By BosNewsLife Asia Service with reporting by BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos
PYONGYANG/SEOUL (BosNewsLife)-- Global Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio (TWR) said Thursday, April 11, that it is launching new programs aimed at North Korea to bring "a message of peace and hope" to "counter the swirling rumors of war" in the troubled region.
TWR's announcement came after South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea was expected to conduct a nuclear capable missile launch Thursday, April 11, a development that prompted that country and the U.S. to increase their military alerts levels.
“Based on intelligence we and the Americans have collected, it’s highly likely that North Korea will launch a missile,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said. Yun said North Korea has a medium-range missile known as the “Musudan” that has a range of about 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles), which would make it capable of flying over Japan.
Experts said the Musudan is mainly designed to reach the U.S. territory of Guam, where TWR has q 100,000-watt transmitter site, which it said "beams shortwave messages of Biblical reconciliation to people who are hungering for God’s love rather than political confrontation."
In a statement to BosNewsLife, TWR said "the escalated saber rattling is spurring" it to "redouble efforts to air three new programs in response to the spiritual needs of North Koreans."
Together with its partner Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) of South Korea, it will air 'Gospel Train for Children' to "help North Korean parents pass on the Good News."
'Let’s Talk About Something' will strive "to connect with nonbelievers and brand-new believers to promote a positive attitude toward hearing more of the Bible story via TWR broadcasts," the broadcaster added.
'Teacher’s Institute', produced by CEF-Korea, "will train Sunday-school teachers and other church leaders to teach the Bible to children.'
The programs come on top of programs it already airs to North Korea, where at least some 100,000 Christians are believed to be detained in prison camps for refusing to follow the cult of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung.
Christians outside the camps gather in underground churches, listening secretly to TWR, the broadcaster and other sources said.
"When we listen to your program every night, we are encouraged and find life worth living," TWR quoted a listener as saying in a message smuggled out of the Stalinist-run nation.
"If not for the Word of God, and your love and devotion in the midst of our sufferings, our lives would be dark and hopeless,” the Christian reportedly said.
Another listener reportedly said: "TWR’s Korean broadcasts help me keep the faith and understand God’s Word more and more. I never forget you and your team in my prayers, as you are serving God by broadcasting His Word to us, day and night. … Please do not stop these programs, for they give us the Hope of God."
TWR's broadcasts come amid growing spiritual and physical hunger, the network and aid workers said.
Open Doors, a nonprofit organization that claims to support persecuted believers around the world, quoted underground Christians as saying prices for food and other goods are "skyrocketing" as people stock up on emergency supplies.
"I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support," Open Doors quoted one North Korean believer as saying in a letter.
"We know that our journey will not be an easy one, but we are sure that our faith, desperate hope and passionate desire will someday bear fruit. … Please pray for us.”
TWR said it hopes to reach believers and those searching for Christ who it believes gives eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.
Speaking fluently in over 200 languages and dialects, TWR's global media outreach "engages millions in 160 countries with biblical truth," the network said.
"Since 1952, God has enabled TWR to help lead people from doubt to decision to discipleship.
Together with international partners, local churches and other ministries, TWR provides relevant programming, discipleship resources and dedicated workers to spread hope to individuals and communities around the globe."
TWR uses both high-powered transmitters and other tools, including streaming content on the Internet to leave what it calls "a lasting spiritual footprint" around the world.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since 2004).
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