South Korean delegation from world’s largest church visits Jerusalem and prays for peace

Hundreds of Korean Christians from the largest church in the world gathered in Jerusalem to pray for the peace of the city and of Israel earlier this month.

Some 270 members of Yoido Full Gospel Church – the world largest church with more than half a million members – visited the Holy land Israel on a six-day pilgrimage from November 4-9, 2018. This is the church’s first visit since 1996, and marks a return to a pro-Israel way of thinking.

In 1996, David Yonggi Cho, one of the founders of the church and an international evangelist, hosted “JC 2000,” a conference in Jerusalem in order to pray for peace of Israel and the Middle East. Yoido Church brought 5,000 of their own congregants and others to that conference, marking the first event of this magnitude in Jerusalem organized by Korean churches.

However, except for a few individuals, Yoido Church hasn’t visited Israel as a congregation, since then.

Dr. Lee praying in Jerusalem at the Korea-Israel prayer summit
Dr. Lee praying in Jerusalem at the Korea-Israel prayer summit

But God is great: Since that conference He has been preparing the hearts of many Koreans to visit and to pray for the Jewish people and Israel. Dr. Young Hoon Lee, pastor of Yoido Church, was one of them.

Since he was young, Dr. Lee knew and understood the importance of Israel and God’s plan for His chosen people. He had an open heart toward Israel. When Lee became a senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church in 2008, he started to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Every year, during the first week of October, is the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, a movement Yoido has been involved with for 10 years now.

And this year, Dr. Lee brought his congregation – including church leaders, elders and businessmen – to Israel yet again. His purpose was not just to visit holy sites, but to pray for Israel and for the peace of Jerusalem.

The tour, organized by Keshet Journeys, featured the Korea-Israel unity prayer meeting at Ramat Rachel Hotel in Jerusalem. Messianic leaders and politicians alike were invited including Knesset Member Robert Ilatov, chairman of Knesset Christian Allies Caucus who came to welcome the Korean Christians. Many Messianic leaders attended as well.

Together they prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel. Dr. Lee said that God chose Abraham to give his promise and this promise still lives on among us, with Jews and also with Christians. The church is commanded to pray for Israel and for the Jews, Lee said, and churches all around the world should do so.

President Rivlin with Yoido Church leader Dr. Lee (2nd from left)
President Rivlin with Yoido Church leader Dr. Lee (2nd from left) (Photo: credit: Haim Zach, GPO)

When the meeting ended everyone left for home, except the Korean Christians. Before their tour was over, the Korean visitors headed to the Mount of Olives. There, near the Church of the Ascension, they collected garbage and cleaned the streets of the neighborhood. Then they walked to the landmark Seven Arches Hotel nearby to pray for peace from that panorama viewpoint.

Yoido Full Gospel Church was established at 1958 in Seoul and has rapidly grown to more than 500,000 members. The church’s huge influence extends around the world and especially to Pentecostal churches that are aware of Cho’s work. Now Lee is leading next generation in the church and also works with other churches to further the Gospel of Jesus.

The visit of Yoido Full Gospel Church to Israel was meaningful for both Korea and Israel. Lee said that his church would return annually to pray for Israel. So we pray that the Lord may open even wider the hearts of Korean Christians and churches to pray for Israel.