God calls us at times when we are not expecting it. Many of us who joined the church can attest to this. Yet sometimes when people respond to God’s call, He brings them to a front line they could never have imagined because He is entrusting that person, or in some cases a whole family, with special providential responsibilities.
by Dr. Joon-Ho Seuk
Part 2 of 3 (Click to read Part 1)
After I became a member, I studied the Principle more and more seriously and started to go to the Sunday services. Before, I had never gone out on Sunday mornings. But all of a sudden I began to go to the church very early in the morning and also to the regular Sunday service. Usually Father gave Sunday morning service at six, right after five o’clock pledge. During regular Sunday service Father knelt down in the back, listening to the sermons that his disciples would give.
On the first day of every month, Father used to go right after pledge to the holy ground on the mountain in the center of Seoul [Namsan]. It took about 40 minutes to climb up the mountain, and every family member would go, even in the snow. We would gather together at six and everybody would pray. Then Father would give a short sermon. Even if it was raining or snowing, Father would always speak.
At that time, I was still living with my own father; I could not attend church freely or witness freely. I didn’t want to “betray” my father and give more pain to him. I wanted to hide myself. On Sunday mornings I always went out of the house quietly so I wouldn’t wake him up. I opened the door without making any noise so I could slip away. He became suspicious, however, and woke up early one morning to watch me.
Then my father began to realize I was actually attending the Unification Church. Because of his attitude I was not free, so I decided to join the army. All young Korean men had to serve in the army for three years. At that time the Vietnam War was going on, and many Korean soldiers were dispatched to Vietnam. I volunteered to go to Vietnam, externally as a Korean soldier, but internally as a Unification Church missionary to represent Father.
Mission to Vietnam
During the eight-hour flight there, I prayed all the way that I would never regret going there even if I got killed. I was very serious about my mission, because I didn’t know if I would come back alive or not. Thousands of Korean soldiers were killed in Vietnam. I felt I had to devote myself 100 percent to God’s will even though I might die at any moment.
I taught martial arts to Vietnamese and American servicemen at the Vietnamese National Military Academy. I also contacted civilians, but it was very dangerous because there were many [communist] Vietcong and there was no clear front line. The Vietcong disguised themselves in every possible way.
Sometimes I visited mountain tribes whose people spoke a different language, so I would go with a Vietnamese minister who interpreted for me. Through my martial arts instruction, I was able to contact many high-ranking people. Two of my many contacts even visited Korea later to meet Father, but after Vietnam went communist I don’t know what became of them.
During my stay in Vietnam, one of my friends went back temporarily to Korea and met my father. Without knowing my situation, he reported to my father that I was teaching the Principle and witnessing to Vietnamese and American people, and that my main activity in Vietnam was actually witnessing. My father was extremely disturbed to hear this.
Separation from my family
When I came back to Korea my father was very suspicious. So I told him emphatically, “Don’t worry about me. I will never betray you.” Finally, however, he found out that I was still attending the church. I could not mislead him anymore, so I told him straight out: “I am a member of the Unification Church.” My father was really flabbergasted; he almost fainted. His features became very contorted and the blood came up to his face. After that, whenever my father looked at me he became sick. His physical condition deteriorated just from seeing me. My stepmother advised me not to stay in the house or else my father would die. She also talked with my father and he decided that if I were a church member I could not stay at home.
One day soon after that my father prepared a special dinner for me, all my favorite foods. He began to cry as he offered the food to me. He said, “Your mother has betrayed me, and now you have betrayed me. I love you both so much, but I have been betrayed.” He cried and cried. Then he said, “You are leaving me now. I hope you have good luck and much success.” He sent my stepbrother, whom I love very much, to see me off. My brother was weeping, saying that he was so sad that his elder brother was leaving him.
I went to stay at my grandmother’s house. I became very serious in my determination. I had betrayed my father so now I wanted to start a new life. From that time on I seriously thought about my goals, and I determined to devote myself 100 percent to God’s will. Otherwise I could not justify betraying my father.
An intense period
My first plan was to study the Principle thoroughly. I began to study intensively from early in the morning to late at night without leaving my chair. Whenever my grandmother came into the room to bring me cake or fruit, she would only see my back. She began to complain that I wouldn’t even turn around to greet her. For two or three months I studied like this. Then the Principle test was held.
In Korea we have national Principle tests every year. Only a few people could pass the test; sometimes nobody could. It was a very difficult test but I got the highest grade.
In the secular world many people study very hard to become doctors or lawyers. In Korea some people even go to a temple or a mountaintop for two or three years just to prepare for a bar exam! Then what should our standard be towards the Principle, which can bring eternal life to all humankind?
I also volunteered for everything, humbly, to enlighten myself and enrich my experiences. I didn’t want to become a leader until I was fully prepared. I felt unworthy to be a leader. I needed training and experience, so I volunteered to be a follower in a humble position. I was a pioneer in a small town for a while, but I returned to Seoul in 1970 and became a Principle lecturer at a local church center.
Matching and Blessing
In 1970, the 777 Blessing took place. I thought I was unworthy, so I didn’t attend the matching candidates’ meeting, which was being held in the old Cheong Pa Dong Church. Two days later, Father asked me to participate, so I came in at the very end.
That evening, Father finished matching around 10 pm and went up to his room, which was attached to the side of the church building. He used to live in a very humble and small place, even though he and Mother already had many children.
Around 2 am Father came back down. It was a very exciting moment. Right away, Father pointed to me and I stood up. He looked at all the sisters and chose a very nice sister for me. The sister and I went out into the hallway and spoke for about one minute. We didn’t have to talk much; we had absolute faith in Father’s recommendation. We went back in and bowed to Father. The match was set.
The Blessing was held in Jangchoon Gymnasium on October 21, 1970. Our couple stood at the front of the third row. Dr. Salonen and his wife were next to us. During the ceremony, Mrs. Salonen collapsed because she was so tired and nervous. The cameras zoomed in on her, and our picture was also taken.
Accepting a new challenge
Right after the Blessing, I volunteered to be a local center leader in a small town near the 38th parallel. The blessed wives’ team captain at our center was Mrs. Tiger Park. She already had four sons at that time, and had just given birth to their fifth child three months earlier. An American military base was located in that town. Many prostitutes hung around that base, and some of them even lived across the street from our center. It was the worst kind of city, but I wanted to challenge it. The holy ground was located high up on a hill, overlooking the whole city. We would go to the holy ground for prayer at five o’clock every morning, no matter what the weather.
To be continued…