Even as tensions increase between North Korea and the United States (and between North Korea and the rest of the world), the Cary-based group Trans World Radio is broadcasting daily messages of hope to the people there.
TWR president and chief executive officer Lauren Libby says the group started increasing its broadcast time into North Korea about a year and a half ago.
“We could see what was coming, and we really needed to be able to respond to give people hope,” Libby said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Our goal is to speak hope in the middle of not-so-much hope.”
Every day, TWR transmits to 190 countries in 230 different languages. The Christian messages TWR broadcasts to North Korea – currently 1.5 hours each day – are produced in Asia, in the Korean language, and sent via the internet to Guam and then into North Korea through “extremely high-powered short wave transmitters” in Guam.
Libby points out that on Tuesday, North Korea said it was looking at attacking Guam, a U.S. territory. He said his organization is working with staff there to keep them prepared. “Who knows what’s going to happen?”
“The North Korean people only know what they hear on state radio and television, and that probably is not the same message as we’re hearing here in the U.S. and the world,” Libby says. “While we’re not broadcasting the American message, we’re broadcasting the message of the Kingdom of God and Jesus. Our goal is to give people a certain amount of peace and spiritual orientation.”
While there are no official measurements for the number of people listening, Libby says TWR knows it is reaching people.
“We get quite a bit of feedback,” he says. “People risk a lot to communicate with people outside North Korea, but we get letters out of there and we get responses as a result of our broadcasts.
While the situation with North Korea is certainly tense, Libby stresses that it’s not the only volatile place to which TWR broadcasts.
“We’re in Venezuela and Cuba, in the Middle East,” he says. “There’s a lot of turbulence in the world today. In my lifetime, I think this is one of the most turbulent times since the Korean War, or Vietnam War. The world needs some hope. There’s not a lot of hope these days.”