BALLOONS – AUGUST 2015 REPORT

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Launch 32,250 New Testaments (now with Genesis included) in the North Korean dialect via hydrogen balloons from South Korea into North Korea. Launch 1,980 USB devices pre-loaded with the North Korean Scriptures and helpful commentary.

 

Persecution Comes Not Only From North Korea

On Friday, August 21st, four South Korean intelligence officers prevented VOM K staff from leaving our building while urging us to stop our balloon launches. The next day, Saturday, August 22nd, one hundred Mapo police officers surrounded our building and formed a blockade around Pastor Foley as he attempted to load the balloons into our launch van. The same thing happened on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as well.

 

For four straight days, twenty-four hours a day, the police surrounded our office building in order to prevent us from launching. Launching is not against the law, but the police officers cited purported local and national security reasons for stopping our launches. During this four day standoff, we were resolute in our decision to continue launching, while also showing God’s care to the police by providing food and drinks to the officers who remained overnight. Through these efforts and our efforts to act with integrity, the police force gradually reduced each day, until the local Mapo police allowed us to start launching again on Wednesday, August 26th.

 

In addition to being honest and kind with the police, we’ve found it important to be very firm and determined in our interactions with them. Even in a more serene launch year, the police will often take advantage of weakness and they will enforce laws that they don’t have the right to enforce.

 

 Figure 1 - The Mapo police surrounds Pastor Foley as he gets ready to load our van.

 

How Did The Police Standoff End?

After five difficult nights of no launching, God directed the winds and directed the hearts of the police and intelligence officers to allow us to launch. We ended the month of August with four straight nights of launching! Combined with two launches earlier in the month, we launched six times for a total of 13,450 New Testaments sent to North Korea in August, and a total of 21,045 launched in 2015. We are only 11,205 New Testaments short of our goal, with the possibility of completing this with four to five more launches. We had one GPS track that showed our balloons going too far (into the ocean), but other than that one under-inflated balloon, the rest of our tracks were successful! The truth be told, if we had been able to launch during those five nights that the police prevented us from launching, we would have met all of our project goals on September 1st. But we truly believe that God allowed the events of that week for a reason, and that He will also provide us with four more nights of good weather in 2015.

 

Figure 2 - The Mapo police block our van frombeing pulled out.

 

 

Our Balloon Accuracy Draws The Attention Of The NK Government

Last month, we noted that our Bibles were making it into NK almost 100% of the time. This month we’ve had nearly the same accuracy. And we were not the only ones to notice. North Korea’s state media (KCNA) released a statement condemning us by name (“Voice of Martyr”) for our accurate and “tricky” balloon launches into North Korea this year. They even noted the dates of our launches and the locations where our Bibles landed, which we of course already knew because of our use of GPS technology. KCNA references our use of “e-media,” noting that we send the Bible in both printed and electronic forms (with the electronic forms courtesy of our sister VOM mission, SDOK in the Netherlands). The KCNA report follows. (Translation note: When NK uses the term “Riff-raffs” they are typically referring to North Korean defectors–in this case, our Underground University and Underground Technology students who are proud members of our organization and balloon launch ministry.)

 

Figure 3 - Pastor Foley and Dr. Foley tie-up on of our H/A balloons.

 

Pyongyang, August 14 (KCNA) — The South Korean puppet forces have reached an extreme phase in their leaflet-scattering operations against the DPRK. Riff-raffs affiliated to the Voice of Martyr, a puppet die-hard conservative organization in south Korea, scattered by use of balloons anti-DPRK leaflets over areas in the DPRK from the area of Hapsu-ri in Jung-myon of Ryonchon County, Kyonggi Province on July 24. Similar operations were conducted by other south Korean die-hard conservative bodies in the area of Aegibong, Jogang-ri, Wolgot-myon in Kimpho City, Kyonggi Province on July 27 and in the area of Rodongdangsa, Jung-ri, Cholwon County of south Korean Kangwon Province on July 31.

 

Entering August, the puppet forces have got zealous in scattering anti-DPRK leaflets and various kinds of undesirable e-media as evidenced by their scattering operations on August 5, 6 and 7. They conducted 3 to 5 operations in June and 9 operations in July. They are getting trickier in fixing time and locations for their scattering operations against the DPRK. In view of this critical situation, the frontline combined units of the Korean People’s Army released an open statement on August 14.

 

What is more serious is that the die-hard conservative bodies have conducted anti-DPRK leaflet-scattering operations with the tacit connivance of the south Korean regime and military, the statement said, and went on: The south Korean puppet joint chiefs of staff named the anti-DPRK leaflet scattering operations of the non governmental reactionary organizations “balloon operations”, gave an “order” to all frontline guard units and artillery units to “tighten vigilance against the north” and “get ready to open fire.” The operations for massively scattering anti-DPRK leaflets\ and undesirable e-media that have spilt over to the whole area along the military demarcation line are an open declaration of a war against the DPRK. If one side mobilizes forces while conducting a psychological warfare against its opponent, that just leads to a total war.

 

Now that such large-scale joint military drills as Ulji Freedom Guardian are close at hand, the Park Geun Hye group has launched such a large-scale psychological warfare as leaflet-scattering operations. This clearly proves that the north-south relations have been plunged into the state of a war, in actuality. The puppet forces should not forget even a moment that the whole of south Korea might turn into a sea of fire due to the foolhardy leaflet scattering operations. There is a limit to the patience of the frontline soldiers of the KPA.

 

Figure 4 - A VOMK volunteer prepares to launch a balloon to NK.

 

Prayer Requests for this project:

- Please continue to pray for our balloon launches in light of the recent ban on all launches. The Lord has granted us several launches since that time, but the situation is still very fragile. Please pray that the Lord would grant us His mercy and wisdom (as well as good weather) to complete our last four launches of the year!

 

- Please pray for the engineers who continue to assist us with our air and sea launches. Pray that God would give them wisdom as they create new technology and research current technology for spreading the gospel in North Korea.

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