CEBU CITY—Filipino Hallyu fans once again took the internet by storm as photos and videos of one of the biggest names in K-pop while in this city started circulating online.
Park Jin-young, known by many as J.Y. Park or JYP, was here to speak in a Bible study seminar dubbed “Truth Shall Make You Free” hosted by the Cebu Baptist Church.
Park is a massively successful South Korean singer-songwriter, producer, television show judge and founder of JYP Entertainment.
JYP Entertainment is one of the powerhouse companies of K-pop, being home to big names, such as 2PM, TWICE, Day6, Stray Kids and ITZY. It was also the agency of other major artists, such as Rain, Wonder Girls, 2AM, Miss A and GOT7.
Park is also the author of “Live For What?,” an autobiography which speaks of his motivations, life story and defining moments, which made him into the man he is today.
But Park was in Cebu, not as a K-pop mogul, but to speak in the five-day Bible seminar from May 22 to May 26 at the Magellan conference room of Quest Hotel.
On Day 3 of the seminar, which this writer attended, Park was dressed in a black high-collared shirt and dark trousers, a stark contrast to the flashy outfits of his onstage persona.
But he still carried the same charisma and presence as when he was both onstage or behind a judge’s table.
Park was the sole speaker in the seminar that ran for over two hours. Still, he managed to establish a rapport with the audience, often giving situational examples to make it relatable.
On TikTok, an attendee on Day 2 posted a clip of Park shooting the breeze with his audience before the session started.
“No singing, no dancing today, OK? Next time when I come, I’ll bring my dancers with me,” he said in jest, to the audience’s delight. “Probably Stray Kids. Or TWICE. Maybe next time, concert and Bible seminar together.”
During the May 24 session, Park shared his learnings in an intimate gathering of about 200 Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, the majority of whom were young adults. The audience listened attentively as he spoke. Some even took notes.
Park, a born-again Christian, shared how he struggled with his faith for seven years.
He began studying the Bible in 2010 and realized after two years that the book could not have been written by men, but by the Creator himself.
In April 2017, he started a new chapter of his life after he was inspired during a Bible study. He began preaching to friends and family, and found fulfillment in it.
He said it is alright for people to struggle with their faith since human faith is insecure. What is important, he said, is that the people must be honest with themselves—whether they have faith or still have doubts.
Park likened his life to a movie, where people are assigned a number of roles. Some roles are more difficult than others.
He said his role as a speaker may actually be smaller compared to those of his audience who may be facing some difficulties but still came to listen to the Word of God.
In Korea, Park holds Bible studies four times a week—two in English and two in Korean.
He hopes to launch a homepage for their group, First Fruits, next month so that they could hold additional services via Zoom. He hopes it would reach a larger audience and would go global.
Never give up
Despite his position as the founder of JYP Entertainment, Park makes sure not to mix his religious beliefs with business.
He does not want his position to intimidate his employees and artists into conversion. Instead, he would wait until someone would approach him before sharing the Word of God.
During his talk, Park asked if anyone was from outside Cebu. One attendee said they were from Manila and arrived a few days prior to the event. Another said that they had come from south of Cebu and commuted for four hours just to attend the seminar.
“Four hours coming here? Four hours going back? Wow,” Park gasped.
But he also had something to say about Cebu’s traffic.
He joked that he had to transfer to a hotel closer to the venue due to the traffic. He didn’t say where he was staying or when he was leaving the city.
Park admitted that he earns more money in the entertainment industry—whether he was singing, dancing or producing.
But as preacher, he would happily spend money to spread the Word of God because he is devoted to his faith.
His advice to his audience: Never give up no matter how bad the situation is.
He told them to do the small things first since over time, these small things would grow into something bigger.
“Every single person once started as a cell, and look at them now,” he added.