Visitors in Pyongyang, North Korea, bow in respect to statues of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, grandfather and father of Kim Jong Un.
Radio could play an even bigger role on the divided Korean Peninsula after this week’s historic summit in Singapore.
The meeting on June 12, 2018, between U.S. President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea ended with an agreement broadly calling for denuclearization of the peninsula and improved relations. In a precursor to the summit, the leaders of the two Koreas met in April, spurring some thawing after decades of icy relations.
Experts globally are vigorously debating the ramifications of the Singapore agreement, and the director of TWR’s national partner in South Korea said views among his compatriots are split regarding how much trust to put in their reclusive neighbor to the north.
“It is still a great blessing and welcome news for the two hostile countries to try to be reconciled since they have not shied away from criticizing and attacking each other before,” Boaz H.K. Seong of TWR Korea said. “Many Christians in Korea have been praying and yearning for the peace of their land.”
Radio Still Crucial
Because the government places strong restrictions on the flow of information in North Korea, radio is one of the few effective ways for people to hear about the gospel or other news from the outside world. Shortwave programs broadcast from TWR Guam play an important role in encouraging believers to persevere, Boaz said, and more programming has been added in response to a growing desire in the north for “external news.”
Even if the results of the summit are positive and geopolitical improvements unfold rapidly, information flow is likely to be restricted for some time, he said.
“Despite these difficulties, the desire for external news amongst the North Korean residents will grow, and it means that the role of the radio broadcasts will become even more crucial,” Boaz said. “TWR will put in even more effort to preach the gospel to the North Koreans.”
Because many North Koreans have been educated to hold strongly negative attitudes toward Christianity, he added, TWR will need to focus on pre-evangelistic messages. These will introduce the undistorted basics of the Christianity and encourage listeners to engage the faith with open minds. Directly evangelistic programming can then have a greater impact.
Boaz knows personally how an encounter with the living God can transform deep-seated attitudes. It was only after he accepted Christ that he began to see North Koreans as human beings in need of the gospel and not as targets of hostility. Today he asks for Christians around the world to join him in praying for:
- The parties involved in the political talks to value peace and not turn back to the path of war and conflict.
- Korean families long separated because of their divided countries to be reunited in a timely manner. A massive reunion of these separated families is tentatively planned for Aug. 15.
- More North Koreans to be able to locate the frequency of broadcasts by TWR, whose messages are only about biblical truth and God’s love and not about political combat.
- Radio receivers provided by TWR supporters to be delivered safely to North Koreans who desperately need to hear the good news of Christ. And pray for the protection of TWR listeners, who take risks to tune the programs.
- The peace and forgiveness bestowed by the Lord to heal Korean hearts broken by war and political strife. And ask him to empower South Korean Christians to take the lead in seeking reconciliation between individuals and factions.