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North Korea: Fax threatens VOM project

   An anonymous fax believed to have been sent from the North Korean embassy for Finland promises workers affiliated with The Voice of the Martyrs (USA) that “something very bad will happen to you” if VOM continues a special project to share the Gospel via weekly fax transmissions to government and business representatives of the restricted Asian nation.
   During the past year VOM has made an effort to collect as many fax numbers as possible inside North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated nations. VOM sends weekly faxes containing Christian messages and Scripture passages on love and forgiveness to each of the fax numbers.
   Apparently, the project has touched a nerve at the highest levels of North Korea’s repressive government.
   “We know who you are,” begins a fax, written in Korean but without a signature. “We warn you that if you send this kind of dirty fax again something very bad will happen to you. Don’t do something you will regret.” (View an image of the faxed page at
   The threatening fax came to a VOM-affiliated office just days before two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were sentenced to 12 years hard labor for allegedly crossing the border into North Korea. It came just one day after the latest round of faxes sent by VOM to North Korean fax numbers.
   “This fax is good news,” said Todd Nettleton, VOM’s director of Media Development and the author of a book on the history of Christianity in North Korea. “This means that the faxes are getting through, and they are being read. It is highly unlikely that this type of response would have been made from an embassy without some approval from Pyongyang.”
   The Voice of the Martyrs exists to serve persecuted Christians living in restricted nations, and to help spread the gospel in those nations. The ministry has been active in North Korea for decades, including launching tens of thousands of “Scripture Balloons,” helium filled balloons that are printed with Scripture passages and other gospel messages. 
   The most recent fax sent to North Korean businesses and government offices included stories of Christians loving Communists — even the Communists who abused or tortured them. It was taken from the writings of Richard Wurmbrand, VOM’s founder who was held for 14 years in communist prisons in Romania. 
   “North Korea presents some great challenges, but the Good News of Jesus’ love cannot be stopped,” said Nettleton. “We simply have to find more creative ways to deliver that message, and The Voice of the Martyrs is committed to doing that.”

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