“They Have Wings”

July 16, 2012

This post; along with the one soon to follow, will introduce two saints saints to the reader; one from the first century AD and one from the twenty-first century. One heard the call on her life following a significant personal loss and one laid down her life as a child. In both instances, their steadfast love for the Lord Jesus coupled with a complete abandoning for their lives here, gives us a “picture” as it were, as to the degree of devotion to the Savior that will soon be required of all who profess to know him. Shortly we will have to maintain the word of our testimony during what Jesus described as “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” We must give all diligence to ensure that we are fully persuaded of, and completetly trusting in, the Lord Jesus who paid for our sins with his own innocent blood. We must give equal diligence to shed every weight, lust, and attachment to this world. Any root of unbelief; any harboring of that which is temporal will carry us to our doom in the critical moment.

Revelation 7:13-14 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

I learned about Roli through a book in VOMs  “Restricted Nations” series which focuses on North Korea. Eulalias story (which will be covered in the next post) was originally recorded in Foxes book of martyrs, however, an excerpt was printed in the June 2012 issue of the VOM  newsletter. Both of these testimonies reveal a level of surrender to the the Lordship of Jesus that few of us have even encountered; much less sought to obtain. As of 2005, Roli was still active in one of the spiritually darkest countries in the world. She shared her story with Voice of the martyrs:

“I became a Christian in 1990. My husband and I first went to the official church, but we wanted to learn freely. So in 1993, we started a home church on the second floor of our home with eight of our Christian friends. My husband passed away in 1996. He was a believer, but not very strong in his faith. When he died, I began to blame God. I was really depressed and lonely.”

It seems necessary here to address a truth that many of us attempt to hide from our unsaved contemporaries because we don’t want to be a bad testimony. “Christians can get lonely, depressed, and even mis-assign blame.” It could be stated that such battles will intensify as one draws closer to Jesus. As we become a greater threat to the kingdom of darkness, the enemy will increase his efforts to distract, discourage, and, if possible, derail us. He saw Roli as a direct threat because she was given to prayer. Without a vibrant prayer life, Roli may have surrendered to despair and subsequently, never heard the heavenly calling. Instead, she overcame the tactics of the enemy and soon began carrying the gospel into a very restrictive land.

“The more I prayed about my situation, the more I felt God calling me to North Korea. So in the spring of 1997, I planned my first trip. My children were very upset. They said it was too dangerous, but I had to see if this was indeed God’s calling.
The moment I stepped foot in North Korea, my depression went away. I felt an inner peace I hadn’t felt in many years. I knew God had called me here, but then I was heartbroken by what I saw I walked down the road in this one village where dead bodies were on the side of the road.”
(This was during the famine years of the mid to late 1990s) I saw a hungry boy eating one of the bodies. But then a policeman also saw him, and pulling out his revolver, he shot the boy in the head. It was the first, but not the last person I saw shot for cannibalism in North Korea.”

It’s been a continual pondering as, year after uneventful year, as I sit in my westernized bubble; isolated from the real world. “Do we have even a remote understanding of what’s taking lace outside of our own little theater of activity?” While we sit in front of televisions and spend countless hours on facebook (sorry; I had to get in a facebook jab) the battle for souls rages in ways that we are either incapable of fathoming  or unwilling to consider. And if we do take a moment to give thought, it’s oftentimes in an “over there” format that doesn’t really effect us beyond a momentary burst of emotion. (Matthew 25:31-46)

“When I returned to China after my first trip, I left something in North Korea – my heart. I knew this was was to be my ministry, so I began frequent trips and began a network of people to evangelize. You can bring small gifts, some food, a toy, or even pencils and paper. The North Koreans warm up to you, and I would look for opportunities to share the gospel.
Once they believed, I would come back for training and try to bring them a bible. Since my first trip in 1997, I have made contact with 40 house churches and helped start another sixty.”

It seems awkward to mention it, however, had Roli not suffered the loss of her husband, she probably would have never ventured into such a dangerous situation. Without a doubt, the home church was an incredible work as many had come to know Jesus and were seeking the deep things of God. But the call to North Korea was urgent beyond comprehension. It was a time of unimaginable loss of life in that land. Low crop yields. coupled with destructive government policies resulted in a famine that lasted for years. It’s very likely that there are precious souls from North Korea who heard of Jesus and believed on him only hours before departing this world. These will shine like the firmament throughout the eons to come. Roli continues:

“But now the work is very difficult. The larger it gets, the more dangerous it is. Our first arrest happened in 1999. Four believers were caught worshipping together. They were arrested and sentenced to seven years. A young man who was trained extensively and active in bible delivery was recently arrested. He has disappeared. I am really worried about him as well. Another family was arrested – the whole family, including the children. They are all in prison except for the father. He was executed.
Some former prisoners have died from their imprisonment. The guards let prisoners go when they are near death. They usually die within a few weeks or months of their release.”

Interesting. As I was typing the final sentence of the above excerpt, Acts 14:19-20 came to mind.

Again, we are confronted by a truth that few can fathom. In the west, we can go to our computers, wander over th the VOM website (or similar sites) read a few stories, perhaps even make a monitary donation……then quickly step away, wander out to the back yard, and grill up some steaks. We can read a few reports and convince ourselves that we understand when we really don’t. I honestly do not know what it would be like to share the gospel in a hostile land; where a single miscalculation can result in others being imprisoned or executed. I do not know what it will be like when we are hunted down here and executed for our faith in Jesus. (Revelation 13:7) I don’t know what it will be like when almost everyone that I currently interract with has turned against me because they received a mark which has rendered them incapable of repentance or independant thought. Nonetheless, we can be certain that the same Jesus who has sustained Roli during multiple journeys into the hermit kingdom will sustain us when our testimony for Jesus costs us everything in this life. 

The testimony of Roli is truly amazing; and yet the single most eye-opening portion of the report was found in the editors note which reads as follows:

Editors note: At the time of this printing, Roli continues her work inside North Korea. Please pray for her work, as it is extremely dangerous. She is in her mid-seventies. Before concluding the interview, Roli was asked if she had any idea of the extent of the ministry going on inside North Korea. She could not even guess but said “I know there are many people doing what I do. I see them coming across the border. No one ever speaks a word, but you just know who they are. They have wings.”

“They have wings!” This observation demands an response from everyone who professes to know Jesus. Is my relationship with Jesus so vibrant that people can tell before a syllable is uttered? Am I walking in the love of Jesus and abiding in the peace that passes all understanding on a level that preceeds any verbal or physical identifying features?” This isn’t an unusual idea. We know that something similar transpires in the kingdom of darkness. A person with accumulated demonic presence can enter a room and everyone in the ambience will “feel” the darkness. The same principal works in regards to one who walks in truth. We should strive to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that, when we enter a place the very atmosphere is altered. We are supposed to be “a peculiar people.”

Luke 10:5 “And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.” 

I once heard a comment which relayed the following observation: “Christians love to talk about the martyrs for Jesus and those who suffered greatly for their faith, however, none of them want to do likewise.” In other words, we like to identify with them on a linguistic level, but we don’t envision ourselves ever having to endure similar circumstances. And if this isn’t enough to consider, the upcoming story of Eulalia will issue a challenge that few of us can even begin to fathom. My fervent desire is that these reports will encourage all who love the Lord Jesus to prepare spiritually for the days ahead, and maintain their testimony steadfast until the end.

Blessings always in Jesus name.

Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Hebrews 13:3 “remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

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