We have had an amazing time with our Korean Prayer Mission Team this year. The team itself was smaller than we have had in other years, and this time consisted of a Pastor, two members of his team and four young women from his church aged between 16 and 18 years old.

Our church has changed enormously over the last couple of years; we have increased in numbers, especially within the youth and children’s work. We are sure that this is a result of the prayers of our brothers and sisters from South Korea, both the teams we have had here in church, and Boram Lee who was our South Korean intern for 15 months last year. This meant that the team of predominantly young people who came to us this year became amazing role-models for our growing youth work. Our interpreter this year was Yeseul, a young woman who was a real asset to the group; again, she came with lots of experience dealing with children and young people.

We had the privilege of taking the team into one of our local Primary Schools. This was the first time that our church has had opportunity to go into this particular school. Our granddaughter is 11 and was asked to do a presentation about a country or hobby that she was especially interested in. She chose South Korea as she has been in church when the teams have come in the past. She told her teacher that the team were with us for just a few days and so a visit was arranged to her class. I assumed that we would be with them for about 15 minutes, however our visit lasted almost an hour. The Koreans sang to the children, I explained why they were in this country and asked if we could pray for the children. The teacher was happy for me to do so and I prayed for them as they prepare to move up to Senior School next year. Yeseul interpreted, then I led the Lord’s Prayer, line by line and the Korean Team repeated each phrase in Korean. The children had loved the team and joined in enthusiastically with the actions for their songs and then begged to be able to sing to the team. The teacher then opened the lesson up for questions from the children, and they had lots, ranging from “How hard would it be to learn Korean?” to “Are South Koreans afraid of Kim Jong Un?”, so we ended up staying much longer then I anticipated. We were so well received that we hope to be able to make closer connections with the school later in the year.

One of the ways in which the Koreans were an inspiration to our young people was shown in the fact that many of our youngsters have come up during the meetings asking for prayer. Two young girls came with their mum to the Altar of prayer and joined in with the prayer. Another girl wanted to come but her mum felt that it would be too late for her, so that night she apparently knelt on her bed at home and prayed Korean-style for over 40 minutes by herself. The following day was Sunday and she was singing as part of the worship group and she was so free in worship, raising her arms to the Lord that many of our people told me that they had been encouraged in their own worship by seeing such a difference in her. One of our youngsters came for prayer after Pastor Jun had preached on Sunday responding to the call to become “Clean vessels for God to use”.

The Team came along to our regular Toddler Groups which are made up of predominantly non-Christians, where they were able to interact with the adults and children and even offer prayer to those who wanted to be prayed for. They also sang in Korean to the children.

We took the Team out onto the nearby streets to pray with the local Street Pastors. They directed us to areas which are rife with drug use. Arunas, one of our own congregation who came out of Drug Rehabilitation has had it on his heart to reach out to some of these local drug addicts. Over the weeks he has tried unsuccessfully to talk to one young man in particular. This young man has run away from Arunas repeatedly but after the Team had prayed, that Sunday morning he ran towards Arunas and has since joined the Teen Challenge Rehab programme.

On a Wednesday evening I run a Fun Choir; half of those who come are non-believers but each week after we break for coffee and cakes our worship group lead us in a worship song. Many of the non-believers say what a special time that is. The Koreans joined us on the Wednesday evening, singing with us, singing to us, and I asked Pastor Jun to explain why they were in our country and then one of our church ladies, who had fallen and hurt her knee, asked the Koreans to pray for her. The non-believers watched in amazement as the Team gathered around her and prayed; one lady said to me afterwards how powerful she had felt the prayer was, another said she had felt close to tears and yet so peaceful. We wait with expectancy to see what happens to these ladies in the future as they see something of the reality of God.

One of the Pastors of a small Elim church just a few miles away asked the team to come and pray in his church for a breakthrough in the area. He himself was visibly moved by their prayers for his church and for himself.

We held a breakfast meeting for local leaders, both church and secular leaders, on Saturday. Twenty people had book in, but 48 people came, from churches across the denominations and from towns around Leigh, too. Our local MP also attended. The last time that our MP had come to one of our breakfasts the Koreans had prayed that his work in Parliament would be recognised and blessed. That year he had been simply Mr David Amess, but in the Queen’s New Years Honours List he was Knighted and became Sir David Amess. He always connects the Koreans praying for him with that public recognition; he was happy to be prayed for again this year.

At the meeting in Marsham Street some of the teams explained that they were unable to pray freely during the Altars of Prayer because of complaints from local residents, we had no such problems in Leigh, even though our church is in the middle of a residential area. The nightly Altars of Prayer were attended by some of our own people, who were greatly blessed as the Team prayed for them. One night a young man from a local Baptist Church felt led to join us. He had been to the Prayer Celebrations other years in the Emmanuel Centre. As the Team prayer for him various Prophetic words, Scriptures and pictures were shared about his future and he was amazingly blessed. He told us later that his church had just recently put him forward for Ordination.

We concluded our time with the Koreans by having a Prayer and Praise Party on the Sunday evening. This was an amazing time of blessing and we were joined by Christians from other churches to praise and worship together, to pray with repentance for our Nation, our communities and our churches. At the end of the night we released to Koreans to be able to go around the room, praying for individuals, it was amazing to see how many wanted prayer, from children right through to elderly people. Finally, we drew the Korean Team to the middle of the room and surrounded them, prayed for them and blessed them for all the work they had accomplished throughout their stay. There was hardly a dry eye in the building as tears of gratitude flowed from us for how they had impacted us and from the team themselves. Pastor Jun had said that he had hoped that his young people might be encouraged by coming on the Prayer Mission and he shared that they have been ‘blown away’ by all they have seen and done and go away with memories and encouragement for years to come.

Ephesians 3:20 says that when we pray He will do more than we can think of even imagine. We have witnessed that for ourselves. Thank You Lord.

The true impact of this week will probably not be known for many months and we look forward to seeing how that unfolds.

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Leigh Elim Church

A member of Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance Reg Charity No 251549 (England & Wales)