As the COVID-19 pandemic was easing out and daily life was being restored, the members of the Church of God became busy. They diligently preached the gospel of the kingdom, the news of salvation, to all their loved family, acquaintances, and neighbors, whom they had not met for a long while. In the month of June, the Church of God was filled with the heat of the gospel, hotter than the heat of early summer.
On July 3, Preaching Festival Awards Ceremony for the First Half of 2022 was held at Okcheon Go&Come Training Institute. It was organized to settle the gospel results of the first half of 2022, during which gracious gospel results were reaped through the two preaching festivals. The Church of God held the New Life Preaching Festival of the Passover in the middle of March for one month, and Pentecost Preaching Festival of the Holy Spirit Movement 2022 from the end of May and to the end of July in order to deliver the hope of salvation and God’s blessings to the global villagers suffering from a sense of isolation due to anxieties and social distancing caused by disasters.
About 13,000 members, including the pastoral staff and position and title holders in Korea, attended the awards ceremony. It was the first large-scale event held after social distancing was lifted, and the members who reaped valuable gospel results during the preaching festival were full of smiles even in the sweltering heat of the rainy season.
In the first part of the worship service, Mother repeatedly expressed her joy of meeting all the members who gathered together in a long time, and lavished encouragement and congratulations upon them. Mother taught that the unity of the members who worked together to save souls was the secret to the amazing results of the preaching festivals, and asked all the members to be more harmonious, considering the Father’s desire for the unity of His children. Additionally, Mother emphasized: “If you put your faith into action, miracles will happen,” and blessed all the members to complete the gospel work through unity and faith (Heb 11:1–10, 24–26; Gal 6:8; Rev 22:12).
General Pastor Kim Joo-cheol quoted the verse, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Lk 15:7), and gave compliments to the members who made every effort to lead many souls to salvation. Furthermore, he hoped that the sound of joy and thanksgiving for the salvation of souls would not cease in every church (Mt 25:14–23).
The awards ceremony consisted of two categories: preaching excellence and education excellence. A total of 85 churches won the awards; Korean overseers from 13 churches with excellent preaching results and 25 churches with excellent education results got on the podium on behalf of all the award-winning churches. Mother conferred a plaque to each of the overseers whose churches won the awards, and praised their hard work. Whenever an award-winning church was called out, the members shared joys, giving big rounds of applause.
Following the congratulatory performance by the Messiah Orchestra and the choir, a video showed the present status of the gospel of the churches all around the world. The happy news was vividly delivered to the viewers: many family members and neighbors opened their hearts and accepted the truth under Mother’s blessings. After the awards ceremony, Mother reminded the members of the fact that they can deliver God’s word to others only when their hearts are first filled with God’s word, and She encouraged them to diligently share the food of life with all the people amidst disasters happening all around.
The pastoral staff of the award-winning churches agreed that the secret of the gospel was to deliver the hope of the kingdom of heaven to people with faith in Mother’s words. Pastor Lee Chang-soo of Jeongwang Church in Siheung, Korea, said, “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the members kept their faith by studying God’s word. Thanks to the efforts of the members who preached the gospel to share comfort and blessings with their neighbors, our church could win the award. Pastor Noh Hui-sam of Buk-gu Church in Gwangju, Korea, said, “Hearing depressing news every day, people were waiting for hopeful news. It was all in line with what Mother said in regard to preaching: ‘Preaching is giving hope to people.’ ” The pastoral staff and the members gave thanks to God for opening wide the door of the gospel, and they made renewed resolutions to dedicate themselves to preaching the gospel in order to deliver the hope of salvation to all people and create a bright future.