Balloons of Blessing
Ben’s 2nd Blog from South Korea
Something felt wrong. Our driver cautiously pulled our truck to the side of the lonely dirt road. Around us the forest pressed in; all was eerily quiet. Thus far, we had been the only vehicle on in this remote stretch of road, but up ahead, through some branches, we can see the outline of a car—parked across our path. Have we been discovered?
It’s my second day here in South Korea, visiting with project partners who are aiding and rescuing the underground church inside North Korea. The plan is to smuggle the precious cargo in our truck—vital food, digital forms of the Bible (on USB memory devices) and other aid items—into the closed country. We are just a few kilometers from the border, but moving our cargo any closer by ground through the “Demilitarized Zone” is nearly impossible.
There is, however, a special smuggling strategy our partners have developed, which I came hoping to witness today. Two things are needed for this rather unorthodox strategy to work: helium balloons and the right wind conditions. Aid items and digital scripture will be securely attached to balloons 3 feet in diameter, and then launched as close to the border as safely possible. During certain times of the year, high altitude air currents can carry balloons deep inside North Korea where they slowly descend as the helium escapes. North Korean escapees have reported finding these balloons and even coming to Christ as a result of the messages and Scripture attached.
The success of our activities depends on secrecy, however, and the car blocking the road ahead of us could mean our day’s mission is over. GOOD NEWS…our driver checks it out and discovers the vehicle belongs to a local farmer! We continue on to the field that will serve as our launch point.
It’s a surreal experience as we prepare for the launch because many on our team are North Korean defectors, all of whom have family still remaining in the dark country. I somberly listen to them pray, asking the Lord to guide each balloon to those in need. After we all have as many balloons as our hands can hold, we ask a final blessing over the flight, and then release the colorful couriers into the air, watching as they clear the trees and soar high out of sight. Our hopes ride with them—they are in God’s hands now, and trust that His word will not return void.
The Balloon Project is just one example of the creative ways Heaven’s Family is partnering to aid and rescue believers in that prison state through the North Korean Christians Fund. You are enabling a diverse smuggling network to deliver multiple tons of food, medicine, warm clothes, and God’s word directly into the hands of persecuted believers. Thank you for ensuring their hope!
With excitement for the days to come,
Director, North Korean Christians Fund