Distributing Bibles in the air — a very inventive way of delivering the gospel in closed countries. However, it is not new. Christians in South Korea are living near one of the most closed countries in the world and one of the worst offenders of religious freedom. That is why believers from the South for several decades in the air throw the Scriptures to their neighbours in the North.
Just before sunset a group of Christians from Seoul rushes to the North.
“We may have problems because of what we do,” says one of them, the so-called Peter. The real names of these people cannot be revealed, for them it is very dangerous.
“We’re going to a place four miles from the North Korean border near the demilitarized zone” — calls the second course of the expedition.
A demilitarized zone, or DMZ, is one of the most heavily fortified and potentially dangerous places on earth.
A million armed North Korean military is in full combat readiness on the other side of the demilitarized zone. On the South side of the soldiers as well. If you are going to a place which has already been said, we understand that there is one factor that can spoil everything, — the weather.
“Any change in the wind direction and our mission would fail,” explains Peter. He called it “Dandelion”.
“We started this project back in 1991. As a dandelion needs the wind to disperse their seeds, and we need the wind to spread the Word of God,” he continues.
Thousands of copies of the Bible in the Korean language take flight on the bright orange balloons.
“North Korea is almost impossible to deliver the Bible, so the balloons is one of the most effective ways of delivering the gospel,” says Peter.
In the back of the van balloons filled with helium. Team members work quickly, all the while watching the direction of the wind. On each balloon they say a prayer, and then let go. After several minutes, the balloons begin their slow flight over the North’s airspace.
“By sending these balloons, we let you know our North Korean brothers and sisters, pray for them, and the Scriptures on the balloons are supposed to encourage”, says one of the women.
And in that secret place in Seoul people pray hard. Every week, starting with the 91-th year, this 78-year-old woman along with a handful of other believers prepares the balloons for flight to North Korea.
“I come from North Korea. So I’m trying to bring the gospel to his countrymen,” she says.
The work is almost completed. Only a few finishing touches. Preparation for surgery is as follows: through the hole the balloon is filled with helium, sealed with tape, and then sent to the skies of North Korea.
“Sooner or later the helium will be released and the balloon falls to the ground. The one who will lift it up, be able to read all 16 chapters of the gospel of Mark,” she says.
In the past, Peter together with other believers had been involved in sending ships across the sea. Those balloons were larger and contained a small radio, a Bible and other Christian literature.
In addition to operations with balloons, the group of Peter organizes a weekly radio broadcast. They are written in Seoul, and then transferred on medium and short waves in North Korea.
“Our radio transmissions are a standard of worship — with worship and a sermon. The North Korean authorities regularly jammed our signal, but we do have other methods of conveying to the people the word of God,” says the coordinator of radio broadcasting.
And that’s what motivates this team. We have obtained exclusive audio recordings and photographs of secret meetings of underground churches in North Korea.
If a North Korean citizen accepts Jesus Christ, he for his faith may face persecution, imprisonment and possibly even death. Peter provided the footage, which was aired on a Japanese channel. As reported, they sealed the execution of North Korean Christians.
It is very difficult to obtain accurate data on the number of Christians in North Korea.
“On the basis of data received from North Korean defectors and international human rights groups, we believe that in North Korea, about 30 thousand Christians were detained in camps for political prisoners and about 10 thousand underground believers in hiding throughout the country” — says one of the believers of winokorov.
We return along the border separating North Korea from South, it’s after midnight. Under cover of darkness team members Peter continued in various places to let in the air hundreds of balloons. Today the wind was favorable.
“It often happens that the wind direction changes dramatically, and we have to wait. Sometimes we come back the next day. We are persistent, because the map — people’s lives. We will continue to do so and to pray until North Korea is not going to be free and the Christians can worship Jesus Christ,” says Peter.