Becoming Victorious Over Oneself – Part 1
by Dr. Joon Ho Seuk
A few weeks ago we posted Dr. Seuk’s testimony about how his family responded when first his mother, Mrs. Won Pok Choi, and then he joined True Parents’ movement. Dr. Seuk has overcome many challenges in his years of service to God’s providence, and the following is a very honest testimony of how he met his limitations and had to determine his response. This story is in two parts.
From a sermon given at Belvedere, USA, on October 4, 1987
On the same day in Korea Father had spoken on “Day of Heavenly Victory and I.” During his speech Father said:
“As Jacob won the victory over the angel and received the name of Israel, we also must be victorious people who can separate ourselves from Satan completely. We must be true men and women of whom God can be proud. Let us fulfill our portion of responsibility so we can bring victory for Heaven.”
Lessons in attendance
As the leader of CARP, I have had the privilege of accompanying Hyo Jin Nim to many places, and I have learned a great deal about attendance and total commitment of heart from him and the other True Children. When I went to the Second CARP Convention in Japan two years ago, Kook Jin Nim, 15 years old at the time, accompanied Hyo Jin Nim. Kook Jin Nim truly attended his elder brother with love. He always got up earlier in the morning than Hyo Jin Nim and waited for him. At night he would go to bed only after Hyo Jin Nim retired. He would sit down at the breakfast table only after Hyo Jin Nim sat down. Only when Hyo Jin Nim started eating did he start eating, and when Hyo Jin Nim stopped eating, he also stopped. I was moved to see such discipline and order among True Parents’ children, and to realize how deeply they know the heart of attendance and love. I’ll never forget the calligraphy that Kook Jin Nim wrote in Japan at the request of the Japanese members. He wrote: “We came to this world not to join with it, but to win over it.” I know that before we can win over this world, we must win over ourselves and fulfill our responsibility as true children of God and True Parents.
In August of this year, I went with Hyo Jin Nim to Berlin for the Fourth CARP Convention. It was very dangerous, because there was a lot of opposition from the communists, including bomb threats. Father had urged Hyo Jin Nim not to attend the rally at the Berlin Wall, but surprisingly, Hyo Jin Nim not only participated in it, he led the march, walking unprotected through the city streets for almost two hours.
I determined to walk with him, right by his side. I thought, “There are many crazy people in this city who might try to kill Hyo Jin Nim. Am I ready to protect him at the cost of my life?” That was a really serious question in my heart. Hyo Jin Nim said, “My life is in God’s hands. If someone really wanted to kill me, he could kill me anywhere. I don’t exist. My life is only for God.” I was deeply inspired by his courage. Hyo Jin Nim marched all the way to the Berlin Wall, despite the jeering and stone throwing and constant threats. He spoke powerfully and prayed a very deep prayer at the Wall. The Berlin Convention was most definitely a victory for Heaven.
After the rally, Father and Mother called Hyo Jin Nim, and they were greatly pleased to learn about the Berlin victory. They wanted Hyo Jin Nim to come to Alaska right away, as well as Rev. Bong Tae Kim and myself.
Trials in the jungle
The day after we arrived in Kodiak, I thought we would be going fishing, but Father suggested that Rev. Kim and I accompany Hyo Jin Nim on a hunting trip. So, along with two security brothers, we set out right away. I wasn’t all that excited to go, because I was exhausted from the convention and the long flight from Germany to Alaska, and besides, I had never been hunting in my life.
I expected we would go hunting nearby, but we headed out to the airport. I saw a tiny airplane on the runway. It was so ancient and rusty and noisy I thought it was a museum piece! But we got in it, and miraculously it flew, taking us over beautiful, green, peaceful-looking islands and lakes. After 40 minutes in the air, we landed on the shore of a large island and pulled out all the baggage, food, and hunting equipment. I thought the airplane would wait for us, but the pilot said, “So long. I’ll come back for you in four days.” I was shocked. I looked around, and there were no people, no electricity, no drinking water, no telephones, nothing except the small cabin where we would stay.
Hyo Jin Nim wanted to start out immediately. I thought we would be hunting right there by the shore, but Hyo Jin Nim said, “We’ve got to climb to the top of that mountain, because that’s where the deer are.” To get there, we first had to fight through a thick jungle, which was even worse than I had experienced in Vietnam. We could barely move forward through the tangled undergrowth. It was swampy and slippery underfoot, and many times we stumbled and fell, getting scratched and cut by the underbrush. After more than an hour and a half of this, we started climbing. The mountain was so steep that we had to crawl on our hands and knees. For more than two hours we made our way up the side of the mountain, sweating like crazy.
When we reached the top, I was so exhausted I almost collapsed. Hyo Jin Nim and the others went off looking for deer. Rain was coming down heavily all around me, and I lost any sense of direction, so I just stayed where I was. Many, many hours passed, until evening came, and still Hyo Jin Nim did not come back. Finally, Rev. Kim and I decided to go back down the mountain and try to find Hyo Jin Nim at the place where the plane had landed. On the way back through the jungle we were blocked by the thick undergrowth and thus forced to find another way down so many times that we got totally lost. We felt like throwing away the heavy guns and equipment we were carrying. Almost in tears, shedding sweat and even blood from our cuts and scratches, we feared we might never be found!
Going the suffering path
For the first time, I really felt Heavenly Father’s lonely, suffering, thorny path. I thought of True Father’s desolate wilderness course, which he went through alone and utterly without comfort, shedding his sweat, blood, and tears. I realized that what I was experiencing in this jungle was nothing compared to what he has been going through-not for just one day but for the last 40 years. Thinking about Father gave me the strength and determination to advance and to not give up or be tempted to throwaway my gun and backpack.
Finally, after over four hours of fighting our way through the jungle, we arrived at the shore, but Hyo Jin Nim wasn’t there. We began shouting and shouting. Finally, around midnight, Hyo Jin Nim heard us, and he and the others came to where we were. I was so happy to see them! We sat down and had a very joyful dinner together.
The next day we arose early and started out again. I was very tired, but I couldn’t say anything about it to Hyo Jin Nim. He asked me to carry the water containers. I never knew that water was so heavy! Back through the jungle and up the mountain we crawled. My only comfort was finding a few patches of delicious wild strawberries.
Again at the top, I collapsed, and while I rested, Hyo Jin Nim and the others disappeared. It was frightening to be alone on this desolate mountaintop. The sky filled with dark, heavy clouds, until it became so black I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of me. I had to move around just to keep warm in the cold rain. I knew that to attempt the three-hour journey back down the mountain in the dark was very dangerous. I was extremely tired and wanted to pray, but I couldn’t close my eyes because I was afraid of the wild animals. So I began to sing one song after another, sometimes the same song ten times in a row.
As I sang, I remembered one time when Father was speaking to some guests around the breakfast table. He said, “When I started my public ministry 40 years ago, it was as if I were completely surrounded by stormy clouds, satanic powers, so dark I couldn’t see even one inch ahead of me, with enemies everywhere. I was desperate to remove those clouds, but it seemed totally impossible.” But even under such lonely and fearful circumstances, Father never gave up; he only determined to become stronger and stronger, and gradually he was able to overcome that terrifying darkness. Now, lost in the darkness of this mountain, surrounded by enemies—the wild animals—I felt that for the first time I could really understand what Father had been describing. Then I thought of how much easier our members’ situation is now, compared with Father’s in those early dark times, and I gained the power to go beyond my fear and loneliness.
Part 2 will be posted next week.