Footsteps of My Faith – Part 3
By Chung Su-won
In North Korea, True Father had especially sought out the spirit-led Christian churches, some of which had been very powerfully prepared to prepare the way for the Lord at the Second Advent. The story of Kim Seong-do, the Holy Lord Church that she established, and the persecution they received, is quite well known to our members. Rev. Chung Su-won, who wrote this testimony, was the grandson of Kim Seong-do and, together with his wife, blessed as one of the 36 Couples. This is his testimony, not only of those years during which the Christian foundation was being prepared to receive True Parents, but also of his own path of faith in the very early years of our church movement.
After True Parents’ Holy Wedding, True Mother’s mother, Hong Soon-ae testified to the members that before True Mother was born she had received the revelation, “You will have a baby, but she is not yours; she will belong to God” Then Father testified that my grandmother Kim Seung-do, the Holy Lord Church founder, had been the first person in the providence to prepare for the coming of the bride of the Messiah.
At that time my father donated a mine that he owned to the church. In 1960, a 40-day witnessing condition was started, and I went to the city of Jincheon to witness. The first night I couldn’t find any place to sleep, so I spent the night on the bank of a river, using a straw bag as a blanket. I fought off the mosquitos all night. I really invested in that condition but I wasn’t able to bring any result. However, in the winter we had another 40-day condition, and I was able to witness to 20 people and send them to 20 towns. We made a lot of internal conditions in those days. I went around and visited each town to encourage the young members and the students.
While I was working in Ei-rhee I was matched by Father. Father showed me a picture of a sister and asked, “How about this young lady?”
I said to Father, “She looks nice to me” But Father didn’t call me for several days after that, and the other members had already met their partners. Finally, Father called me and showed me a different picture. I thought this sister was even better than the first one he had shown me. I felt very strongly that Father had given me a very nice fiancée.
We went to my fiancée’s house to meet her parents, but my in-laws were very opposed to our marriage, especially the aspect of a large mass wedding. They said they would consent to the marriage only if it were held at their house.
However, on May 15, 1961, early in the morning, the 33-Couple Blessing was held [3 couples had been blessed the previous year, so the total was 36 couples]. Outside of the church building many upset parents were demonstrating.
During our 40-day separation period I went to Ei-rhee for a new mission, and my wife traveled around the country as a national IW. My new married life began in separation, but we were nevertheless deeply grateful to our True Parents.
Visiting churches by bicycle
Toward the end of August 1961, I became the regional leader of Gyeong-nam Province. I didn’t have any experience as a leader, and when I arrived there everything was new to me. Every month I gave the local leaders Father’s directions, and I had to make sure that everything was done well. I visited every local church by bicycle. One day I had to travel a distance of 100 km, but my bicycle broke down; so I walked and ran the rest of the way. When I finally arrived at my destination at 11 o’clock at night, 20 families were there waiting for me. We had a very deep and meaningful fellowship.
Our first regional workshop was very successful, with 50 people attending. Before the workshop two members and I walked from Pusan to Jinhae, a distance of over 40 km, as a condition to conclude the workshop successfully.
On the first day of 1962, I fasted because there was nothing to eat. We often experienced a severe shortage of food. Once a woman brought us scorched rice so we made rice soup out of it and ate it for breakfast and lunch. This kind of difficult experience was very good for my life of faith.
During this time my wife had a son that Father named Jinwoo. I was very happy to become a father. My wife and son came to live at my home, but I felt sorry for the other members, because at that time most members were living separately from their spouses. I hesitated to spend time with my wife and son and always tried to be with the other members.
One day after dinner I felt bad being with my wife and son, so I went to the prayer room on the second floor. My wife came to the second floor with my son to look for me, so I went to the top of the building, but she followed me up. Almost every day we did this kind of hide-and-seek game, but actually I was much happier than if we had been apart. Also, I could tell that since my wife and baby had come to live with me, the atmosphere of the center had become much happier and brighter.
In the summer of 1962 we had another 40-day pioneering period. I sent all the church members out to pioneer in small towns. I visited every town and consistently educated them about True Parents’ love and heart. Sometimes I visited four cities in one day. During that condition the local police became negative about our activities. Father told us strongly that even if we were persecuted we must go forward. So we tried to be gracious and helpful to every local police officer, and eventually they began to understand. We were happy to give a victorious report about this to Father.
Then Father gave me a new mission in Chung-buk Province. It was wintertime and I sent all the members out witnessing. I had to visit them by bicycle, but because of the snow it was very difficult; so sometimes I took trains or even walked. It was very cold outside and we often held our meetings without any heat.
On the way to visit one city, Namwon, I was accompanied by a man named Yong Su-seoI, a VOC staff member. During the long walk we both pledged to Father that we would devote our lives to Father and God’s providence.
I saw their sincerity
Most of the Namwon church members were young high school students. The students took turns bringing me lunch whenever I visited, because the church itself had no money. That was the only food I got. The students prepared rice, eggs, and kimchee for me. Their minds were so pure and I cried when I saw their sincerity. They received a lot of persecution from their homes and school but they overcame it with their faith.
I often visited Ei-rhee by bicycle. Once on my way back I couldn’t stay up on my bicycle. I thought it was not running well, so I checked it, but nothing was wrong. I started up again but the bicycle wouldn’t go straight and I knew something had to be wrong! Finally, I realized the bicycle wasn’t running well because I was so hungry and weak. So the members made me some lunch and we couldn’t stop laughing.
My wife and I then had a second baby, Kunsook. The baby was very small and undernourished. She couldn’t get enough of her mother’s milk, and we couldn’t afford to buy any milk. My wife sold household goods door-to-door in order to feed the baby. Many times I thought, “We are the leaders of the restoration of God’s will so we have to overcome all difficulties, even the way of the cross. True Father’s way was always difficult, and so we as his children have to follow the same course as Father in the providence.” When my daughter was seven years old her weight was the same as a three-year-old’s. I felt very sorry to her.
After every regional leaders’ meeting in Seoul I would visit Father and he would give me guidance.
He taught me, “Even in the most difficult situation, always keep a thankful mind. Every situation can change.” Father explained that with such a mind, if we have even some ability and knowledge and if we work hard, we can become winners. So whenever I visited the pioneer centers, I always tried to educate our local family members about Father’s will, heart, and thought.
In the autumn of 1965, I climbed Gili Mountain with 12 young members. We stayed up there for three nights and four days. We couldn’t find any water on the mountain. We had brought rice but we couldn’t cook the rice without water; so we had nothing to eat. Through these kinds of difficulties our young members became strongly united.
I trained our church members in the way Father had taught me.
To be continued….