North Korea’s Christians are so hungry for a Bible that they’re willing to risk 15 years in a labor camp or even death to acquire a copy of God’s Word.
That’s according to Rachel Godwin of World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization that is working to smuggle 100,000 physical Bibles into the country.
“There are still countless believers across this dark nation who are desperate for Bibles,” Godwin wrote in a column for FoxNews. “Some people have never even seen a copy of the Scriptures in their life … but they know they would do anything to get their hands on one.”
Godwin recounted a true story of a small group of North Korean Christians getting in a fishing boat early one morning and traveling to the center of a river so they could read God’s Word together -- away from government ears and eyes. They hid their Bible underneath fishing gear.
“This is the only place where they feel safe enough to worship together and study God’s Word,” Godwin wrote. “And even then, they are constantly on alert. If they are caught reading the Bible, they could immediately be sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp – or worse. They’ve heard the stories of what happens to people who are heard speaking the name of Jesus.
“Many of them,” Godwin added, “have family members and friends who are living in the camps now … or have been buried there.”
But there are not enough Bibles for every Christian, Godwin wrote. Even among the Christians in the fishing boat, each copy was “practically falling apart.”
“After years of being carefully studied and then hidden over and over again, the bindings have come loose and pages are beginning to slip out,” she wrote. “Many of the Bibles have water damage from these early morning meetings on the boat. But they are still these Christians’ prized possessions … they risk their lives for these Bibles.”
Godwin told how the Christians were given new Bibles by a World Help representative, who took the tattered Bibles back to the hotel and hid them. They soon disappeared, though, when a janitor found them.
“It turns out that he was a Christian himself, and his tiny house church of four people had been praying for Bibles,” Godwin wrote.
For North Korea’s Christians, a new Bible “is the greatest gift they could receive,” Godwin wrote.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com
Photo courtesy: Aaron Burden/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.