South Korea (MNN) — A few days ago, MNN asked believers worldwide to pray for a Bible launch organized by Voice of the Martyrs Korea. Each year, VOM Korea sends Scripture to North Korea in balloons or sea bottles.
Today, Pastor Eric Foley explains the “silver lining” to Friday’s failed Bible launch. “What we’ve learned over the years is that God always has a reason for every event that happens,” he says.
“We used to get disappointed about it, but what we realize now is that God has a purpose for blocking launches.”
An unexpected Gospel opportunity
As described here, police stopped the latest launch following political maneuvering between North and South Korea. Police interference with their work isn’t new, Foley says. It’s even turned into a recurring Gospel opportunity.
“Four years ago, we had police surrounding our building and our vehicle to stop us from launching. They did it for four days in a row,” Foley recalls.
As VOM Korea’s small team gathered materials for their intended balloon launch, riot police surrounded their vehicle. Officers threatened to arrest believers if they stepped past a designated point. Police also surrounded VOM Korea’s building to ensure they wouldn’t proceed with their launch plans.
“Every day, I would say, ‘we are doing our work in the name of the Lord Jesus. [We are] subject to you as the authorities so we won’t proceed past this point, but tomorrow, we’ll be out here doing the same thing, as long as the weather’s suitable’,” Foley says.
When police criticized the team’s persistence, believers responded with faith and kindness. They brought water and snacks to the police, who surrounded their building night and day. On the fourth day, an officer approached Pastor Foley in disbelief.
“[He] said, ‘you’re not going to believe this; the government has given us permission for you to launch,’ and I said, ‘Well, no, it’s the Lord Jesus who gave us permission’ and we went out,” Foley says.
“There’s been a kind of ‘overextension’ on the part of the authorities in terms of enforcement. Four years ago, we had our building surrounded. Three years ago, we had launch sites surrounded. One year ago, we were stopped at gunpoint,” he continues.
Each interaction allows VOM Korea’s team to extend Christ’s love and hope to South Korean police.
“As the years have gone by, they’ve come to recognize that we are people under authority just as they are, and our encounters with the police are very respectful,” Foley says.
“We have evangelized, over the years, so many South Korean police officers who have seen the Bibles that we launched, and who see the passion that we have for reaching North Korean people. It convicts them and causes them to think of their service, too.”
Pray that the hearts of South Korean police will be open to the Gospel. Pray also for God’s will to be done despite the failed Bible launch. “Over the years, we feel like that we’ve done probably as much witnessing to South Korean police as we have to the North Korean people,” Foley notes.
“We don’t know how the Lord is going to use it. We just know what we’re called to do.”
Learn more about VOM Korea’s work here. “When we started, zero-percent of North Koreans have ever seen a Bible with their own eyes. Now, that’s eight-percent, so we’re going to keep doing [this work],” Foley says.
“Some days it’s easier and some days it’s harder, but the Lord always has some purpose for it.”
Header image depicts South Korean police stopping VOM Korea as they attempt to send sea bottles containing Bibles to North Korea. Photo courtesy of Pastor Eric Foley/VOM Korea.