What It Was Like to Join in the Earliest Days – Part 1
Testimony by Mrs. Dae Wha Chung Kim, wife of Rev. Young Hwi Kim
Mrs. Dae Hwa Chung wrote this testimony more than 30 years ago. She describes her early life and her experience of meeting and joining our church.
My name is Dae Wha Chung, wife of President Young Whi Kim. Dae (大, 대) means big, great, grand. Wha (和, 화) means harmony, intimacy, friendliness. At the beginning of my time in the Unification Church, Father said to me, “I hope you will become a really great harmonized woman in the world as your name suggests.”
I answered strongly, “Yes, Father, I’ll try my best, even at the risk of my life.”
One day, Father said, “Dae Wha looks like my younger sister.” I was happy. A few years ago I met a cousin of Father who lives by Cheongpyeong Lake. I asked him, “Do I really resemble Father’s younger sister?”
After he looked at me for a little while, he replied, “Yes, you do. You do look like her.”
We were one of the original three couples blessed in April 1960, five days after True Parents’ Holy Blessing. The other couples in our trinity are Won Pil Kim and his wife, and Hyo Won Eu (the first president of the Korean Unification Church) and his wife. We three couples are in the position of True Parents’ three spiritual children.
We have two sons and three daughters. Our eldest son, Jin Kun, is now studying at Georgetown University in Washington DC. The other four children are in Korea. Two daughters are university students and our third daughter and second son are high school students. Our youngest child is 15.
My Early Years
My family lives next door to the former Cheongpa-Dong Church. In 1981 Father gave us the house where the True Family used to stay when they were in Korea. So we are spiritually protected because it is such a holy place.
I come from Hwang Hai province, which is now in North Korea. My mother is over seventy. She takes care of our children. My parents were blessed as a married couple after the Yoido Island Rally in 1975. I have a younger brother, and a younger sister who was blessed as an 1800 Couple. Last year, unfortunately, my father passed into the spirit world. My grandmother was from the Moon clan.
During my childhood until 1945, I lived under the Japanese government. After that I lived under the communist government for three years, while I was a middle-school student. So I know how wrong communism is from my own experience. In 1948, when I was 16 years old, my family crossed the 38th parallel and fled to the south.
In 1950, when the Korean War broke out, my family again took refuge, this time in Masan, a city in the southern part of Korea near Pusan. In Masan I became good friends with one of my classmates who attended a Methodist church. (I was Presbyterian at the time.) She was bright and sacrificial and smiled all the time. I wanted to live such a cheerful sacrificial life as hers. Therefore, I followed her and attended the same church. But even though I attended her church regularly I couldn’t see any improvement in my internal character.
After graduating from high school in Masan I entered Ewha Women’s University, which was founded by the Methodist Church of Canada and is the best women’s university in Korea. My major was home economics. My desire was to be a wise mother and a good wife because I thought that that would bring the ultimate happiness to a woman. During my university life I hoped to become a true Christian so that I could spend my life with a firm belief based on the truth.
Did heaven and hell exist?
During my childhood I was rarely sick and almost never had to take any medicine. Suddenly at the age of 16, however, I suffered from pleurisy. Although I soon recovered, my body started to get weaker from then on. Pleurisy came again when I was 19, but I took quick action and got rid of it in time. Then while at the university I became sick again. This time it became quite serious and I was hospitalized for several weeks for treatment. Even though I was in the best hospital in Seoul the doctors couldn’t discover exactly what was wrong with me. They examined me thoroughly, but they still couldn’t give a name to my illness.
My whole body was swollen and painful as if hot pepper had been sprinkled all over it. I couldn’t sleep day or night. My eyesight also became weaker. I took herbal medicines and had acupuncture treatments. I even tried the special Korean steam bath, which is heated by burning pine needles. It was a terrible experience, but in desperation I tried whatever I could think of. Finding no hope to go on, I concluded that it was better for me to die as soon as possible. The only thing which kept me from suicide was the knowledge that I would go to hell. Also, I would not be showing a heart of filial piety toward my parents if I died sooner than they. I had to make up my mind very firmly and find out whether God, the Kingdom of Heaven, hell, and life after death existed or not because my illness was so heavy.
The Protestant ministers at Ewha University couldn’t teach me clearly about the existence of God. I tried going to the Catholic church with my Catholic cousin, but I still couldn’t find the truth. At that time a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses visited and advised me to study the Bible. I was very happy, thinking that I would find the truth this time. As I lay in bed, we studied the Bible together twice a week for two months. The Jehovah’s Witness said there was no spirit world after death and that when the time comes the dead bodies will be resurrected to live eternally on the earth. I couldn’t believe this, so I said I didn’t want to study with them anymore. They didn’t come again.
My sickness became worse and worse because no doctors could find the cause. I felt hopeless. At that moment, a friend I had had when we were taking refuge in Masan, and whom I hadn’t seen for five years, happened to visit me. She spoke to me about the Principle of Creation and the Second Coming of the Lord and another chapter from the Principle. But she didn’t say anything about the Unification Church. She just said that she was attending “Seoul Church.” Even though I didn’t understand anything very well from what she taught me, from that time on I began looking forward to seeing her again. For three months I waited for her to come back. In February I 955 she came back and said she would take me to a place where we could hear a wonderful preacher.
Joy Came from The Bottom of My Heart
We went together to a small house. The situation reminded me of 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ had to move from house to house with his 12 disciples. In a small room was a man, lying on his back [because he was disabled by illness], teaching the Principle with zeal and heart. He was our former president, Rev. Hyo Won Eu, who passed away in 1970. I listened to his lectures for three days with several other people. I felt delight and joy come from the bottom of my heart. Everything changed – the mountains, rivers, grass, and trees all looked joyful to me. I felt new hope and at the same time I felt shame when I realized that until that time I had been seeking my own personal happiness. I was deeply sorrowful to hear that Jesus Christ was crucified because of the disbelief of the people of the time. I actually felt that he had been crucified because of my own betrayal and disobedience. On the first day I decided to join.
Through the lectures I found that God is a living God still working on earth spiritually and that He is my father and I am his daughter. I was deeply convinced that spirit world existed. In order to give me life many members prayed for me. One spiritualist prayed for me in a foreign tongue which I felt expressed my whole heart. I cried and cried and just couldn’t stop. Through the spiritualist’s prayers and the testimonies, I heard, I came to believe completely that the Principle was true. My strong desire to live rose up from the very bottom of my heart. My tears of repentance flowed down without stopping. I couldn’t stop crying even after I had returned home.
It was the most important moment of change in my life. My disease was cured as I listened to the Principle. It is clear to me that my ancestors caused my illness so that I could meet the True Parents. All my pain was gone; I came to have a good appetite and I slept well. My mind was very joyful. My body felt as light as a butterfly. As I understood how hard God had been working through history, I deeply determined to go anywhere and everywhere God asked me to, in spite of whatever trials or difficulties I might meet.
My favorite hymn at that time was “The Day of Joy.” I liked it very much because it expressed my heart very well:
The Day of Joy
The day God called me was a very beautiful day.
I cannot forget this feeling and I
want to preach it all over the world.
This day was the day when God
washed away all of my sins. Please teach me how to awaken,
how to pray, and how I can always feel happy.
The day when God forgave my sin.
The joy and gratitude of being reborn and finding God has never gone away from my heart. It is still my biggest joy after spending 30 years in the Unification Church. Whenever I faced Satan’s trials I always remembered that moment of joy and recovered my hope. I still do the same today.
Mrs. Dae Hwa Chung and her husband still play an active role with the movement in Korea.
Part 2 (the final part) will be published next week.