Visitation to South Korea

This is the age of the Body, and the Body of Christ is universal. Under the leading of the Head, none of us is serving the Lord independently. As such, there is the need for much blending as the unique way to bring in the reality of the oneness of the Body of Christ. From 11 through 21 July 2017, a group of us (39 saints inclusive of 28 trainees), visited South Korea to witness the Lord’s move and advancement in the churches, in the ministry and in the work there. The trip covered 10 localities across 10 days, including a visit to the Full-time Training Centre in Seoul and the Korean Gospel Book Room. Throughout the trip, we gained much experiences in spirit, through the cross and mutual learning among the saints.

Report According to Locality
Video Part 1

Seoul

Upon arrival at Incheon Airport, some local saints received us and guided us to travel by bus to meet with the saints in Seoul at the meeting hall in Seocho. It is one of the fifteen big districts in Seoul with a total of about 330 saints meeting regularly. This is also the first meeting hall in Seoul, where the saints began to meet since 1979.

As we fellowshipped over the love feast and the meeting, it was very encouraging for the trainees to see patterns in the Lord’s Recovery across the world, caring for the continuation and propagation of the ministry. We saw the importance of being constituted with the word and being equipped in languages, that we may be the young people of this age useful to the Lord, to give food at the proper time to all of God’s children on earth today.

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    Saints preparing and enjoying the love feast at Seocho district meeting hall in Seoul.
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    A brother (standing, left) from the church in Seoul sharing concerning the importance of literature work and language in the propagation of the ministry.
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    A brother (first from left) from FTTMY sharing on the ministry of the age to raise up a group of young people to meet the Lord’s needs.
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    Group photo with the saints in Seoul.

The next day, we visited the Korean Gospel Book Room which is attached to the meeting hall in Seongnam. We were told that the literature work began in South Korea as early as the 1970s, but the book room was officially established in 1978. The brother shared with us the burden concerning the propagation of the ministry not only by books, but as technology became more and more advance, they also make use of all the audio and video formats, smartphone applications and the media. The book room is endeavoring in the translation work as well, with the primary goal of completing the translation of the Collected Works of Witness Lee by 2022.

We toured around the whole facility, covering the e-publications section, the media section, the translation and polishing section, the application development section as well as the broadcast section. In the process, we saw how the Lord could meet the needs of His people who are hungry for His word through the available manpower and coordination of the saints in the church. In supporting the bookroom, the church in Seongnam is also much blessed by the Lord, with the saints increasing in number over the years.

We proceeded to visit the factory and warehouse nearby under the corporation named Jubilee, which is also owned by the book room. Jubilee mainly produces merchandises, gifts and souvenir items to the mass market, with their customers mainly from around 400 Christian bookstores in South Korea. Despite its successful business, the burden is not wavered. The goal of the sale of these items is to pave the way for the publications of the ministry to be received by more Christians. This echoes Brother Witness Lee’s charge that the riches released among us through the ministry of the word are for all God’s children to enjoy. Witnessing all the preparation work and hearing from the laboring saints here had indeed strongly infused into us, the burden to care for the literature work.

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The various sections in the book room.
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    One of the workshops in the Jubilee factory and warehouse.
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    In front of Seongnam meeting hall.

Over the duration of our stay in Seoul, we also visited some notable places such as the N Seoul Tower, and had a wonderful buffet lunch with the saints. Although this was just at our first stop, we were thankful for all that we have seen and received from the Lord.

Yongin

Our second destination was Yongin, a city situated about 40 minutes south of Seoul. Yongin is the location for the Full-time Training centre in Seoul (FTTS) which was started in August 1996. Since then, a total of 903 two-year full-time trainees and 334 middle-aged trainees have graduated and went on to various localities to serve and strengthen the churches. The training centre currently hosts a total of 155 trainees, including the first year, second year and middle-aged trainees.

After a short tea session with the trainees, we gathered at the auditorium for presentation and fellowship. The trainees from both Seoul and Malaysia presented hymns respectively and shared on our experiences in the training, our appreciation of the ministry of the age, and our strong desire to answer the Lord’s call to be His overcomers. The trainers also strengthened the word by sharing on the importance of the training and the constitution of the truth into us to equip us to fight the spiritual warfare to bring the Lord back.

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    Testimony of the trainees during the short fellowship session in the auditorium.
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    Group photo of the FTTS trainees with the FTTMY trainees at the full-time training centre in Yongin.
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Trainers from FTTMY and FTTS speaking a word to the trainees.

We also had a session of fellowship with the church in Yongin in the evening. The church here began bread-breaking in 1996. Today, there are around 225 saints meeting regularly. Among the highlights of the meeting that evening was the sharing on the process of establishing the training centre in Malaysia and the need for the genuine increase in the church. Some particular items related to the great wheel of God’s move in both countries were also being brought up for prayers.

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    Meeting and fellowship with the saints in Yongin
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    Group photo with the saints in Yongin.
Ansan

Ansan is a campus city. The church here places a strong focus on the campus work in the various universities within the region. The church in Ansan has around 210 saints meeting regularly and was having the video training when we arrived. As such, we had a relatively shorter time of meeting together.

Nevertheless we grasped opportunities to hear from the local students and trainees of their experiences when we were in their homes. We found out that the serving ones and the students here are constantly coordinating throughout the term to contact and shepherd new ones and to bring them into the corporate church life. There are two blocks of small apartments in the city that serve as a student centre cum accommodation for the campus saints. The students also have an English Bible Study group where they meet every Wednesday to mutually share the Christ they have enjoyed according to the Scriptures. We also saw how the serving ones and families function as nursing mothers and exhorting fathers, genuinely caring for the spiritual welfare of the students. There are also blending for saints of various age groups. Overall, there is much reality of mutual shepherding in the church.

In Ansan, we toured around the campuses and also visited the Hwaseong Fortress, a historical landmark, and the Korea Water Resources Corporation, a place where we learnt about the water supply system to the public and industrial areas throughout South Korea.

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Having breakfast and fellowship with the students at the student centre activity room.
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Group photo with the saints in Ansan while visiting the Hwaseong Fortress.
Daejeon

Daejeon is a city of much spiritual historical value, as it was where the Lord’s Recovery started in South Korea back in the 1960s. Currently, there are around 520 saints meeting regularly. Daejeon also has a four-storey student centre to care for the campus saints and the campus work. The brother shared with us specific prayer burdens for the next generation, the backsliding saints, the constitution of the truth, and the shepherding work in the church.

Over the dinner love feast and the meeting, we enjoyed the Lord much in our mutual sharing, hymn singing and praising. In the fellowship that evening, the trainees shared on the exercise of the spirit to touch the true and living God, to love Him, and to experience and apply the spiritual truths that we have learnt in the training. In the further fellowship from the trainers, we were reminded that although the Christian life is a joyful life, we should always seek the joy in spirit, to enter into the joy of the Lord, and even to be faithfully serving to enter into the joy of the Master. Through the sharing, we desired to enter into the good pleasure of God’s will and to be the overcomers in this age.

During our leisure time, a place of interest we visited was the Baekje History & Culture Museum. Equipped with diverse exhibition and education facilities, the museum displays reconstructed miniatures of relics, photos, and videos related to the Bakje Period, back in the Korean Three Kingdoms era.

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Group photo with the saints in Daejeon in front of the meeting hall.
Jeonju

Departing from Daejeon, we arrived at the meeting hall in Jeonju near dinner time. We had a wonderful love feast and fellowship session with the local saints. After singing the graduation hymn, the trainees presented their living in the training in four aspects: the process and decision of joining the training, the living and service in the training, the equipping and pursue in the training, and the desire and direction after graduating. We were arranged to have more time to rest and continue our sharing the following day, after the Lord’s Table Meeting at the same place.

The bread-breaking meeting was memorable, with saints singing and praising in various languages, yet experiencing the oneness in spirit. The corporate sharing was on Message 3 of the Memorial Day Conference, which is “The Need for All Our Service to be Initiated by God”. As the saints shared along this line, we realised the need to be saved from all self-effort, and to genuinely know what life is, not only for our own enjoyment but for the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose.

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Lord’s Table Meeting in Jeonju

On top of the supply in the meetings, we also sensed the love of the saints through the hospitality given. We were introduced to many different local Korean delicacies either in the homes or outdoors. The saints in South Korea truly pursued hospitality, and we enjoyed their all-inclusive, tender care toward us in the Lord. During our stay in Jeonju, we also visited the Asia Cultural Centre, a hub for international arts and cultural exchange.

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Gathered during the walkthrough at the Asia Cultural Centre.
Video Part 2

Gwangju

The church in Gwangju began the first bread-breaking meeting in 1972 and currently has about 150 saints meeting regularly in 5 districts. We gathered together during the evening for love feast and fellowship. The local brothers shared on the burden to enter into the God-ordained way corporately. The mutual fellowship continued on how the Lord desires the one new man where Christ is all and in all, and for this purpose, all the differences i.e. languages and cultures must be blended away as we care only for the indwelling Christ within. Through the testimonies by the trainees, we were encouraged to care for the intrinsic and organic things of God’s New Testament Economy, to redeem the time to be constituted with the ministry of the age, to issue in a group of people loving the Lord and who are willing to suffer the afflictions of Christ for the building up of the Body. It was very touching to see many brothers from Gwangju responding to the word of the ministry, testifying the encouragement they received and how we need more blending to have the reality of the corporate Christ.

The following day, the saints brought us for sightseeing. We had more opportunity to fellowship and blend with the local saints in a more informal way. Some of us who stayed in the student centre had the opportunity to visit Chongnam University nearby where the Gwangju Uprising took place. We also visited the Bamboo Forest and had lunch together. Generally, our time in each locality was short, but we were so thankful for the arrangement by the local saints, even the handover in between localities, enabling us to have a smooth and fruitful experience.

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Group photo with the saints in Gwangju at the Bamboo Park
Mokpo

Mokpo is located at the southwest area of South Korea, with a population of 25 000. The church here began in 1987 and now around 110 saints meeting regularly. Considering it a small city, the current meeting hall is relatively spacious and wide, allowing us to have a pleasant love feast and fellowship with the saints. The brothers testified that this meeting hall is a result of the unreserved offering of the saints about 10 years ago. We saw how the Lord blessed the saints to further advance spiritually through their willingness to place themselves in the church. There was much mutual encouragement and enjoyment in the Lord through our sharing. The trainees presented a Malay hymn to the saints in South Korea for the first time in the trip, “O Tuan Yesus, Kaulah yang Terindah”, and continued to fellowship on the need to grow in life and live by the inner life, to be led within. By the strengthening words from the more elderly brothers, we also came to realise how blessed we are to be in the Lord’s recovery as a younger generation.

In Mokpo, we visited the salvage site for MS Sewol, a Korean carrier ship that sunk in 2014 and was recently transported up to land for searching and recovery purposes. We also visited the city agricultural and natural history museums, and took a stroll along the Gatbawi street bridge.

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Hymn singing before the fellowship session at the Mokpo meeting hall.
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Group photo with the saints in Mokpo at the Gatbawi Street Bridge.
Suncheon

Next, we visited the church in Suncheon, which has an average of 80 saints meeting each week. The church here has a burden to gain the next generation after observing a decrease in numbers over the past few years. This year, they began to have campus service and purchased a student centre for the purpose of gaining more young people for the Lord.

There were many campus saints accompanying us during the sightseeing, and even prepared hymns and translated for us during the meeting that night. We got to know that many campus students here are currently studying foreign languages in the university to be useful in the hands of the Lord. In the meeting that evening, there were also many saints who came from other small localities nearby. While presenting the graduation hymn, we were reminded that this is not an outward exhibition but our testimony and our living. Despite presenting the graduation hymn again and again in different localities, both the trainees and the saints enjoyed the fresh supply from the Lord, bringing us all into a spirit of consecration.

There were many testimonies on our learning in the training, the need for perfecting, and the going out for the Lord. All these require life as the strong foundation. The reasons the Lord delays His return are due to the degradation of the churches, the unripen crops, and the scarcity of overcomers. We all aspire to be the overcomers today, to be built up with the saints in the churches for the reality of the Kingdom of God to be manifested on earth. May we all redeem the time, enjoy the rich presence of the Lord, seize every opportunity to be perfected to be the group of people who can bring the Lord back!

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    Campus saints in Suncheon joining us for breakfast.
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    Meeting and fellowship with the saints in Suncheon.
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Group photo with the saints in Suncheon before departing to Jinju.
Jinju

Upon arriving at the meeting hall in Jinju, we were received by saints of various age groups, including children, campus students, young working saints and also elderly ones, making the reception very warm, living and even supplying. The meeting hall is also home to around 20 campus students who study at the universities nearby. They live a corporate living of pursuing the Lord. Although this was their summer holiday break, some returned earlier to have a week-long intensive pursue of the ministry, entering into the book God’s Economy, led by some full-time campus serving ones. To see the campus saints pursuing the ministry in this way was especially encouraging and precious. We are reminded to pray for this normal condition that the churches should have.

Over the love feast, we were initiated into a blending atmosphere with the saints, and were already joyful and burning in spirit by the time we begun the meeting by singing hymn C651. Despite some unfamiliarity among the saints, the Holy Spirit moved in the meeting that night in a strong way, touching many saints, especially the campus students to offer up their being to the Lord to be trained and perfected by Him. The meeting was opened for all the saints to share according to the leading of the Spirit. As the meeting advanced, we were all encouraged within to be the overcomers today not by fighting to win, but by standing on the position of the victory already obtained by our Lord. We are here on earth to be God’s corporate warrior to fight for His interest on earth!

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    FTTMY trainees presenting the graduation hymn to the saints in Jinju.
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    Group photo with the saints in Jinju at the meeting hall.
Changwon

Changwon is a city with a population of around 110 000. The church here began in 2010 with currently around 200 saints meeting regularly in three districts. On our way to the meeting hall, the serving brothers shared with us how they began to have a burden for the next generation a few years ago in one of the districts. As a result of much prayer and fellowship accompanying by the labor of the saints, there was the blessing from the Lord. This showed us the importance of coordination among the saints in our service toward the Lord.

In the meeting that evening, after our hymn presentation and testimonies, the trainees shared on having a clear vision, knowing God’s will, being equipped with the Word to be able to serve Him and on living a God-man living. In recapping the trip, a brother shared that the most precious is to enter into the good pleasure of God’s will. We are all living in the church life, yet we must be saved from routines, and seize our “remaining years” as mentioned in hymn C651 to be poured out for Christ and the church, both the younger saints and the older saints alike. We must strive for the growth daily that we may have the rich experience and maturity of life to be the overcomers. We were all encouraged to be one that would maintain the spirit of the training even after graduation, to be always fresh, vital and preserved in the Body.

Many trainees were given hospitality at the meeting hall, where we gathered early for breakfast the next morning before travelling to the airport for our flight back to Malaysia. The saints had indeed labored much for us, served us and took care of us. We pray that the spiritual supply would continue to flow from the Head to these dear ones by the Spirit’s instant speaking in the days to come.

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Group photo with the saints in Changwon before departing to Gimhae Airport
Concluding Word

We have greatly benefited from seeing how the Lord has move in South Korea. The gospelizing of the nation, the raising up of the local churches in almost every locality, and the endeavoring to bring the divine truths in the recovery to the whole country, all within a short span of less than a century impacted us tremendously. Throughout ten whole days, we marveled at the Lord’s work in all the different localities. It is such a blessing that the churches in the Lord’s recovery all over the earth can be in the unique flow of the Spirit participating in the Lord’s ultimate move today. By witnessing the Lord’s move in South Korea, we further affirm the ministry of this age which we have received, realizing the Lord has only one direction in His work everywhere—to build up the unique Body of Christ as His eternal habitation, to prepare the Bride, and to bring in the Kingdom, to close this age and to usher in His return.

For His coming back, the Lord needs overcomers in the church. May we all gladly and boldly answer the Lord’s call in this age, to be those who are willing to pay the price, to be constituted with the present truth, and to live, work and serve under the unique Headship of Christ, and to be faithful unto death. We desire to be faithful to the portion we have received in the Body, to please our Master, and live to Him in an absolute way to bring Him back. May we all echo the last prayer in the Bible,”Come, Lord Jesus!”