I still remember it was in Israel in Dec 2022 that Dean Ju had asked if I was interested in an internship program with Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea, the largest church in the world - The Global Elim Internship Program where they aim to raise global leaders. This internship would require me to take 8 weeks (8 March - 23 April 2023) from work to attend. My answer was simply, if my Senior Pastor allowed it, I would go.
With that, I asked for his consideration and he simply said, “Go”. In my mind, I hadn’t thought that he would have agreed so quickly, given the commitment needed - even without checking if I had to take leave, or if I would have to take a sabbatical, etc. As I sought the Lord, I sensed that I just had to be there, and confirmed through one of my mentors, as we prayed.
Arriving in Korea, the pastor overseeing the internship shared that their desire is that we would encounter God in a measure that we would have the clarity of our callings and what God desired of us. The emphasis on prayer and hearing the voice of God was clear from the start - a culture that Yoido Full Gospel Church is widely known for.
The internship program was intentionally designed such that we were exposed to theological lectures, the ins and outs of the operation of the world’s largest church, and the opportunity to serve in the various departments of the church (ushering, audio-visual, broadcast, worship). Of course, not forgetting the weekly trips to the prayer mountain, where we spend the entire day in the secret place of fellowship with the Lord.
More than the program, the people that we encountered and met, the pastors that served with us, and the fellow interns whom we now call friends have each left an imprint upon my life as we shared the 8-weeks in fellowship with one another and in the presence of Christ. The prayers that were uttered, the words released, the exhortation, and most importantly, that we received from Christ as we seek Him have drawn me deeper into Him.
There’s a quote that goes “When things don’t add up, subtract yourself”. Maybe it’s the distance away from home/office back in Singapore but being in Korea had brought a sense of clarity to some of the situations that I could not make sense of back home.
That geographical separation has allowed me the space to see these situations from a new vantage point with a better understanding of my role and responses. It allowed me time to pause and process everything before the Lord, without rushing. So many times, the things we see physically can be distractions and the Lord has been reminding me that many problems, battles, conflicts, etc are the works of the flesh yet we are not to war against the flesh, but in the Spirit.
From a distance, the things “unseen” seems to glare out much more. It’s like our visual sight had become a distraction to the actual issues that we ought to be contending for the Lord’s way. The Lord has been re-centering my focus back unto Him in the midst of the noises in my life. It brought a sense of clarity to the battles I was meant to fight.
One of the revelations that I have received and am reminded of while I was in Korea is that it is the Anointing that breaks the yoke. So many times, I try to fire-fight problems as they arise (or simply put, as I see and understand) but really, it was just a distraction from building up my faith and cultivating the anointing to carry and host the very presence and power of God in my life instead.
From the beginning of the program, I have been thoroughly blessed, simply enjoying and soaking in the sights and sounds of the new environment and all that it has to offer through my observations. The interactions with the many new people that we have crossed paths with, whether in the church or along our way, also brought much joy to my soul.
The spiritual disciplines and foundations that I saw in each of the pastors really served as a constant reminder and inspired me to rebuild that level of discipline within me - one that sometimes gets lost in the midst of busyness.
When I watch the way the pastors prepared, served, and responded to one another in the various situations that I’ve come across also inspired and caused me to reflect on my own ways and habits as a leader back home. Some situations felt like déjà vu, whether in a good or not-so-pleasant sense. This introspection allowed me to grow in humility and maturity of character.
The messages at the various services have also built up my faith and understanding of the way of the Lord with its message emphasis. To be honest, I’ve never attended so many services, and had so many prayer times, in such a consecutive amount of time. Yet I do not feel tired, nor dread it, rather, it had been refreshing for my soul. A constant reminder that we need to constantly be filled as we pour out.
I am reminded of a question once asked of me: Does passion come first to compel us towards action or does faithful actions fan into flame a passion?
This was the reflection taken at the mid-point mark of the program.
Over the 8-weeks, I encountered the Lord in a depth that I hadn’t before. The opportunity to seek Him wholeheartedly truly brought clarity of His call in my life. Through this, I continue to learn to be still before the Lord and to walk in step with His spirit in obedience and in accordance with His rhythms of grace and mercy.
I pray that there will be the sustenance of a growing passion for knowing Christ as I keep my focus on what truly matters to Him even as I serve.
Cheryl Chong Wei Xi | Bethesda Cathedral | SOM T2 2019, SOL 2022
Only for selected TLBS students below 35 years. An 8-week Global Elim Internship Program in Seoul, all expenses paid (except airfare) by Yoido Full Gospel Church to be exposed to the vision, ministry philosophy, structure, and leadership of the local church.