Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yoido Full Gospel Church: 1 Million and Counting

It isn't everyday that friends take a vacation to a foreign country and plan to attend a church. After discovering Yoido Full Gospel Church in S. Korea, pastored by David Yonggi Cho and it's massive congregation recorded to be at approximately 1 million members, how could we not attend! 

Fly Girl, Mia Knotts and I live in Japan where Christian churches are very few. Japan has approximately a one percent population or less population that is Christian. Most Japanese follow Buddhism.

Our first night in Myeondong, S. Korea we researched Yoido Full Gospel Church and the many services that are offered throughout the day that offers translation in 16 languages. The next morning we set out on our journey to Yoido Full Gospel Church. We packed everything we would need for the day, including our guardian angels. Actually, God packed them in our bags; we had no idea.

Wait, is this bus ride free? “Mia, why is the bus driver staring at us like he wants to hurt us? Miiia, aren’t we supposed to pay for the bus? When do we pay?” All we could do was laugh. I waited a couple more stops to see what others did when they got onto the bus. Most Koreans used a buss pass that they flashed on a reader. It was then a light bulb went off in my head, and I realized the bus driver was looking at us crazy because we hadn’t paid our bus fair! We decided we would pay when we got off. After a lengthy bus ride, we realized we were lost! Captain Mia whipped out our map and we realized we had gone in the direction. Mia asked the bus driver for directions. He confirmed with a smile that we were headed in the wrong direction. He directed us to get off the next stop. As I attempted to pay the bus fare, the bus driver waived my hand down and smiled.

Blessing #1 free bus ride.

Source: Reach to Teach Recruiting
After getting off the bus, we walked into The Coffee Bean in hopes of finding someone that spoke English to help us. To no avail and a coffee later, we set out back on the streets to figure this out. All we knew is that time was ticking and we had to get our praise on in church! As we walked a few steps, a foreign face appeared right before our eyes. “Look Mia! He probably speaks English”.  Praise God, he did! He set us on the path to get to church,

Blessing #2 English speaking French man appears out of the middle of no where to give us directions to church.

Finally, we were in route to church! Let’s go Mia! We headed down into the subway station that would take us to Yoido Full Gospel Church. Just as we got on the platform for the train, we had to decide whether to go left or right. We knew we could not afford to make another error. We were already late. We must have given off a spiritual signal for others to realize we were lost because we had not realized it yet ourselves. We had no map out or anything! Then out of the middle of nowhere another angel came flying in. This time a Korean woman that was fluent in English. She asked us if we were lost and needed directions. Mia and I began to laugh because we knew this was God! How did she know we were lost or needed clarification on directions?

Blessing #3 English speaking Korean woman stops to give us directions and clarify our route to church.

Finally, we see a cross and a massive building! We made it! There was no way one could miss the massive infrastructure of Yoido Full Gospel Church.  I had no idea that this place was a church looking from afar. It could easily be mistaken for a convention center or auditorium. Mia and I immediately took out our camera and began snapping photos. We also saw signs that marked Yoido Full Gospel Church had a prayer mountain!

As we entered the church, we realized it had already commenced. I thought we were too late after all the roadblocks we had to experience on our way here. The devil was determined to not get us to God’s service. Mia guided the way and they ushered us through the doors to our seats labeled “Foreigners Only” that was located at the far left (very poor view). I could not see Pastor David Cho physically; however, I watched him from a television screen and listened to translation via headphones. They really should update their sound equipment. Nonetheless, what an awesome experience it was. Although church is in our hearts and not in the number of people that attend church, I could not help but be astounded to see and hear the cries and moans of hundreds of thousands of people crying out to God and worshipping. As we cried out to God in prayer giving praise to God, Mia and I both experienced a Pastor lay hands on the two of us during prayer. Immediately we both began to cry out to God. What a feeling!  

What made this trip amazing is the fact that I traveled to a foreign country with a friend that I met for the first time face to face that had a desire to love God and know God more. To stand next to someone and pray with them is one of the best experiences one can have in a friendship. We both walked out of church and hugged and hugged over again smiling to letting out a sigh of relief. The devil did EVERYTHING in his power to stop us from visiting Yoido Full Gospel Church. Between missing stops, wrong busses and trains, and being late we still made it in time to get the word in. A-MEN. 

Has the devil ever tried to stop you from getting somewhere you were destined to be in life? Share it with me in the comment section.

Click here to read about the places Mia and I shopped and ate at in Myeondong :)

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