On 20 May, a group of six City Harvest Church (CHC) staff travelled to South Korea to visit the world’s largest church — Yoido Full Gospel Church (YFGC). The five-day trip may have been short, but it was certainly impactful.
YFGC was founded by David Yonggi Cho and his mother-in-law, Choi Ja-shil in 1958, in a living room, with just six people. It has since grown exponentially into a congregation of about 830,000, making it the world’s largest Protestant church.
|PHOTOS: Tan Kim Hock|
The Singapore team was invited to Hansei University for a theological symposium. The University was founded in 1953 to nurture leaders in the Christian faith. Besides offering courses in theology, humanities and social sciences courses are also available.
The theme of the symposium, presented by Dr Cho, was “the understanding of social salvation”, which is the sharing of love and happiness with others.
Cho believes that when one loves his neighbor as himself, love will extend to oneself, society and the nation. He explains that this is substantiated in the Bible (John 3:16).
“It was a really enriching experience to hear the professors from various universities espousing their views and writing theological papers in response to Cho’s understanding of social salvation,” said Lee Yi Lun, part of the Singapore team and a zone supervisor with City Harvest Church.
“I feel encouraged and comforted knowing that as we reach out to the lost and needy, we will surely be blessed by God,” she added.
After the symposium, the team also had the privilege of having dinner with Dr Cho and his wife, Dr Kim Sung Hae. During the dinner, Cho shared about his trip to Siberia a few years ago, where 20,000 people, who have never heard the name of Jesus, received salvation. Miracles took place: a man who was paralyzed from the neck down was healed and could walk by the end of the meeting.
Cho has had a burning desire to preach the gospel around the world for the last 50 years — and all that time, he has not taken a single vacation. To date, he has traveled and preached in 70 countries and over 400 cities.
Cho’s dedication and love for God moved one of the team members, Bobby Chaw, the dean of students in CHC’s School of Theology (SOT).
“I feel inspired to do more for the Lord as I see Dr Cho’s great love for the lost, poor and the needy. To preach the gospel in 70 countries and 400 cities is really phenomenal!” he said.
The trip was an eventful one: the team enjoyed the opportunity to learn the history of North and South Korea during a visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land that serves as a buffer zone between the North and South. They also attended worship services and prayer meetings at the 12,000-seater Yoido Full Gospel Church.
All in, this proved an unforgettable experience for the Singapore missions team, who came back to Singapore with deep impressions of Yoido Full Gospel Church.