“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
2022 was a challenging year for the world. The Russian-Ukraine War erupted taking many by surprise and continued on far longer than many expected. The global finance downturn and inflationary pressures cast a long shadow across the world. US-China tensions and the east-west bifurcation continued unabated. As if these global maelstroms were not enough, Providence faced another wave of unfounded accusations orchestrated by the same person who had more than 10 years ago done a similar act.
Regardless of these circumstances, Providence gives thanks to the Trinity and Jesus Christ for giving us the power of prayer and the word. We learnt to count the many blessings we have beyond the fear-mongering headlines. We grew to become even more united and harmonious with our brothers and sisters, to shine the light of Christ to the world in an unstoppable manner. Our founder, Pastor Jung, continues to lead by example. Even though he faces tremendous hardships, he continues to pray and write God’s words for all His people.
We are tempered by the waves and storms, like pottery glazed in the furnace, to produce the finest masterpiece. Our path may not be a bed of roses, but a journey of thorns and thistles. Yet, it is in these difficulties that true character, faith and love for God is forged. We remember Job’s story in the bible. We remember the lives all the prophets and people of God. One strange thing in common, was that they all walked the path of thorns.
We also just celebrated the Christmas with the theme “The Christmas of loving God and Jesus.” How apt. The true meaning of Christmas is God and Jesus, and what better way to celebrate than to love them. Even baby Jesus was born in a manger, not a comfortable hospital or even a hotel room. Certainly not a bed of roses.
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8
As we wrap up this eventful year, we wish for everyone to remember the power of God’s love, that touches each and every person and every part of creation. Love always perseveres and never fails. With that, truly give thanks no matter what circumstances you are facing, for that is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. That you may always rejoice in Him, come what may.
The writer is a longstanding Providence member of 20 years, and is happily married with 3 beautiful children of God.
Interview with the President of Christian Gospel Mission Jung Myung-seok
[Special interview with Chungcheong Herald Correspondent Kim Gwang-mu / Reporter Kwon Seong-ha]
“Sometimes he appears shining like a star.. At other times he appears as soft as the moon.. At other times he appears as dazzling as the sun.. He told me to write a poem. He made me a poet”
– From the poem ‘Who made me a poet’
It started with a saying that sounded like a legend. “There are so many beautiful flowers over that mountain.”
The young poet’s heart was filled with overflowing dreams. Secretly, I ran out of hope, gasping for breath. The poet’s life flowed like a river, and flowed like a drop of water on a blade of grass. As the snow melted and flowed on a spring day, the clouds flowed by. The place where the poems flowed is Wolmyeongdong, a mountainous village in Geumsan, Chungcheongnam-do.
The original name of Wolmyeongdong is ‘Dalbitgol’. Even though it was a mountainous area where less than ten households lived, the moon was exceptionally bright. 月明洞 is the name of the village in Chinese characters.
The beautiful flower that the poet dreamed of bloomed as the ‘gospel’ in Dalbakgol.
Wolmyeongdong (144-1 Seokmak-ri, Jinsan-myeon, Geumsan-gun, Chungcheongnam-do) is a mysterious place. At first glance, it looks like any other mountainous area with a thick pine forest. However, when viewed from the sky, it looks like “Miwon Ja” took off her jacket exposing her red skin and navel.
Buildings such as stones and trees, water and waterfalls, lawns and temples evoke a passage from Dr. David Hawkins’ Homo Spiritus.
“It’s best to just keep doing your job and leave the rest to Providence. Then, God takes the last step.”
Another name for Wolmyeongdong is the Natural Temple. This is what the people of the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) call it.
As Dr. Hawkins personally saw and wrote, Wolmyeongdong’s huge three-story building is beautiful and majestic. It is mysterious to see megaliths, which are likely to weigh several tons, standing vertically. Did God really move it?
President Jung Myung Seok (76 years old) said, “To say so would be a lie. Mowing grass in the valley, making volleyball courts to play with, and making potato fields have become training centers that come from all over the world. God works in secret. However, he gave only the words to make it beautiful, magnificent, and mysterious. I entrusted it to famous landscaping experts and they did the landscaping for my home. It was beautiful and grand, but it was not mysterious to anyone looking at it. So I asked him to stack several tons of stones vertically. Then he shook his head and left. It has been raining for a full week, and in prayer, I heard the words, ‘You should build it up.’”
“I didn’t know how to build it, so it kept falling apart. As amateurs, we only knew how to put stones on the soil, so there was no way it could be done. But after it collapsed five times, it was built on the sixth. Even though the rocks have collapsed, our hearts have not. It was accomplished as God’s Providence had envisioned. So, in the end, God moved it.”
I was curious about the word “Providence”. It seemed to mean something beyond the principles and laws that govern our lives and phenomena in the natural world.
“Providence is God’s will. My humble hometown, my humble and pitiful hometown was created according to the plan (as it is now) because of God’s will. Now, everyone who sees it admires it, and a lot of people come to see it. I am stunned when I see everyone (laughs).”
In fact, Wolmyeongdong is a training center that gathers all kinds of missionaries.
For over 10 years, President Jung Myung Seok and his followers took shovels and carried soil and stones to complete the project. The paths in each valley of the training center are all paths created by God’s will.
At that time, President Jung said, “To pave the road (길) is to pave the way (도). It is difficult to make a road on a mountain, but how difficult would it be to create the ‘true road’ of life?” This proverb is still being talked about.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.1 million people visited Wolmyeongdong training center annually. Devotees and visitors naturally come into contact with Geumsan’s special product, ginseng.
In fact, the memories of the three World Geumsan Ginseng Expo held in 2006, 2011 and 2017 are vivid in the minds of the people of Geumsan. At that time, a whopping 30,000 members of the Christian Gospel Mission from home and abroad traveled all over the Ginseng Expo.
At the 2019 Geumsan Ginseng Festival, many believers promoted the effect of ginseng and purchased it. The economic ripple effect estimated by the Geumsan-gun Office amounts to 100 billion won. It was also beautiful, majestic, and mystical that the people of Geumsan were the same.
Professor Max Weber’s ‘Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism’, who emphasized that religion has a great influence on the protection of individual freedom and property rights, comes to mind.
Wolmyeongdong is very similar to Christian Gospel Mission. For about 10 years, CGM’s founder President Jung Myung Seok was imprisoned, but CGM grew bigger.
He spread the gospel to 73 countries around the world, including Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, and established megachurches in 200 cities across the country. This is unusual in the context of the decline of the Christian generation in Korean society.
The answer was concise. It is explained that this is because they preach and follow God’s ‘Absolute Word’ as it is. He also cited an increase in the number of logical young believers.
“People see the same thing differently. Even when Judas Iscariot died, some say that he was hanged, and in other Gospels, his intestines burst and he died. The same is true of the old debate about heresies. The Bible is 90% parables. Even if a new religion emerges, God is the same. Whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, it is God’s will that Jesus was born and preached the gospel, and that is the Word of the new age. If those words are right for the times, then we have to follow them. However, many religious leaders and theologians failed to do so. It is said that teaching according to the Bible is wrong. The younger generation is different. Religion and science must match. If God said it took only 6000 years to create the heavens and the earth, would the youth go to church? Students believe that something is true only when it is logical. It is difficult for the younger generation to accept the saying that salvation comes only by believing in the church. Everyone can be saved, but it is God’s Will that we are saved according to our deeds. God is not the only God of religion. He is the God of science, philosophy and art.”
In the same vein, this is the design that Wolmyeongdong and the training center will show the future. It is CGM’s calling to create a platform to develop the talents of the younger generation based on their faith.
In fact, in Wolmyeongdong, various cultural and artistic activities such as Korean traditional music, orchestra, musical, theater, cheerleading, jazz dance, martial arts demonstration, and magic show, as well as sports club activities such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, table tennis, swimming, skiing, horseback riding, and mountain climbing are held throughout the four seasons. Volunteer activities such as cultural arts volunteering, visiting Kkottongnae, and volunteering at facilities for the disabled, are also plentiful.
“While serving in the Vietnam War as a soldier twice, I contemplated the essence of religion and the eternal truth at the boundary between life and death. Religion is a life, not a theory. It is listening to the Word and putting it into practice by loving God. I think the mission of Wolmyeongdong and the training center is to convey to the world the victory of faith in Korea that has been achieved through pastoral activities for the past 43 years. We will make Wolmyeongdong, which God envisioned, into a world-class park that embodies the world of religious harmony and peace. This is why people from all over the world come to Wolmyeongdong to believe in God.”
2021 has been an amazing and challenging year. While many had thought COVID-19 would be a thing of the past, new variants (Delta and Omicron) amongst other reasons caused COVID-19 to persist and even emerge more strongly in many parts of the world.
In spite of these challenges, the question the Trinity pose to us is – have you made yourself anew in body and spirit this year? This was the theme and direction from the Trinity this year, and Pastor Jung had also delivered many sermons – and led by example – on how we should change ourselves anew. Making Wolmyeongdong in new ways, giving thanks in new ways, praying at even higher levels, holding services in refreshing new hybrid ways…. these are just some examples of how Providence has changed in new ways.
Just as important is how each one of us has changed in new ways. It is easy to blame COVID-19 for not being able to do things better, but this is an opportunity for us to do things in new ways. Every crisis is an opportunity, and the bigger the crisis, the bigger the opportunity. Let’s change our perspectives towards the challenges of COVID-19 and find those opportunities to do things in new ways!
This Christmas, God’s creation continues to give Glory to God through their magnificence and beauty. God also shows himself through nature to all of us. Nature continues to make itself anew daily, in an amazing cycle of life. May we celebrate Christmas with Jesus who came to this world to save us, so that we may live renewing ourselves in a Godly manner everyday, just as nature does.
Enjoy these breathtaking pictures taken by our members, reflecting God through nature.
“Before the Wrath” (2020) is a must watch for people who want to understand Jesus’ fundamental teachings. It provides an incisive critique of Christian faith today, one which has lost the value of prophecy (although that forms 1/3 of bible scriptures) due to the controversial teachings of ‘day-setters’, i.e. people who had claimed to know exactly when the Jesus’ Second Coming would be.
Hence, although the prophecy of Jesus’ second coming is absolutely fundamental to Christian faith and the most significant promise, few Christians today know properly about the rapture, much less look forward to His coming, because Pastors refrain from teaching about the second coming or rapture to avoid generating controversy.
This movie unravels the context behind Jesus’ teachings, given his Galilean background, and points starkly to the fact that Jesus was referring to Himself coming back as the bridegroom with believers as his bride when he talked about his second coming. This is backed by the fact that Jesus used numerous parables from the galilean wedding, which his disciples understood very well.
Pastor Jung Myung Seok has consistently taught about the need to receive Jesus, as a bride would receive her bridegroom, and how to receive Jesus when he returns. “Before the Wrath” reinforces this message.
With the spirit of peace, heartwarming soccer games took place.
<PineNews 14 May 2019> More than 300 local churches from the Youth Union of Korean Churches, part of Christian Gospel Mission (CGM), were gathered at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on 12 May to hold the 2019 International Peace Soccer Tournament. With the cheering from more than 40,000 CGM members, the atmosphere at Daejeon World Cup Stadium became even more vibrant than the 2002 World Cup.
Around 200 international players from 14 countries, including Korea, Canada, Hongkong, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, and more than 2,000 cheering supporters were present. The matches of the 2019 International Peace Soccer Tournament were played with ‘Peace’ as the motto and with a sincere hope of the complete termination of all wars in the world. A continuous presence of a thick cloud cover over the stadium provided radiative cooling throughout the day.
The event began with a joint Sunday Service. It was followed by the opening ceremony, the semifinals, the finals, and the closing ceremony. During the Sunday Service, President Jung Myung Seok said, “The greatest blessing in human life is loving and serving God, brothers and sisters.”
During the opening ceremony of the 2019 International Peace Soccer Tournament, the Peace Cheering Group presented a performance that involved a large soccer ball with the words ‘Peace Soccer’ engraved. Leading on from that performance, large banners with drawings of an eagle and a cheetah each holding a soccer ball unfolded over the 2,000 performers.
President Jung said, “Peace soccer isn’t all about winning. It aims to promote the spirit of peace. Regardless whether you are in a team that has won or lost, let’s play peaceful matches with excitement.” He further mentioned, “Soccer isn’t just a sport. It is an artwork created by 11 players through harmonizing. I hope that today can be the day when you can show your skills to your fullest.”
After the preliminary rounds, the teams that qualified for the semi-finals were: Focus, Tiger, Cheetah, and Lion (Overseas Alliance Team). The teams performed thrilling matches. The final match was between Focus and Cheetah. Focus became the final victors from the breathtaking finals. A professional athlete from the Focus team who had been interviewed said, “With the spirit of faith in God, my team and I encouraged each other when playing the matches. I had a good time, having more fun than playing in a regular league game.” President Jung led and encouraged the tournament by playing with all the teams.
Without a doubt, the International Peace Soccer Tournament displayed the spirit of peace. During the matches, players lent their hands to the fallen opponents to help them get back on their feet. It was heartwarming to see how players encouraged other players who missed opportunities to score a goal by patting on their shoulders. The crowds also cheered for every single team. Whenever a goal was scored, everyone at the tournament became ecstatic and joyous.
A university student, Kim Heechan, mentioned, “It was awe-inspiring to see how people were in harmony through soccer regardless of their race, gender and culture.” Yang Jeesoo, who attended the tournament as a member of the cheering squad, said, “it was very charming to see the cheering squad cheering for all of the teams and players contrary to the usual cheering squads, who cheer for their team, their country and their favourite players only. Also, it was very fascinating to see how the players played the matches with delight and enthusiasm.
One of the staff mentioned, “We hope the spirit of peace shown through the International Peace Soccer Tournament will spread to all over the world, so that there will be no more wars, fighting and hatred. Young people will work harder to fulfil the true peace on this earth. Please look forward to the International Peace Soccer Tournament, which will be held annually.”
[PINENEWS, reported by Hong Hwayeon] The Rock Gemstone Festival was held during the autumn season. It aimed to provide healing and solace for people who are tired of their busy daily lives, and attracted visitors.
Christian Gospel Mission (CGM, led by President Jung Myung Seok) held the 5th Rock Gemstone festival on 28 September 2019 at Wolmyeongdong Retreat Centre (aka. Wolmyeongdong). The festival lasted for 9 days, commencing with an opening ceremony, and ended on 6 October.
Wolmyeongdong is an attractive destination for both domestic and international tourists, due to its world-class stone landscape, ponds, giant waterfalls, grass lawns, dense pine forests and the top notch Korean mineral natural water. This place has been made known by people through word of mouth and the ‘Gemstone Rock Festival’ has become a global festival after its continuous development.
Since 1990, President Jung Myung Seok and CGM members have been making the beautiful, majestic and amazing world-class rock landscape in Wolmyeongdong. As part of the Rock Gemstone Festival, a 360 degrees rock landscape, formed by around 2,000 beautiful and amazing rock masterpieces, was presented to the audience.
Contrary to the weather forecast, the 28th of September, when the opening ceremony was held, had a deep clear autumn sky. Even though it was only the first day of the festival, more than 3,000 international tourists from Asia, including Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong and 5,000 visitors from Korea came. A line of small but charming stone towers, made up of two piled rocks each, greeted the visitors as they walked along both sides of the 100m long path from the entrance of Wolmyeongdong to the pond.
The opening ceremony began with a friendly soccer match between Taiwan, Hongkong, Malaysia and Singapore. Later at 10am, the Sunrise Art troupe performed on the beautiful celebratory stage to the bright and humorous tunes of a 200-member brass band, receiving a big round of applause from the audience.
Jung Myung Seok, president of CGM, delivered the congratulatory speech and said, “There are masterpiece landscapes that are made by God’s design. Just like the inscription on the headstone (which reads), ‘designed by God, inspired by Holy Spirit, protected by Jesus Christ, and actions were taken by my disciples and I’, All the rock art works here in Wolmyeongdong are made and put up by God’s design. I hope all of you will enjoy your time here, and make unforgettable memories as you listen to the stories each rock gemstone has with God”.
At this year’s festival, President Jung had put in efforts to plant 11 pine trees and adorn the rocks. One can see hundreds of giant pine trees and even a 350 years old ‘pine tree masterpiece’ bonsai.
The ‘1000 year Ornamental Rock Group’, consisting of domestic ornamental rock experts, is also having another exhibit. More than 100 pieces of rocks were exhibited, including 50 ornamental rocks that President Jung Myung Seok had found along the riversides through spiritual inspiration, and other rocks owned by the ‘1000 year Ornamental Rock Group’. Shapes and pictures that are carved on the stone by nature made the visitors speechless. The images of a human face, a woman, a smiling face, a bride, a mother, an eagle, a cheetah, a lion, a crane, and a palm tree immerse the viewers in nature’s amazing artistic touch.
The ‘poem exhibition’ that was held around the ambitious masterpiece rock landscape was also very popular among visitors.
Park (alias) from Seoul who visited the festival stated, “It was delightful to observe the stonewall walkway on the way to Wolmyeongdong. I was amazed to see how small rocks were carefully balanced and piled up, as if they were all stuck together permanently. I had thought they were bonded together using glue.”
Visitors who attended the Gemstone Rock Festival also attended the Geumsan Ginseng Festival that was being held nearby.
The place where the Geumsan Ginseng Festival was held was bathed in yellow from shirts worn by visitors from Asia. International visitors and domestic visitors showed great interest towards ginseng, and crowded across the ginseng market and ginseng medicinal herb market streets.
The Governor of the Geumsan region, Mr Moon Jeongsoo, expressed his thankfulness towards the visitors by stating, “Geumsan is the home of Goryeo ginseng. Your interest towards Geumsan ginseng, which is one of the greatest foods for well-being with more than 1,500 years of history, is greatly appreciated”.
Every year, more than 1.18 million people visit Wolmeongdong to see its beautiful scenery.
2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically taken many lives and affected even more livelihoods.
Yet, Pastor Jung Myung Seok still behooves us to give even more thanksgiving and glory to the Trinity. Surely that is difficult – if we have lost loved ones, jobs, friendships… but that is truly what it means to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Yes, the road ahead is still uncertain, like walking through the mist. Even with news of the vaccines, there are news of the mutating variants of COVID-19 as well. The winter cold in the northern hemisphere brings about better conditions for the disease to thrive – making it a bittersweet white Christmas.
But what problem can be too big for our God? Instead, let us give thanks and glory, and God will surely hear our earnest prayers. Today, as we celebrate Christmas, may we remember that Jesus our Messiah was born in the midst of cruel hardships – the threat of death and without a proper place to be born. Yet, he overcame all and brought salvation to all mankind. We too will surely be victorious if we remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Pastor Jung’s long-awaited memoir of the Vietnam War has finally been translated into english! With glowing testimonials from the Commander-in-Chief of the Korean Armed Forces in Vietnam General Chae Myung Shin, Pastor Jung’s Battalion Commander Colonel Lee Yeong Woo, Pastor Jung’s Platoon Leader Colonel Choi Hee-nam, the memoir is rooted in factual struggles of life and death on the battlefields of the Vietnam War that only those who have experienced it personally will understand fully. Pastor Jung’s personal experience reconciles the irreconciliable : a sincere faith in God that behooves believers to “love thy enemy” vs a cardinal need to kill the enemy to win the war and stay alive.
This is a compelling story of a young man from rural Korea who was conscripted to fight the Communists in Vietnam. Even amidst the suffering and cruelty, there must be a way to turn this war into a battle for love and peace. This story also shows why many people – young and old – follow Pastor Jung as a role model of faith in Providence.
Korea Post is a longstanding and established english magazine established 34 years ago. It is subscribed by ambassadors in over 110 embassies and political institutions and provides essential information magazine for over 1.6 million foreigners living in Korea.
This 2020 article describes in great detail about Christian Gospel Mission, also known as Providence, as well as its retreat center Wolmyeongdong, and its founder Pastor Jung Myung Seok.