What It Was Like to Join in the Earliest Days – Part 2
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.
Part 2 of 2 (Part 1 was published here last week)
An Instant Closeness with Father
I first met Father at the Heung-in Dong Church near the old Seoul Stadium. I felt immediately that he was as close to me as my own father. I had no feeling of being a guest or a stranger around him; I instantly felt that kind of closeness. He treated us as his brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. At that time Father was 35. I really felt that he was my father. One day I dreamt that I was crying and burying my face in my own father’s lap. But when I looked up at him he was True Father. In this way my dreams made me clearly understand that True Father is really my True Parent and he represents God. I was sure that the Principle could assure man’s happiness and bring the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Two months after joining the Unification Church, I was still continuing my university life. In 1955 we started to witness to the other students. Many students of Yonsei (Presbyterian) University and Ewha University came to our church like a flowing river. Several hundred students came to listen to the Principle. The presidents of those universities were very surprised at this. One day, Ewha University president Dr. Helen Kim sent Prof. Young Oon Kim to the Unification Church to investigate. Dr. Kim had graduated from theological seminaries in Japan and Canada and was dean of the theology department at Ewha. Dr. Kim came to the church and argued with Pres. Eu and Father for three days; during that time, she asked many questions which she still had from the time of her theological studies. After those three days all her questions were answered. She eventually became a member herself.
Dr. Helen Kim was deeply shocked and discharged five professors who had joined our church. These five were famous and respected professors whom the students liked very much.
In April 1955 the dean of students called all of us who had joined the Unification Church to her office and gave us a questionnaire to fill out. There were about ten questions, such as: How did you join the Unification Church? Who first introduced you to it? When did you join? What is your impression of the Unification Church? Are you willing to risk punishment from the school for attending the Unification Church?
I Could Never Forsake the Church
The meaning of the questionnaire was that we had to choose between the university and the church. In my heart I knew that I could never forsake the Unification Church even if I had to leave my school. It was at the church that I had been resurrected both in body and in spirit.
When I was expelled from Ewha University my mother went to the school and protested, asking why such a wonderful student as her daughter had to be expelled for attending the Unification Church. “There are atheists, Buddhists, and even communists attending this university,” she said. “What’s wrong with the Unification Church?” She made quite a fuss, claiming that the school’s action was unreasonable and unjust.
But in May 1955 Ewha University expelled fourteen students, even though most of them were about to graduate in June. At that time in Korea it was rare enough for girls to attend college, so their families were naturally upset when they were expelled. Newspapers reported about it. Some editorials said we had religious freedom, that no one could prevent us from going to the Unification Church, and that the university was wrong.
We asked the dean to explain what she thought was wrong about the Unification Church, but she wouldn’t answer. She simply unconditionally branded it as evil. She hadn’t visited our church and had never even heard the Principle. I, however, had been going there for many months and found nothing wrong. I felt that the only reason the school was stopping us was because of the fear of losing all its students to the Unification Church.
At that time spirit world gave us strength by speaking through us in tongues and giving us revelations. We stayed in front of the residence of the president for two nights, but she didn’t give us any chance to speak with her and she eventually called the police. After we were expelled I transferred to Sook Myung Women’s University to complete my studies.
The Sisters’ Faith Was Very Strong
Those fourteen students received a lot of opposition from society and their families, but even though they faced many difficulties their faith was very strong. We were loved by Father and the brothers and sisters. Father and the members recognized them as precious sisters and said that their names would remain in the history of the Unification Church eternally. Some of the sisters of this group are now the wives of important leaders of our church, such as Mrs. Eu, wife of the late President Eu, the first Korean church president.
Father named us the Myung Won Group. Myung is from Father’s name and means brightness of the sunlight and moonlight; won means a circle and signifies making the world harmonious and peaceful.
In 1957, when I graduated from Sook Myung University, Father began telling us that he would go to America someday. I couldn’t believe it. We had thought that Father would always live in Korea. I was very sorry to be separated from Father and wanted to attend him very much.
I asked myself why I had studied home economics. At that time, it was difficult to become a full-time member, but finally I became a kitchen member. At first I thought it was quite ridiculous for a college graduate to become part of the kitchen staff, but I found out later that three of the older kitchen staff had prayed deeply for a qualified person to come to the kitchen to attend Father. Thirty years ago there were no gas ranges, nor running hot and cold water in Korean kitchens.
Our kitchen, separate from the dining room and with an earthen floor, was very cold in winter.
Father Wouldn’t Eat Nice Meals
At that time Father’s meals were very poor. He wouldn’t allow us to serve him nice meals. He wouldn’t even sit at a table; for many years he just used a tray which he placed on the floor beside him. Thinking of the pioneer missionaries in the countryside, he shared the hard life together with them. He ate cooked barley instead of rice and not more than three separate dishes at a meal. Father fasted on his birthday, and we also fasted on our birthdays for the first three years after joining the church. At that time the pioneers fasted naturally because of their poor financial situations. You can’t imagine how poor our early pioneering life was. Father sometimes consoled me, saying, “Even though you are working in the kitchen after graduating from college, you still have to consider yourself fortunate because at least you can eat somehow. Think of the members who don’t have enough to eat.”
Three days after True Parents’ Holy Wedding, True Mother came to the kitchen to cook meals for Father for three days. I was moved by her attitude and ability. She behaved so naturally and calmly as if she had been working in our kitchen for a long time. She cooked such good and delicious meals in spite of her young age. I was really touched by her and felt deeply that she was really a mother.
During that time Father founded the Little Angels and the Tongil Company. Even though the members donated a lot of money to the church, Father didn’t use it for his family, but for the public mission and future work. There wasn’t even enough fruit or drinks for the children. I still remember how sorry I felt when I had to ask the True Children not to drink something and to save it for Father.
I was responsible for the preparation of the offering tables for the five main holy days. These are celebrated in a very big way in Korea. Once some Japanese members visited Korea and one of them asked me, as she was shaking my hand, why the hands of the church president’s wife were so rough. I replied that it was not such an easy thing to be the wife of the president.
In 1970 the blessed wives went pioneer witnessing for three years. Later, as an itinerary worker, I traveled all over Korea. I had to help my husband, then president of the church in Korea, so that the members would not feel lonely after True Parents had moved to America. I took care of the members on the front line and was responsible for the household at the Cheongpa-Dong headquarters.
In January 1982 my husband’s mission changed and he became the regional leader of Europe.
My motto has always been to follow the advice given in I Thess. 5: 16-18: to be ever joyful and thankful and to pray without ceasing. Through this motto my desire is to internally resemble True Mother more and more in her behavior and character.
Dae Wha Chung’s husband, President Young Hwi Kim, recently celebrated his 90th birthday. They continue to be a channel of our Heavenly Parent’s blessing for our church and movement.