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China, North Korea, and the Story of Min-Jae.

Have you ever thought about how easily we can access the Word of God? For most of us, accessing the Bible is as easy as a few taps to pull it up on our phones. Most of us remember when we received our first Bible. Maybe it was given to us by a family member for a special event like our birthday or baptism. Maybe you are like me and I purchased my first Bible; I think I paid about $30 for mine. With this in mind, I want you to take a moment to pause and reflect on the meaning of God's Word to you. So often, we treat the Bible as something that is attended to after we have checked everything off our "to do" lists instead of what it really is meant to be; a lifeline. We love to quote it, but fail to be transformed by the deep message of love that reverberates through every page. It is with these realizations that I myself had about my own relationship with God's Word that I began to ask myself the question, "What is the highest price I would pay for a Bible?"

This is a real question that many believers are faced with in countries around the world like China and North Korea. You see, in countries like China and especially North Korea, carrying a Bible is the equivalent of carrying a death sentence. One such example of this can be found in a story I recently read from the Voice of the Martyrs magazine that was entitled “The Reluctant Bible Smuggler”. It was in this article that I learned of the story of a North Korean man named Min-Jae. In 2004, Min-Jae was on a business trip in China when he heard the Gospel and received Christ for the first time. When he was preparing to head back to North Korea, He was approached by some men and asked if he would be willing to receive a shipment of Bibles in order to distribute them in North Korea. Before Min-Jae answered them, he had quite a lot to think about. If caught, the punishment for distributing Bibles in North Korea could be severe. He could be tortured in a concentration camp, exiled, or he could be executed (if not all three). However, after considering the risks he agreed to accept the shipment of smuggled Bibles. Unfortunately, this act did eventually lead to his imprisonment though luckily he was released after 7 months. Several years after his release, Min-Jae says he still thinks about the other believers that were imprisoned with him. Though he never met them, he still remembers hearing them praying in their cells at night.

Will you think about them too? It is with this that I am reminded of a quote I read from an article by Open Doors USA about a woman named Bae who currently runs a secret church in North Korea. Bae had this to say about the plight of Christians in North Korea:

"From the perspective of other people, our life of suffering must seem like a cursed life; however, this suffering is a blessing from our Father who allowed it in our life because it is a shortcut to the Father. He knows our suffering and listens to our prayers. We thank our Father who has done such great things to prepare life for us.

So today I leave you with the same charge that the writer of Hebrews gave fellow believers in Hebrews 13:3 which says,

“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also.”

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