m. in Finland, it is also 1 a.m. in Libya, except when Finland is observing Daylight Saving Time.]

Since that trip, Brother Hannu has had many opportunities to love Muslims and to share the Good News of Jesus with them.

He requested prayer for himself and other Christians working among Muslims. “In Ephesians, Chapter 6, while he was in prison, Paul said, ‘Please pray for me, that I will preach the Word of God boldly.’ Fear is paralyzing many Christians in the tough Muslim areas. They need the power of the Holy Spirit; they need boldness. The Apostle Paul said to please pray for him; I need this, too. Also, ex-Muslims and Christians in those countries really do need this, to preach the Word of God in boldness.”

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)