God’s Special Forces

“There are places in the world many fear to tread, places of darkness where most have given up hope of ever trying to make a difference.”

The young man was standing in front of our Sunday school class, showing photos and telling hair-raising stories about smuggling food and Bibles into North Korea. Finding families for children orphaned by genocide in Myanmar. Even extracting persecuted believers from these and other nations that have targeted them for execution.

The U.S. military has special forces teams that engage in high-risk missions. Alpha Relief is one of God’s special forces teams.

Their website describes their focus:

Alpha Relief (AR) is a team of believers aiding fellow Christians by ensuring hope in countries where religious persecution is prevalent. We are committed to finding, reaching, and rescuing Christians in some of the darkest places on earth.

Using a network of underground international contacts, Alpha Relief regularly goes undercover to distribute emergency food aid, Bibles, and other essential resources into places where persecuted Christians are in dire physical and spiritual need. We also educate churches in the U.S. about areas of intense persecution and act as a vehicle for empowerment; a conduit for faith and support.

Whoever said following Jesus was boring?

Like other ministries, AR depends on prayer and financial support from local churches and individuals. Their biggest needs are food and volunteers willing to go. As the speaker continued telling about his experiences, what really hit me is that these are not super-Christians doing this work. They’re ordinary believers. Like me. Like you.

In one example, a 20-member team in northeast China works to smuggle 50-pound bags of rice across the river into North Korea. The food is desperately needed. Our speaker told the story of families who were forced to decide which members would eat (the working adults) and which would die (the very old and the very young).

If these smugglers are caught, they face life imprisonment in a work camp (where the life expectancy is two years) or a faster death by execution. Yet they continue, hoping to keep the church alive “to be a beacon of hope in the dark country of North Korea.”

While many of AR’s workers are native to the countries they serve, others come from the U.S. One young man described how he was the least likely candidate imaginable for this sort of work. Raised in southern California, he was more interested in surfing than missions, comfortable with his life, and definitely not seeking adventure. Yet God wouldn’t let him stay that complacent. He now risks his life to serve persecuted believers around the world, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Check out the Alpha Relief website, read about their projects, and watch the videos. Then prayerfully consider supporting this incredible ministry—through prayer, financially, or by joining them in being the body of Christ on earth.

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