Date: November 23, 2020
South Korea (MNN) — A believer awaits charges for launching Bible balloons from South Korea into North Korea. Last week, South Korean police recommended that prosecutors charge Eric Foley with Voice of the Martyrs Korea on three counts.
“One of them is related to the violation of an inter-Korean exchange law. [This] is a law that regulates commerce between North and South Korea; anything you might be trying to sell from South Korea to North Korea would need to be pre-approved by the government,” Foley explains.
The second charge relates to national security. “These are laws designed for natural disaster management,” Foley continues, “but now they’re being related to balloon launching with a charge that our activity created a national threat to Korea.”
Finally, “the third charge that will come out is one related to the use of high-pressure gas,” Foley says.
“Everything comes down to this simple issue: is it illegal to launch Bibles into North Korea?”
South Korean police began cracking down on balloon launches this summer following threats from North Korea. More on that here. Three groups, VOM Korea included, received most of the authorities’ attention.
“We are the only ones that do Bibles. The other two launchers do flyers that are primarily focused on news events, and too often can be a political commentary on the situation in North Korea because North Korean defectors run both those organizations,” Foley says.
MNN covered the issue extensively, and God heard your prayers. “Prayers that your listeners [and readers] have been praying, we’ve seen those answered in big and small ways,” Foley says.
“There are some things to praise God for in this process.”
While two of the groups mentioned above face additional charges related to embezzlement and mismanagement of donations, “we’re not charged with anything related to donations or fraud,” Foley says. In South Korea, the distinction is essential.
“We’re making a testimony that Christian organizations are different than political organizations. We act differently. We show respect for authority; we follow a higher standard in our current accounting practices.”
More prayer needed
God faithfully answered prayers for Foley and VOM Korea this summer. Now, they need your intercession again.
“Essentially, the police recommending the charges guarantees that I’ll be charged; it’s just a question of when. Could be tomorrow, could be next week, could be next month; we don’t know,” Foley says.
Confusion surrounds the prosecutors’ charges and possible outcomes. “Our case asks, ‘[Should] launching Bible balloons, which has been legal up until this point in time, be considered illegal not just going forward, but related to past launches?” Foley clarifies.
“For 15 years, we’ve had a good relationship with the authorities. We’ve had police, military, even the intelligence services present at all of our launches. This year in a couple of launches, I asked the police, ‘is this illegal?’ And the police responded, ‘well, no, you just can’t do it here in this location,’” he continues.
Ask the Lord to encourage Pastor Foley and the VOM Korea team. Learn more about their work here.
“The prayer that God will bring glory to His name is already being met; people see that there’s something different about Christians. The other prayer is that God would use each of the Bibles that we have for His purpose,” Foley requests.
“God is finding ways to get Bibles into North Korea. We’re amazed at the avenues He’s opening. Please pray that continues. Pray that God is glorified.”
In header image, South Korean police stop VOM Korea from launching sea bottles containing Bibles to North Korea in June 2020. (Photo courtesy of Eric Foley/VOM Korea)