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1958 - 1961, The Early Years - the Tent Church
The founding of the Yoido Full Gospel Church can be dated back to May 18, 1958, when the first worship service was held with the attendance of Pastor Cho Yonggi and Pastor Choi Jashil, in the living room of Pastor Choi Jashil. The first service was more a home worship service than what many conceive as a Sunday worship service.

On the morning of the first service, Pastor Choi Jashil put together a pulpit by covering an apple box with a cloth, and went around the neighborhood announcing the service to be held. However, her efforts were in vain as the first service was attended by, other than Pastor Cho Yonggi and Pastor Choi Jashil, three of Pastor Choi Jashil's children and an elderly woman who had come in to escape being drenched by the rain.

About a month after that fateful day, Pastor Cho Yonggi and Pastor Choi Jashil happened to hear of a woman who had been paralyzed for the past seven years. This woman had suffered from paralysis during the birth of her son seven years earlier, and had never been able to stand on her own since then.

The moment the two pastors entered her residence, their lungs were filled with foul odor making it difficult for them to breathe. The children were uncared for and filthy beyond belief. Pastor Choi Jashil immediately embarked on washing and cleaning the woman and her children with water. Then with Pastor Cho Yonggi, they placed their hands on top of the woman and began praying in tongues. Pastor Cho Yonggi shouted from the top of his voice, "In the name of Jesus, you shall overcome your paralysis."

After several days of prayer and spiritual warfare, a miracle took place. The woman began grabbing on to the wall and slowly began to stand. Then, ever so slowly and carefully, she kicked up her feet and began to walk step by step. That day she was completely healed of her paralysis and began to take an interest in the church.

Such sweat-filled prayers and unwavering dedication of the two pastors began to bear fruit and the membership of the church increased to 50 at which time Pastor Choi Jashil's living room became no longer adequate to contain the worshippers. As a solution, a tent was pitched in the front yard of Pastor Choi Jashil's house, and with empty rice sacks serving as flooring, worship services were held. As time passed, the membership in the tent-church continued to grow, necessitating bigger tents to be pitched to accommodate the growth, all funded by the meager offerings of the congregation who mainly consisted of those who were in need themselves.

Beginning in the living room of Pastor Choi Jashil, the church experienced phenomenal growth as the work of the Holy Spirit was manifested in the church since the pitching of the first tent, making The first tent church symbolic of the now Yoido Full Gospel Church.

As many members of the congregation were healed through the power of the Holy Spirit and many others found solace and solutions to their problems, the church grew day by day. A paralytic patient for seven years recovered from the paralysis, and a shaman priestess repented of her sin and accepted Christ as Saviour. Many suffering illnesses were healed as they experienced the great power of the Holy Spirit. There were even thugs_members of local gangs, who repented and turned their lives toward God, becoming His servants. Day by day, the church grew.

In the 1950's however, especially toward the close of the decade, Korea's situation, both economically and politically, was not rosy by any means. It was not long after the Korean War and there were many suffering poverty and chaos from the war's aftermath. Pastor Cho Yonggi was no exception. It was not uncommon for Pastor Cho Yonggi to satisfy his hunger with nothing other than three meals of porridge given him by an American evangelist. He also battled poverty along with the members of his congregation. In such desperate times, Pastor Cho Yonggi called out to God for messages appropriate for such harsh reality.

One day as he was reading the Bible, he heard the voice of the Holy Spirit and the message of the Three-Fold Blessing (the blessing of the Spirit, the soul and the body). Filled with confidence and certainty, he delivered the message of faith which led the congregation to positive, creative and productive lives. His messages provided faith, hope and confidence to those suffering from despair and hopelessness. The promise of God driven by his intense faith in God, led the church to experience incredible growth in three years.

With the dawning of the new year, 1961, Pastor Cho Yonggi and Pastor Choi Jashil were filled with exuberance and hope for the new year. By then, the church had 1,000 registered members with 600 of them attending on Sundays.

Then the unexpected happened. Pastor Cho Yonggi received a draft notice from the army requiring him to honor mandatory service. This was a devastating blow to Pastor Cho Yonggi, as he had thought he would be exempt due to his ill health. It seemed as though all the plans he had made for the church crumbled much like a tower of sand under the weight of the draft notice. Pastor Cho Yonggi and Pastor Choi Jashil began fasting and praying every night for the will of God. About two or three days prior to the day of his enlistment, an unexpected visitor came to the church from Pusan, an American evangelist, Pastor J. W. Hurston. He told them he was irresistibly drawn by the voice of the Holy Spirit every time he prayed to visit the tent church. God had brought him from hundreds of kilometers away, a Spirit-filled servant of God who would keep lit the fire of the Holy Spirit during Pastor Cho Yonggi's absence.

Having been comforted, Pastor Cho Yonggi entered into the army. After two months of boot camp, Pastor Cho Yonggi was fortunately assigned to an American army base near Seoul, allowing him to participate in the ministry of his church. However, in the Spring of 1961, as Pastor Cho Yonggi was baptizing the members of the church, the accumulation of overwork and exhaustion caused him to collapse in the middle of the service.