Date: June 5, 2020
South Korea (MNN) — Gospel workers in South Korea woke up this morning to a test: would they obey God or man? Last night, “The police contacted us because they know we’re going out for the rice bottle launch,” Voice of the Martyrs Korea CEO Pastor Eric Foley says.
“They’ve said that all sea launches and all balloon launches are now officially stopped. If we do it (the launch), we’ll be met by 100 police officers.”
Foley says they’ve been stopped by police in the past when launching Bible balloons or bottles. “My wife and I, and other members of our team, have done [the launches] every year,” he explains. VOM Korea began the launches in 2005.
“Every year these kinds of issues come up. What’s different at this moment compared to previous years is that there was an agreement signed [between North and South Korea],” Foley explains, referring to this April 2018 pact. “In that agreement, it said that South Korea would essentially take steps to stop balloon launches from happening.”
Previous political differences and external circumstances delayed South Korea’s follow-through. However, “we’ve just passed through an election. The President is riding a new wave of popularity because of South Korea’s response to the coronavirus. And, the National Assembly is of the same party as the president,” Foley says.
“Now, all of the pieces are lined up for the National Assembly to pass a law that fulfills what South Korea agreed to do in the April 2018 meetings.”
The context fueled yesterday’s events. “Kim Jong Un’s sister issued a statement that, if the South Korean authorities didn’t intervene to stop balloon launches, North Korea would break off a number of the agreements made in the recent summits and meetings between North and South Korea,” Foley says.
“Later on, the South Korean Ministry of Unification indicated that they would seek the passage of a law to prevent the launch of materials.”
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“Something that’s been waiting to happen for the last two years has now come to fruition… the solid support at the level of the legislature in the president’s office to implement all of this fits into how President Moon sees his legacy, which is in furthering his understanding of peace between North and South Korea,” Foley says.
“In his mind, that peace includes the restraint on all kinds of launching,” he continues. But this decision won’t stop VOM Korea from fulfilling its mission.
“Our work is nonpolitical. This is not symbolic; it’s not a protest. We just have a job to do – our job is to get the Bible into North Korea.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy Atlantios via Pixabay.