One million members? Impressive!
I’ve heard about Yoido Full Gospel Church a lot. Back in my country, I used to hear from Korean missionaries that the largest church in the world is in Seoul. One million members sounded very impressive, I was very curious and at that time I didn’t even think that someday I’ll be in Korea and will have a chance to visit this church. So this is a unique experience.
When our professor told us that there’s a chance to go there on Wednesdays, I certainly decided that my field trip will be to Yoido. Therefore I offered to my thinking and study group to go there together. So the next Wednesday we went to evening service with my groupmates. We were all excited. When we finally arrived at that place, I got a strange feeling, it was mix of fear and excitement. «So here you are…World’s largest church», I told to myself.
We entered the first door we saw. Inside we were warmly welcomed by church members, and they led us to the main meeting hall. Worship has already started. We found a place to sit in the back, because that big hall was almost full. I was glad as I heard the first worship song, it was familiar to me! “Blessed be the Lord” they were singing and I tried to sing along even it was in Korean.
Looking around I’ve noticed that people mostly come there alone.
Worship songs were awesome , they made me miss my church in Kyrgyzstan, because the worship style of the church I’m currently going to, is different.
There was also a choir and they sang very beautiful praise, I have never seen this kind of worship before (only in movies).
After worship there was a sermon, we didn’t understand anything, but still it was exciting to see what’s next. I noticed something quite interesting for me; the pastor by the end of his sermon repeated the word “Hallelujah” so many times! “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…” he repeated it over and over again. It was unusual for me.
After sermon it was time to pray, everyone got up and started to pray (we were the only ones who didn’t ). They were praying and it was getting louder and louder, some people were almost yelling. I guess on Wednesdays the majority of people come after their work or school. Knowing Korean lifestyle and seeing them praying you can guess what they mostly pray for.
They prayed for a great while. Jenna noticed people going around and praying for others. When they did this, they put their hands on someone’s head or shoulder. I saw that some people clapped while praying. It was so loud there; that we even couldn’t hear each other. Another thing Jenna asked me was, «How do ALL these people stop praying at one moment? It is weird», she said.
One of the things we wanted to see very much was speaking in tongues. So we were watching around very attentively if someone would start praying in tongues, but since we didn’t know how does it sound or look we were confused. However, we heard something like “Bddd..bddddd” behind us, the girl was praying and at some point she started saying this “Bddd..bddddd” and girls also noticed that she’s not the only one, several people were doing the same. I don’t know if it was “speaking in tongues” or not, but it was something odd, so we assumed that it could be speaking in tongues.
We left the church almost at the end and all of us had a headache afterwards. On our way back, we shared our impressions and agreed that we would not invite our non-believer friend there, because she/he would be more scared and would misunderstand those people.
Though it was very interesting to see how the largest church in the world praises God.