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Mrs. An Learns How to Pray

[Photo: Mrs. An. Her eyes are covered to protect her identity.]

Mrs. An was not a Christian. She grew up in North Korea, where the government does not want people to know God or to follow Jesus. Most North Koreans know nothing about Christianity.

But the North Korean government made a video to tell people that Christianity is bad and wrong. The video showed Christians praying to God. Mrs. An remembered what she saw on the video.

In China
Due to harsh conditions in North Korea, Mrs. An escaped to China. But China does not always welcome North Koreans to their country. The Chinese police put Mrs. An in jail.

A Christian must have been in her jail cell before she got there, because Mrs. An saw the name “Jesus” scratched on the cell wall. She remembered the Christians she had seen praying on the video.

In South Korea
Mrs. An decided to pray to the Christians’ God, asking Him to help her get out of jail and go to South Korea, a freer country. God answered her prayer! In South Korea, she sought Christians who could teach her to grow in faith. She is learning how to witness to her family and others around her.

The North Korean video was created to turn people against Christianity. Instead, it helped someone trust in Jesus!


To Think About
Genesis 5:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” How does the verse remind you of Mrs. An’s situation?

Robert Jermain Thomas

Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of Enter “Elise” in the search box to read about Elise and to find more of her reviews. Read below her review of the Torchlighters DVD, The Robert Jermain Thomas Story. Find out more about Torchlighters DVDs here.

Robert Jermain Thomas, a Welshman living in the 1800s, felt called to become a missionary. However, the Protestant church at the time did not want him to go down that path. Instead, they wanted him to become a pastor and teach Christianity in Wales. He decided to go against their wishes and move to China. He learned Chinese so that he could teach the people in their own language. While learning Chinese, he realized that he had a true knack for languages.

[See a story here about children in Wales today watching a Torchlighters DVD.]

Robert Jermain Thomas’ wife died soon after their arrival in Shanghai. Thomas felt like he could no longer clearly see his purpose. So he took a job at a port-of-entry, taking passports from people traveling into China. While at that job, he discovered that the nation of Korea, very close to China, was closed off to any foreign influence, including religious influence. Here he saw an opportunity to bring the gospel to a people who would never otherwise hear it. There was a problem, though — travel into Korea as a foreigner was illegal. Thomas would have to sneak in.

He eventually made it into Korea, though the journey was difficult. While there, he began to preach the gospel with fervor, even though the introduction of new religion was illegal. Through him, Christ affected many lives for the better.

But the Korean authorities shot the ship he was on with flaming arrows and burned it down. It is unknown how the missionary aboard died — scholars debate whether by fire, drowning, or if he was killed onshore.

But we do know that the authorities killed him with the intent to stop the spread of the message of Jesus Christ in Korea. This did not work, though, because even today there is a thriving community of believers, stretching back all the way to the time when Robert Jermain Thomas originally brought the gospel. There is a story that says that the pages of the Bible that washed up onshore after Thomas’ death were used to wallpaper a Korean man’s home. When a small Christian community grew in the region, they came to read the Bible from the walls.

Though Robert Jermain Thomas’ time in Korea was short, God used his time there to change the lives of many generations of Koreans. Robert Jermain Thomas did what he could, but he let God do the rest.

*See a clip from The Robert Jermain Thomas Story DVD and links to other resources here.

An Unusual Love Story

Choon-yei grew up in a comfortable family in North Korea. Her father was a military officer, so the government took good care of them.

But when Choon-yei was a young child, a famine in North Korea brought suffering to even the most secure families. Then when she was teenager, both of her parents died.

First Trip
Choon-yei made two trips to China with friends to try to earn money. On the first trip, she met Christians who shared a Bible and the gospel with her. Choon-yei was fearful, because North Korean officials would punish her severely if they found out she had heard the gospel. The North Korean government wants citizens to look to them for help and guidance, not God. But she learned from the Christians in China, and she began praying as they taught her.

Second Trip
Choon-yei later traveled to China with another friend. But her friend betrayed her and sold her to a Chinese man to be his wife! Choon-yei did not know Chinese and had no way to escape back to North Korea, so she was trapped.

Many North Koreans are tricked into going to China and end up as slaves to mean and harsh husbands. But Choon-yei’s husband and his family were kind to her. When she wanted to escape from them and go to South Korea, they even gave her money to help her!

Choon-yei believes that God has always helped her since the Christians she met on her first trip to China began praying for her.

A Christian Marriage
In South Korea, Choon-yei began to miss her Chinese husband. He was honest and good, and he had taken good care of her. Thankfully, he was able to join her in South Korea, where he became a Christian. Choon-yei had also decided to follow Jesus. Together they go to church and are committed to having a Christian marriage.

“I am grateful for everything,” Choon-yei said. “I will be grateful if God uses my husband and me in any way.” They pray that more North Koreans will come to know their Savior.

(Source: The May 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited and condensed for length and clarity. Photo: A Korean woman.)

This Month

Parents and Teachers
The May 2020 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine tells stories of Christians who “made disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Their disciples then made more disciples in obedience to God’s command.

VOM president Cole Richards says: “Our ultimate example is Christ. But we also benefit from the examples of great men and women of God who have come before us, creating an unbroken chain of faithful witnesses of God’s truth since the beginning of time. They were not great because of their abilities and successes. Rather, their greatness was demonstrated by their service as bold witnesses despite opposition and suffering.”

The issue includes stories and updates from North Korea, Central Asia, and Sudan, as well as information about how you can prepare for the June 29 Day of the Christian Martyr.

Related Resources
* To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.
*The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide includes information about Christians in the featured countries.
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight several countries here.
*Watch video clips about Christians from several of the countries in the Video section of this site.

Write a Note to Be Smuggled

The April 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine offers readers an opportunity to write a note to people in North Korea. The note says, “God is real” in Korean.

In North Korea, it is illegal to say “God is real,” because the government leaders want citizens to honor them, not God. VOM uses several ways to get the Word of God into hard-to-reach places. Christian workers launch Scriptures into North Korea inside balloons, and they provide MP3 players containing God’s Word to people returning to North Korea from other countries. VOM also launches Bibles by sea. The Bibles are tracked by GPS to make sure they reach the shores of North Korea.

To find instructions for how you can write a note to be included in the Bibles for North Korea, visit

[Photo above: Preparing to launch a Scripture balloon. Left: “God is real” in Korean.]