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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)

TITLE: Forbidden Code
By Allison Egley


Hyun Jung clutched her smuggled Bible to her chest as she waited for the phone to ring. It had taken a long time to work out the details, but she hoped this first church service would go well. It wasn't a traditional service. That was outlawed in North Korea. They had already developed some code words for the service, in case their phones were tapped. They knew anything even sounding like a Bible reference could mean trouble.


Hyun Jung grabbed the phone before it finished ringing.


"How are you?" Sun Hi asked.


"What are you doing tonight?"

The first use of their code. It meant simply "Are you ready?" Such simple words, and yet spoken aloud they could raise suspicion

"Nothing much." Let's do it, Hyun Jung though. She listened for the first tones of the code and pushed the buttons on the phone to repeat it back. 1-0-6-0-0-1-0-0-9, she confirmed. She translated the code as she opened her Bible. One: Old testament; zero-six: sixth book; zero-zero-one: first chapter; zero-zero-nine: ninth verse. Joshua 1:9

The line was silent as both read the verse.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

It was a very appropriate first verse to read together.

Hyun Jung chuckled and spoke to Sun Hi. "I think thatís one of my favorites. Mu Chong had to be so bold to follow after Kim Jong-il. Kim Jong-il was so in tune with what Kim Il-sung wanted. The names all had to be in code. Any names that could be connected to each other in the Bible were cause for concern. The easiest names to use were the names of those in power in the North Korean government or military. As long as you were saying good things about the government, they'd leave you alone; unless they had reason to suspect something more sinister.

"Well, I should probably go. I think my mom is wondering what Iím doing," Sun Hi explained.

Hyun Jung agreed. "Yeah, okay." They had agreed to keep this first meeting short, simply to see if their codes worked well enough to suppress immediate suspicion. "But before you go, I've got one more slogan for you."

Hyun Jung typed the keys, and Sun Hi confirmed back. 1-1-9-0-1-8-0-0-3 Old testament, 19th book, 18th chapter, third verse. Psalm 18:3.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

The silence on the other end of the line said everything. "Yes," Sun Hi said.

Hyun Jung hung up the phone and sighed. It was refreshing to receive encouragement from the Word, even in tiny snippets over the phone. She pulled back the tapestry in her room and slid her Bible in the hole in the wall. "Until next time," she whispered.

Information about religion in North Korea can be found here: www.catholicexplorer.com/explore4325/nationworld/report-shows-religion-still-outlawed-in-north-kore.shtml

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This article has been read 1126 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 07/26/08
Oh, absolutely fascinating and intriguing. I can't imagine having to experience God's Word this way. This was certainly eye-opening. The code is ingenious.
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/27/08
Very creative. It would be a challenge to learn exactly which tones when with each number, but that's a cool way to do a code.
Catrina Bradley 07/29/08
Very nice! Intriguing and fascinating. Great take on the topic with this tale.
Dianne Janak07/30/08
Inspiring! So glad you threw this brick.. what a wonderfully creative use of the phone.. and yet it makes us ponder about what we take for granted.. WELL DONE!
Lynda Lee Schab 07/30/08
Nice job, Allison! A wonderfully creative piece. I noticed a couple of missing letters here and there - maybe a glitch on your keyboard? That happens to me sometimes. :-)
Great entry. Well done!
Lauryn Abbott07/30/08
Great story. We really do have so much to be grateful for here, don't we?
Shirley McClay 07/30/08
A great reminder of how easy we have it and how much we take for granted. Think I'll go read my Bible now.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/30/08
This was a well written reminder of how truly blessed we are in our freedom of religion.
Mariane Holbrook 07/30/08
What a creative touch! This is so well done that I'm green with envy! Kudos!
Pamela Kliewer07/30/08
What a great reminder of the freedom we have here and how we need to be praying for our brothers and sisters who don't have that freedom. I love the code. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 07/30/08
Wow! Definitely creative here-and thanks for the link at the bottom. I was glad that she was able to talk and worship without being caught. You had the suspense going there and I liked the ending, best. ^_^
Joshua Janoski07/30/08
What an interesting and unique offering for this week's topic! I really enjoyed this a lot. I am so thankful to have the freedom to study the Bible freely, and I think it is sad that other countries do not possess that freedom.

Great job with this!
Joy Faire Stewart07/31/08
Allison, congratulations on your EC. The story is very intriguing.
Patricia Turner07/31/08
Congratulations on your EC win! You told a story we all need to know. Thanks!