Singapore's City Harvest Church founding Pastor Kong Hee has said that despite weathering an incredibly difficult season, his church has experienced an "amazing" weekend of spiritual breakthroughs.
In a Facebook update shared on Tuesday, Kong, 51, wrote, "It has been a very trying season for everyone of us at City Harvest Church (Official), but what an amazing weekend of breakthroughs we've just had ... We laughed, we got touched by God's Presence, hearts were set free from fear, and most importantly, so many gave their hearts to Jesus Christ at the end of each service!"
He added, "Truly, how awesome is this place ... This is the House of God, the gate of heaven, the place of miracles! CHC, thank you for being strong ... the joy of the LORD is our strength!"
As reported by the Gospel Herald, Kong and five other CHC leaders were found guilty of funneling more than $35.5 million in church donations to promote the singing career of Sun Ho, who is Kong's wife and fellow CHC founder.
For the past five years, Kong and the others accused denied any wrongdoing and dismissed reports that they controlled management company Xtron, which was handling Ho's career. Despite such claims, the prosecution presented evidence that the CHC leaders used it as a conduit for money that went directly toward Ho's career. The six CHC leaders face up to 20 years in prison for their roles in the crime.
According to the AP, Kong is currently waiting the prosecution's written submissions to court, which will take place on 6 Nov. His lawyer will respond with a mitigation plea on November 20, and sentencing is expected to take place either on the same day or at a later date.
The church has since announced that it plans to improve its governance, moving forward with a new "CHC 2.0" vision. The new leadership will involve "selecting well-diversified board members, appointing a legal firm to advise the board, setting up an internal compliance team and also carrying out an annual audit using an outsourced firm."
One such leader will reportedly be Ho, who was not herself trialed in the case. According to a two-minute clip posted on Facebook, Ho was ordained as a pastor of City Harvest Church just two days before her husband was found guilty of criminal breach of trust.
The video shows Ho kneeling on the stage with her arms raised, with Kong praying over her.
"I pray when she speaks, fire will come out of her belly," the pastor says.
Kong further asked believers to pray for the church's next generation of leaders, saying, "Please continue to pray for Sun and our new generation leadership team, as they work together for CHC 2.0!"
Despite Kong's guilty verdict, Phil Pringle, who is both the church's advisory pastor and Kong's mentor, said he believes CHC will "only get stronger" when asked if the church was prepared for such trials.
"The church will stay together," he said in an interview conducted shortly after the trial. "You'll be strong. You'll only get stronger. The church is not built on Kong Hee. It's built on Jesus Christ. The church is more together and more resilient than you think it is. It survives any kind of persecution. The worst kind is when Christians fight against each other, when ministers criticize each other. It's the worst kind because it's confusing for the younger believers."