David (previously called Paul) Yonggi Cho is Senior Pastor of the world's largest
church in Seoul Korea. He was born in 1936 and was raised as a Buddhist.
His early life was a struggle, firstly he lived through the Japanese invasion of Korea
and then the Korean war. He grew up with a tremendous ambition to be famous
and successful because of his povertystricken childhood.
At the age of 19 he was holding down several jobs and was struggling just to
One afternoon he started vomiting blood. He was diagnosed as having
incurable tuberculosis and was told that his life expectancy was a maximum of
He went home and cried out to his god Buddha for healing,when this didn't eventuate he denounced his Buddhist faith. He then cried out to the unknown
God. Cho recounts what happened next in his book The Fourth Dimension:
A few days later a high school girl visited me, and began to talk about
Jesus Christ. She told me about Christ's virgin birth, His death on a cross,
His resurrection, and salvation through grace. These stories seemed
nonsense to me. I neither accepted her stories, nor paid much attention to
this ignorant young female. Her departure left me with one emotion: relief.
But the next day she returned. She came again and again, every time
troubling me with stories about the Godman, Jesus. After more than a
week of these visits, I became greatly agitated, and roughly rebuked her.
She did not run away in shame, nor retaliate in anger. She simply knelt
down, and began to pray for me. Large tears rolled down her cheeks,
reflecting a compassion foreign to my well organised and sterile Buddhist
philosophies and rituals.
When I saw her tears, my heart was deeply touched. There was something
different in this young girl. She was not reciting religious stories to me;
she was living what she believed. Through her love and tears I could feel
the presence of God.
'Young lady,' I entreated, 'please don't cry. I am sorry. I know about your
Christian love. Since I am dying I will become a Christian for you.'
Her response was immediate. Her face brightened into a glow, and she
praised God. Shaking hands with me, she gave me her Bible.
'Search the Bible,' she instructed. 'If you read it faithfully you will find the
words of life'
What a marvellous witness this young girl was! Cho never even learned her
name, but through her Cho was saved. Cho read the Bible with a new found zeal
and he came to know Jesus as his own personal Saviour and friend.
After graduating from an Assemblies of God Bible school in 1958 he started his
first church in an old American service tent next to a dump.
He had a burning desire to build the largest church in Korea. Not only did he
achieve this goal, but within 20 years he had built the largest church in the world.