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North Korea: Missionary Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas spent years preparing to spread the gospel in Asia. But his life ended shortly after he arrived in Korea. Yet God used his work to bring many to Christ.Watch the clip above to see Thomas’s arrival in Korea. The clip is from Torchlighters DVD, “The Robert Jermain Thomas Story.”

Find out more about Torchlighters DVDs here.

You can find Thomas’s story in Bold Believers in North Korea in the free Downloads section of this site. Torchlighters student and leader guides are also available in the Downloads section.


Starting from Nothing

Bags of Scriptures are attached to balloons and floated into North Korea

What does “hallelujah” mean?
What is “Israel?”
What does “amen” mean?
What is a Jew?

Most North Koreans don’t know the answers to those questions. So it’s very hard for them to understand the Bible, even when it is translated into their language.

VOM Korea has published a Bible for North Koreans that explains common Bible words. The introduction to the book tells North Koreans: “This book will tell you the good news of how to invite the one true God to live inside you so that you may be made ready for his soon return.”

Pray for Christians who secretly take Bibles into North Korea, and for the North Koreans who read the Bible.

To Talk About
How would you answer the questions above?


North Korea: Girl’s Mysteries Solved

North Korean girl

Parents and Teachers: The March 2017 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories about bold North Korean believers. Please preview the stories before sharing them with your children or class. Or share stories from this site, like the one below, with your children; then pray together for the people in the stories.  (Subscribe to the magazine here.)

One night, five police officers burst into a two-room home in North Korea. Sixteen-year-old Hae-won and her family lived with her grandfathers in the tiny house. The police scattered the family’s belongings everywhere as they searched for — what?

“What could they be looking for?” Hae-won wondered.

After their rude search, the police ordered Hae-won’s grandfather’s arrest. But instead of taking her grandfather to prison, they took her father! In North Korea, entire families can be punished if the government doesn’t like the activities of one family member. After Hae-won’s father was imprisoned, the government sent Hae-won and the rest of her family to live in a mountain region far away.

Hae-won did not understand what was happening to her family. And there were other things she didn’t understand. Something unusual had happened when she was 10. She woke up in the middle of the night and found her grandfather sitting on the floor with his eyes closed. Was he talking to someone invisible? Hae-won didn’t know.

Sometimes she heard her grandfathers talk about “the Resurrection,” or “the Second Coming,” or “the Red Sea.”

“Silly old men talking nonsense,” she thought.

After Hae-won grew up and had a family of her own, she decided, like many North Koreans, to escape from her country. Conditions were harsh in North Korea, and often there was not enough food to eat.

Hae-won’s family faced many dangers and obstacles during their attempts to leave — they were even imprisoned for several months for trying to flee the country. Sadly, Hae-won’s husband died from the cruel treatment in the prison.

Solving Mysteries

Hae-won continued trying to get out. She finally succeeded in escaping to China, where a Christian invited her to church. Soon she trusted in Christ as her Savior. As Hae-won read the Bible and learned more about God, many mysteries were solved for her. She realized that her grandfather was praying to God when she discovered him in the middle of the night. He was a secret Christian! It was not legal to follow Jesus in North Korea, so Christians practiced their faith quietly.

Hae-won now understood that her grandfathers had not been talking nonsense, but were discussing the Bible. And the police had searched their home for a Bible. North Koreans can go to jail just for owning one.

Today Hae-won lives in South Korea. She teaches others who have escaped North Korea about Jesus. Many who leave North Korea also have childhood mysteries to solve.

Hae-won is thankful for her grandfather’s faithful secret prayers. She told VOM workers, “I realized that I came to Christ because of my grandfather’s prayers.”

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


Christian Prisoner Released!

Join us in praising the Lord: VOM Regional Director for Africa, Petr Jasek, has been released after 445 days in prison in Sudan.  Thank you to all who prayed for Mr. Jasek and his family during his long imprisonment.

Mr. Jasek, who has much experience and training in hospital administration, has assisted VOM in delivering aid to displaced and suffering Christians in Sudan and Nigeria. While his work has always been humanitarian in nature, the Sudanese government has sought to characterize him as a “filmmaker” who was conspiring against the Sudanese state.

Mr. Jasek was arrested in December 2015 and held for eight months before charges were filed in August 2016. After a lengthy trial, Mr. Jasek was given a long prison sentence. Two men charged with him, Hassan Abduraheem and Abdulmonem Abdumawla, both Sudanese, were sentenced to 12 years each. The main charge against them was “aiding and abetting” Petr’s alleged “spying.” Please continue to pray for the two Sudanese men, one of whom is a pastor, who are still being held.


John and Betty Stam

“Dory” is a VOM worker who visits China to encourage Christians. Dory is related to John and Betty Stam. The story below and the video tell about the Stams and what Dory found out about them. Please preview the video before showing it to children.

John and Betty Stam knew that China could be a dangerous place for missionaries in the 1930s. Chinese communist soldiers were attacking Christians. But John believed that God was calling the couple to share the gospel in the land where “a million [people] a month pass into Christless graves.”

In 1934, a month after John and Betty arrived at a new mission station in China with their baby, Helen Priscilla, communists came to kidnap them. Betty served tea to her kidnappers before she and her family were taken away.

The kidnappers told John to mail a ransom letter from a post office. The postmaster asked John, “Where are you going?”

“We don’t know where they’re going,” John said of the kidnappers. “But we are going to heaven.” He was right, for soon the kidnappers killed him and Betty. Their baby was rescued and brought up by relatives in the United States. Many young people who heard the Stams’ story gave their lives to God’s service as missionaries.

(Sources include By Their Blood, by James and Marti Hefley)