By Rev. Won Pil Kim
Soon after the North Korean invasion of South Korea in late June 1950, the North Korean army occupied most of South Korea and pressed down on a small perimeter surrounding the southern cities of Daegu and Busan, which the Republic of Korea forces (and some US troops that had been sent from Japan) defended with all their strength. Troops from General Douglas McArthur’s daring landing at Incheon (near Seoul) on September 15 ended up splitting the supply lines for the North Korean army, and then the allied forces pushed the North Korean army back up the peninsula—just far up enough that Father could get out of the Hungnam special labor camp before the Chinese army entered the war and its tide turned again.
We have already covered Father’s journey to Pyongyang to look for his followers, and then on down to Busan, elsewhere in this series of “early days” testimonies. Father, Won Pil Kim and one other made their way through war-torn Korea—a journey that took almost two months during the bitter winter of 1950-51.
Busan was a city swollen with refugees from the war, but perhaps a place of comparative freedom and hope compared to most other parts of the peninsula at that time. This is where Father began our movement in South Korea.
This account of Father’s life and activities in Busan from 1951 to 1953 is compiled primarily from tapes of several talks on Father’s life given by Rev. Kim to the first 120-day training session at the World Mission Center in 1981, supplemented by excerpts from his testimony given at Belvedere on October 14, 1979, and his book Father’s Course and our Life of Faith. Occasional portions in parentheses come from History Committee chief Mr. Kwang Yol Yoo’s historical articles in the December 21, 1974 New Hope News and January 1976 issue of the Korean monthly Tongil Segye.
These events took place nearly seventy years ago, while Mother was in primary school, before she and her mother Hong Soon-ae met and joined our church.
One elderly lady who had joined Father’s church in North Korea and visited him in prison several times (Ok Se-hyun, often referred to as Grandmother Oak) had taken refuge in Busan because of the war. She was from a very strong Presbyterian home, and her family was firmly opposed to her coming to the church, so she had to stay at home most of the time. Still, she was occasionally able to sneak out and come to see Father. Father longed to see her and visit with her, and one day, hoping to at least catch a glimpse of her, Father stood all day near her house, thinking that at some point she would have to come out onto the tiny balcony where wash was hung out to dry. From morning to evening he waited until finally he saw the old lady’s back. Without being aware of it, she had been drawn out onto the little porch, where Father could see her. Although she did not see him, Father was satisfied, and he returned home. If you leaders have such a longing heart for your members, they too will be drawn to you. If you have a similar longing for your home church members, you wouldn’t be able to stay away from them, and they would never forget you.
At that time, this lady was responsible for the domestic affairs of her family, cooking for her children and grandchildren. In those days, there were no electric stoves; people had to build a fire in a wood stove and cook that way. One day, soon after the time Father waited all day to catch sight of her, this good lady was putting the wood inside the stove when suddenly her hand started to shake. This was a spiritual phenomenon; she could not control the movements of her hand. Her family thought she had gone mad, but her mind was very clear. While her hand was moving, she heard a voice from heaven scold her, “Why are you here? Your Messiah and lord is really suffering at this time. Do you think I called you to make rice for your family?” Explaining that Father was suffering and needed help, God asked her to go and help him.
Her relatives tried very hard to stop her hand from shaking, but to no avail. So she told them that God had instructed her to go to Mr. Moon and help him. The family had been opposed to our church, but now they were worried that if she continued in such a condition, she would die. Thinking it would be better for her to go to the church than to die, they decided to send her to the church. Immediately after they made that decision, her hand stopped moving uncontrollably, and she was more free to come to help Father.
From another source: One elderly woman who had joined in Pyongyang and followed Father to Busan, sometimes made trouble for Father. One day, Father told her, “If you do this, you will not be able to speak.” And one day when she was very troublesome, suddenly she was indeed unable to speak. After a while, when she repented in her heart, she found she could speak again. Thus it is clear that if Father wants to perform miracles, he can. Jesus did not intend to perform miracles in the beginning, but he did so because the people were so faithless and did not believe his words. In John 10:25-26, Jesus said, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe.” However, no one became Jesus’ disciple just because of miracles, so we can conclude that man grows spiritually through the Principle, not through miracles.
Some of my mistakes
I want to tell you about some of my mistakes, so you can learn from them. Even though I was living with Father, I didn’t always spend time with him every day. (Note: On other occasions, Rev. Kim has explained how there was one person who came to study Principle with whom he did not get along. Rev. Kim felt this person was not so sincere, perhaps. One day when Father showed this person a lot of attention and care, Rev. Kim became upset and wouldn’t talk to Father.) I didn’t speak to Father even once that day. Father tried to speak to me, but I did not respond to him. Over and over, Father said, “You have to speak to me, please speak to me.” But I refused to answer. After Father repeated this to me over and over, in my heart I felt very sorry, but my pride prevented me from answering him. Finally, Father began to cry, pleading with me, “Please speak.” Because Father was crying, I was moved and I also began to cry. Then I could speak to him.
Father listened to what I had to say and then told me, “If you have a problem or feel bad about something, don’t hold it inside you for more than three hours; you must solve it within three hours.”
I think that you also have problems sometimes, but try to solve them within three hours. A bigger problem should be solved within at least three days. In counseling members, I discovered some members who have nursed resentments for more than ten years.
The same applies in physical matters. When you are wounded, if you receive treatment immediately, you can easily recover, but if you leave the wound unattended for a long time, a scar will remain on your body. Similarly, if you are wounded spiritually and are not cured promptly, although the wound will eventually heal, a scar remains on your spirit body.
When I began living very closely with Father, my attitude towards him became somewhat habitual, and I lost my carefulness in attending him. My attendance became somewhat lazy and routine, although I was not immediately aware of the change.
For example, another mistake I made was this: Usually I began drawing right after returning home from work, but one night, I don’t remember why, I tried to go to bed without doing any portraits. Father told me, “You can go to bed after you finish your drawing,” but I didn’t accept Father’s opinion. Then Father told me over and over, “First you have to finish, and then you may go to bed.” But still I didn’t follow his instructions. Then Father went to bed before I did. We were staying in the same small room, but even though Father was lying down, that didn’t mean he was sleeping. Before going to bed, Father had urged me very earnestly many times to finish the drawings, thus when he went to bed before me, his attitude meant, “You can do what you like.” In other words, Father let me do as I felt best. That led me to repent, so I began working on the paintings and kept at it until I finished.
The closer we approach Father physically, the more careful we should become. From history we can learn that those who make the biggest mistakes are those who were nearest to the central figure, not the ones who were the farthest away. This applies to those of you who are leaders as well.
With the situation in Seoul becoming more stable, people began to move back to the capital. Some of the members and their families also moved to Seoul. In doing so, our members were in part following the current trend in the country. On September 17, 1953, Father also moved to Seoul.
How to feel close to Father
When Father finished his ministry in Busan and moved to Seoul, I stayed behind in Busan. When we were living together very closely, Father told me, “I am now together with you, but don’t think that this will continue forever; in the future we will be separated. Now we share meals and do things together, but these times won’t last as long as you may expect them to.” Still, I could never imagine any future separation. But finally the time came to be separated. Then I recognized that Father’s heart is always with the members, and his feeling towards the members never changes.
When we lived together, we ate together, worked together; if I came back late from work, Father was waiting outside to welcome me home. Father’s heart was always directed to me as a member. The same heart continues even when we are physically apart, for Father’s love never changes. Now there is often a physical distance between me and Father, but whenever I walk down the street, I imagine Father walking along with me. Whatever I do, I imagine Father with me, doing the same thing as I am doing.
When I was drawing portraits, Father was always beside me, caring for me in my work. When I came home from my job, Father would always ask me, “Do you feel lonely? Are you okay?” I always remember those days.
Now Father is inside me. Father inside me asks me, “Are you tired? Are you okay?” And I answer him, ”I’m okay. I can do it.” The first time I saw Father after his release from prison, he held my hand. So now, when I clasp my hands, I imagine that one hand is Father holding mine.
We are apt to think that in order to feel Father with us always, we have to be physically together with him. But even though our last chance to meet Father may have been three years–or even ten years-ago, we can always feel that he is with us. We have to recall our times together and change our concept of being with Father.
To be continued next week…