The Bold Lady Evangelist – Part 2
Mrs. Youn Il-soon
In I956, Youn Il-soon joined the Unification Church. Most of her extended family had already become members, but Miss Youn still belonged to the Methodist Church. For many months, she observed her family members and the Unification Church’s activities, even informing her own church about what she saw and heard. Finally, after a desperate internal struggle, she abandoned the fiancé whom her uncle had selected for her, and on the date of her intended wedding, she committee herself to the Unification Church.
This is her story.
Part 2 (Click to read Part 1 which was posted last week)
Building a Church
We made plans to build our church. Because we didn’t have enough money we decided to make earthen bricks for our church. It was the rainy season so it was difficult to begin work right away. Several days passed without our being able to do anything and the village people urged me, “Teacher, let’s start working instead of only looking up at the sky waiting for the rain to stop.”
Although it was a small church, for me as a young woman, it was not easy to build. It was very difficult to bring the bricks to the church site, because they were on ground far away. I worked very hard, carrying an A-frame, bringing bricks to where we needed them. I didn’t eat very much, and all the young men were inspired and did their best to help. I, who had never even seen a house built, leveled the ground and laid the foundation day and night. In this way we could finally finish constructing our church building and making the village into the ” Unification Village.”
Building a Church
At the age of 26, I went to Jikyung village, in Gangwon province at the request of our headquarters. I greeted all the ministers in the village and visited each home personally. One old man around 80 years old said, “You look like minister Youn, who died a long time ago in this village.”
And so it was, I, his granddaughter had come again to the same place where my grandfather had died preaching. “Grandfather, please, help your granddaughter. I will accomplish what you couldn’t finish,” I prayed. The existing church there had been established by my mother.
This town had many soldiers because of a nearby army base, so I couldn’t go out alone, especially at night. Due to this worry I finally tried wearing men’s clothing. To hide that I was a woman I bound my chest up very tightly and instead of wearing women’s shoes I went out in men’s shoes. I used to pray before going anywhere. Each time, my grandfather taught me (spiritually) in detail what to do and how to do it. For example, when he would ask me to visit a family home, I would accept his direction, and that family was sure to be greatly inspired by my visit.
One day 50 soldiers came to me. Most of them were already Christian but hearing that one young lady had come from the Unification Church to preach, they were curious and came to test me. I was somewhat embarrassed by so many young men visiting but as I gave the lectures I became filled with courage. After they had listened to me, they offered me many different kinds of things, such as rice, soap, and so on. Even though I did not want to receive those things, because of their sincere attitude, I accepted them.
That night I prayed before I slept, and my grandfather appeared again in my dream. He said, “Don’t touch any of those things that were given to you. Give them back to the owners.” Then next week when I met them again I did as my grandfather wanted me to do. They came to my church every Sunday for service and helped me through many difficulties. My grandfather always stayed close with me, and gave me many directions whenever it was necessary. My spiritual eyes were opened gradually, and I had many spiritual experiences.
The next spring, 1963, headquarters sent out notices for everyone to plant at least 30 trees. However, because I didn’t have money to buy trees, I went to the town chief and asked permission to cut shoots from the Italian poplar trees and plant them on the mountain. Fortunately, he willingly accepted my suggestion, because Italian poplar trees are a very strong tree which can grow with just planting a cutting. Some young men gathered the shoots as I was cutting them and tied them up with string. They said, “Teacher, you even cut the trees well. You are rather like a man!”
“My Lord, please let them grow well as your true sons and daughters,” I prayed, as I looked down on the young men who were laughing with joy.
The next day as I continued cutting more shoots, someone said that a telegram had arrived for me. It read, “Come to Seoul for the Blessing.”
The members there couldn’t understand what it meant because they thought I was too old to get married. I pretended it was nothing important and kept on working until I had cut 3,000 branches. I planted them on a bare mountain. Finally, I prepared to go to Seoul, asking one brother to take care of our family members during my absence.
Engagement and Blessing
I arrived in Seoul very sunburnt from planting the trees every day on the mountain. Mrs. Choi Won-pok called those of us who were reddened by the sun and gave each of us ten eggs. I ate two eggs each day with a thankful mind toward her.
Even during the matching, my mind was always back with the family in my area, worrying about them, wondering if they might fall prey to Satan or if they were suffering because I wasn’t there. Thirty days after the engagement, the 72-couple Blessing Ceremony took place.
Soon afterwards we all went back to our areas. Family members were so happy to see me again that they didn’t even know how to express their feelings. I comforted them, saying, “There won’t be any more of these events, so don’t worry anymore.” I told them what had come to pass and listened to their reports. By then the faith of our family members had grown so much that I no longer had to be anxious about them if I had to be absent again.
A New Mission
Then instructions came from headquarters for me to go to the city of Daejeon in south Choongcheong province, to stay with my husband. I had been in Jikyung village for close to three years, from 1960 to 1963.
Arriving at my new mission I found the situation very difficult. The church was only a little wood-framed house; it was hard for people to believe that it was really a church.
I prayed, “Heavenly Father, You tried to save this whole world through one person, Jesus, who was born in a stable as the son of a carpenter. Although this is a humble house, I believe that You can come and work through us to realize Your providence in this city of Daejeon. Please let people see not just the external form, but the internal power of this place. Let us be wiser if we lack wisdom, and let us be capable if we lack capability. I really believe in Your mightiness, please let us show Your glory in this city.” When I prayed my eyes got wet again with warm tears. I planned rallies everywhere I went and I actualized those plans.
As a Daughter-in-Law
One year after arriving at Daejeon, I was ready to give birth to a baby. However, our financial situation was at that time very difficult; we could only manage to eat one bowl of soup a day. Needless to say, we couldn’t afford diapers, clothes or a blanket for the coming baby. So, unwillingly, I had to go to my husband’s parents’ home.
My mother-in-law was a country woman, uneducated and conservative in outlook; she couldn’t understand our lifestyle and mistreated me very much. Finally, I became a mother, delivering a baby boy. I decided to be a model daughter-in-law and persuade my mother-in-law that a wife from the Unification Church would be the best wife. Therefore, I decided to separate from my husband and live with my mother-in-law until she changed her opinion completely.
We farmed, as most of the people in the countryside do. I worked as hard as I could. I brought firewood from the mountains and weeded the crops, even though I didn’t have any experience doing many things. I just watched from a distance as the farmers worked, and imitated them. I did men’s work as well as women’s duties because I only had one brother-in-law, and he was still very young.
Within one year, the concepts of my mother-in-law and neighbors began to change. I took the chance to do more, and I gave medical care and injections to the children and adults in the village, as I had been trained to do. Finally, the people praised me saying, “This family received a very good daughter-in-law from the Unification Church!”
The third and final part will be posted next week.