05 May Small Beginnings
“If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed . . . ” ~ Matthew 17:20
Dr. Yongii Cho’s church in South Korea is the largest singular congregation in history, with approximately 1 million members. This is his story.
“How my walk of faith began…
My family lived in North Korea. When the war broke out, we lost our home. With other refugees, we traveled south to Pusan. Money and food were extremely scarce, and I worked very hard to eke out an existence of one meal a day and to continue my education.
One day while I was working, blood came up and filled my mouth. Soon it was coming from my nose also, and I struggled to keep from choking until I lapsed into unconsciousness. When I came to, my clothing was soaked in blood. I was too dizzy to rise. How long I lay there, I do not know.
Finally, I struggled to my feet and managed to reach home. All night I was in and out of a coma. My fever rose, and when I coughed, blood gushed out. By morning I was more dead than alive. My parents took me to a hospital and had a doctor examine me. He made X-rays of my chest. Then he said, ‘I am very sorry, but we can do nothing for you. You have less than a month to live.’
‘Doctor,’ I cried, ‘are you telling me the truth?’
He showed me the X-rays and explained, ‘Your right lung is completely destroyed by tuberculosis. The upper part has collapsed, and gangrene has set in. Your left lung is also tubercular. Malnutrition and hard work have caused your heart to enlarge, and it cannot circulate the blood properly. There is no medical help for these things, so I have no choice but to tell you the truth.’
I returned home dazed. My father tried to reassure me, ‘My son, there is no life and no death, no joy and no sorrow – only in Buddha is there reality. Forget about life and death and have peace.’
I protested, ‘The blood that I’m vomiting is real. My suffering is real. Buddha and your philosophies have not helped me. I reject them all.’
One day as I lay there, fear and desperation overcame me, and I cried out, ‘Is there any God? If there is anyone called God anywhere in the universe, please come and help me? I want to make ready to die.’
God heard my prayer and He answered, but in a form I least expected! A young girl knocked at my door and entered carrying a Bible. I was stunned. In our culture women are not forward, and men dislike being taught by them. Arrogantly, I ordered the girl to leave, but she said, ‘I can see that you are dying. I want to tell you about Christ Jesus, my Savior.’
I became angrier and cursed her. I told her that millions of tuberculosis germs were flying around in the air and that she would become infected. She only replied, ‘My Christ will protect me,’ and continued to witness to me. Finally she left, and I said, ‘Bless Buddha, she is gone.’
The following morning, she was back again. This time she sang some songs and read aloud from her Bible. I cursed and called her a Christian dog, but she did nothing against me. All day she talked of Christ.
On the fifth day when she came, I asked why she continued to come and pray for me. ‘There is Someone who constrains me to come here and pray for you,’ she replied.
‘Who is it?’ I asked.
She gave me her Bible, and I began reading at the place she indicated – the first chapter of Matthew. After a few minutes I said, ‘This is like a telephone directory. How can this help me?’
She told me to read on and I would find a wonderful story. After praying again, she left.
I read on, expecting to find a difficult philosophy such as I had studied in Buddhism. But I found the Bible was about a man called Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
I read about Jesus healing the sick and the dying. I thought, ‘If only I could come to this Jesus. He would help me!’
Reason argued that I could not come. I had cursed and hated Him. I tried to find a Scripture verse showing that Christ hated sinners, but search as I would, I could not find one. Instead, I found that He forgave an adulteress and delivered a demon-possessed man. Always He received the sick and sinful. Slowly, the realization came that although I was the poorest of the poor, a great sinner, and dying with tuberculosis, Jesus Christ would receive me!
I decided to pray and ask Jesus to become my savior. As I prayed, a great peace showered down upon me. Every cell in my body seemed charged with new life. Something began to bubble up inside, and I thought I was going to vomit blood, but I found it was joy! I wanted to sing, but I didn’t know how.
After going through a tremendous amount of rejection from my family because I had left the Buddhist faith, I rented a small room to live in. One day, I locked the door of my room and began to pray. ‘Jesus,’ I said, ‘I want to meet You and have a consultation about my future.’ I waited, but Christ did not come. Then I shut my eyes very tightly hoping He might come in a vision. But no vision appeared. I prayed all day. By night I was soaked in perspiration, but I still prayed. After midnight the strength had left my body, and I lay down to rest.
Suddenly the room became bright. Billows of what I thought was smoke rolled in. I was awestruck. Thinking the house was on fire, I tried to call for help, but no sound came.
In desperation, I looked about and beside me I saw two feet. I looked up higher and saw a white robe. Then I looked into a face that was like a powerful sun and rays of light going outward. Still I did not know who He was until I saw the crown of thorns. They were piercing His temples and the blood was streaming down. I knew then that He was Jesus Christ. His love seemed to pour over me.
My gods had been gods of fear and curses. Always, I had gone into their temples to beg them not to punish me. But Jesus was different. I felt His love, and all fear left me.
Glorious joy came from my inner being. My tongue and lips began to speak. I tried to stop, but it seemed that another person was controlling them and forcefully expressing Himself. I did not know what it was, but I realized that the more I spoke the better I felt, so I spoke and spoke.
When I became aware of my surroundings again, Jesus had gone, but the glory was still in my soul. I forgot about the pain in my heart and lungs and ran to a nearby house where a missionary I had met stayed. I knew that Louis Richards, the Assemblies of God missionary, would be able to answer my questions about this experience. I explained to him that I spoke in a strange language. He opened his Bible to the second chapter of Acts and explained that I had been baptized with the Spirit as the early believers were. We cried for joy.
This new experience made me want to witness more. I went out on the streets and told people about Jesus. As I grew stronger, I went from house to house.
One day I realized that I was no longer suffering from heart pain or shortness of breath. I went to the hospital, and after an examination and X-rays, the doctor told me that my lungs were well. No tuberculosis! Even my heart was normal size.” 
Faith in Jesus Christ will change your life forever. As you walk by faith, He will help you grow in your faith and believe in miracles, signs, and wonders. He will use you in amazing ways and give you courage beyond anything you could have thought was possible. Walk by faith. Believe in the impossible. Dream His dreams, and let God . . .
But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
~ 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10, ESV
Remember – you have not yet seen what God can do for you.
Always know that I am . . .
Your friend and servant in Christ,
Wayde Goodall, D.Min.
Dean, College of Ministry