By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND (ANS) -- It began on a flight to Moscow.
Owen holds up his shofar in Pyongyang
While enroute to attend a conference with a contingent of Asian Market Place ministers, Owen Pomana, 42, an indigenous Maori from New Zealand, had a vision of a colored flag. The star stood out. When Pomana asked God what the star represented, he saw the letters NK.
One of the businessmen flying with Pomana was from South Korea, and Pomana shared the vision with him. It was then that Pomana said he had a strong feeling he was supposed to fly to North Korea to share God's Word and sound the shofar (trumpet) there.
Pomana's friend though it would be important for him to go to North Korea, so they prayed and committed the matter to the Lord.
However, a number of issues needed to fall into place for the trip to happen. Pomana said he wanted a scriptural confirmation, the right timing and the provision of the necessary finances.
Pomana said he knew the only way you can enter North Korea is by a tour; there is absolutely no other way to go. He found that a five day tour would cost 3200 dollars, a double entry visa 210 dollars, and a little other money for miscellaneous expenses.
The airline tickets cost about $3500.
Owen with his shofar besides a bewildered North Korean soldier in the DMZ
If God wanted Pomana in North Korea, the funds would have to be available in three weeks. That August tour date was the last one for the year.
Pomana said he had a real concern for imprisoned American Kenneth Bae, given a 15 year prison term, and that his going to North Korea could possibly make a difference for Bae in the spiritual realm. He said he felt the importance of him going on the tour was vital, because Bae had been locked up for a number of months, had lost a significant amount of weight and was quite sick.
Pomana said he received the confirmations for which he had been looking, a major one being that the necessary funds arrived within three weeks.
However, Pomana said, he continued to pray and meditate about his pending upcoming trip, as he wanted to make sure it was God's Will.
Kenneth Bae looking gaunt in a
Pomana knew he had to believe that the North Korean authorities would not do an Internet search on him, because they would find numerous references to his Christian activities, including his comments about and concern for Bae.
Pomana's attention was drawn to John 13: 15. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
Pomana said Bae had laid down his life for his friends and for his King, and was now separated from his wife and family. God was sending in a watchman "with the sound of the trumpet" (shofar), to affect the spiritual atmosphere over North Korea.
Owen plays the shofar over the North Korean capital, Pyongyang
Pomana's next challenge would be to get an Israeli shofar into China. He knew he would be faced with X-ray machines.
Pomana said God told him he needed to obtain a "bio security" certificate for the shofar, and change its description to a musical instrument. At what he felt was God's leading, Pomana also had the shofar carved with indigenous patterns so it appeared to have originated in New Zealand.
With his expenses paid and his visa in hand, Pomana set out on the first leg of his North Korean adventure.
Arriving in China, Pomana experienced his first miracle. He said when your bag goes through the X-ray machine, it stops for a few seconds so the official can see what you're carrying, but in his case the official looked away and his bag was cleared.
After staying a night in Beijing, Pomana arrived at the airport, where he met a couple of women. His New Zealand themed shirt was a point of interest, causing one of the women to say, "You're a Kiwi."
Pomana said that was indeed the case and the woman responded that she was also.
She asked Pomana why he was going to North Korea and he said if she could keep a secret, he would tell her. She said she could, so he told her he was going there to pray.
She responded, "We are too; we're prayer intercessors. God is sending us in to pray."
Owen, holding his shofar, pictured with a stern-faced North Korean soldier
Understandably amazed, Pomana told her that he had a shofar in his luggage which he sounded wherever he went. He called it "releasing the sound of heaven."
He then asked the woman if she was familiar with the story of Kenneth Bae. She said she was, and that's why she was going.
Pomana said, "These women were fearless warriors for Christ, sent on mission too. We laughed and giggled like little children. We had the assurance there and then that we were in God's perfect will, and had been sent."
They all enjoyed coffee and lunch, while sharing stories of faith and courage together.
Finally they arrived in Pyongyang, to a strong military presence. Pomana said there were stern looks and guns. He immediately began to pray.
As his luggage went through the X-ray machine, Pomana again witnessed officials looking away for some unexplainable reason. The shofar remained safe.
Feeling a tangible presence of angels around him, Pomana knew that he was in the midst of something supernatural.
Arriving in his hotel room, Pomana sounded his shofar and "released the sound of heaven" over North Korea. He also verbalized scriptures.
Over the next four days, Pomana said he grew progressively bolder as he asked permission to play the shofar. He said, "I took it with me wherever I went. The minders were taking notes wherever (we went). They were keen to know what it was, but they didn't have a clue what it was. I showed them the indigenous carvings on it, and it seem to appease their questions."
Pomana took a trip to the DMZ, or the demilitarized zone between the North and South border.
At the top he took video, and asked if he could sound his shofar. He was given permission.
Owen displays his shofar in North Korea
Pomana said, "I sounded one long blast, the 'Tekiah.' The guard then lunged forward and said 'stop,' after he realized how loud it was. I had no doubt it was being heard by the South Korean Authorities, and all those cameras were recording."
Pomana added, "All the people on my tour and others had recorded possibly the first ever sounding of the shofar from Israel in the DPRK."
Over the next few days Pomana then sounded the shofar at a number of monuments in and around Pyongyang, as well as a number of other locations.
However, he said, the highlight of his trip was making a speech in Maori, which he knew North Korean officials wouldn't be able to translate. As a number of people gathered around, Pomana said he continued by declaring prophetically in Maori Christ's reign and kingship over the nation.
Reflecting back on the tour, Pomana said he realized he had been given incredible favor not just to share his culture, "but to carry the love from our nations and speak to the people and the land."
However, Pomana wondered if he might end up being taken away for questioning about his frequent use of the shofar and the significance behind it.
"Was there going to be a knock on the door and would I be taken away," Pomana asked himself. "I was prepared for the consequences of my actions, (and ready) to join my brother Kenneth Bae in prison, but I trusted in The Lord to deliver me from the hand of the enemy."
Arriving at the border of Dandong, China and North Korea there was a long wait. When the train stopped, machine gun toting soldiers accompanied by German Shepherds wanted to inspect passports and look through bags. In addition, they checked iPads and cameras.
Pomana said, "Two hours of waiting seemed a long time. This was yet another time of intense prayer. Just over the bridge was freedom. Then finally passports were given back, and the train proceeded to deliver me into freedom, away from the confines of a culture willing to die for their supreme leader, Kim Jong Un."
To his supporters who made the trip possible Pomana said, "I want to thank you all for standing with me in prayer, for sowing finances, and for believing in me. I love you all dearly, and the memory of this trip I will never forget."
Pomana said he now wants to share his experiences with as many people as possible, and actively pursue Bae's release in whatever way God allows.
Also, you can view some of his videos in North Korea at: