Observing the Early Stages of the Messianic Mission – 5
By Won Pil Kim
This is the 5th installment in a series of Rev. Won Pil Kim’s testimonies about his experiences with, and observations of, the beginning of True Parents’ mission—the mission of the Messiah—and how it unfolded from the first years of Father’s public ministry.
There were perhaps just six members, including Won Pi Kim, who followed Father during the time he was teaching in Pyongyang, North Korea, and then managed to stay with True Father as he continued his ministry in South Korea (of course later together with True Mother). The following account of Father’s early ministry in Pyongyang from 1946 to 1948, which we will present as a series over the next few weeks, is compiled from a series of talks Rev. Kim gave to participants of a I20-day workshop in New York some 40 years ago.
How Father treated the members
In those days, when people came to visit Father, they would tell him all about their past. Sometimes it would take so long for them to recount everything. Once a woman told her entire story, beginning with her birth and continuing through her childhood, family life, the blessings she received from God, etc. It became very late, but still Father continued listening to her. His attitude was always very polite and embracing to everyone, whatever his or her age or position. Even an old man with little education would be welcomed very politely.
Sometimes in your center a person with no apparent talent or capacity joins. This was also the situation in the early times.
People’s outward appearances were sometimes miserable, but Father never looked at them externally. Father always saw them from the viewpoint of what they had done in the past and what their ancestors had accomplished. Father never focused on the externals, but on the internal aspects of a person, including his or her ancestry.
There was one member who had received a revelation to go on a 40-day pioneer witnessing condition. His family persecuted him very much for his connection with our church. Not knowing how to carry out this revelation, the member came to Father to ask his advice. So Father told him, “If you sacrifice your family for God and for His will, He will protect them; they will never be destroyed.”
Suppose we go pioneering with many worries about our own family. We can write them letters, for instance, but our opportunities to help them are very limited. Imagine how God feels in such a situation. He would want to take care of our family in our stead. If we really invest ourselves in our pioneering work, God will think, “This person is really pouring out himself for My will; therefore, I have to take care of his family.” Isn’t God’s protection of our family more valuable than human protection?
As members came to know Father, they wanted to give precious things to him. Some people brought beautiful clothes, others brought him fine food. But Father never used things that were given him just for himself; he would share them with the poor people who came to the church. You can imagine how those who had prepared these gifts with all their heart felt when they saw other members using them. Sensing this, Father told them, “You gave me this present, so it became mine. I accepted it from you and I deeply appreciated it. But now it is my prerogative to use it as I see fit. If you feel bad when you see what I do with your gift, that means that you still want to interfere with your present. But because you gave it to me, you have to rely on me to decide how I want to use it. I really appreciated it, and I gave it to another brother or sister. When you see them using it, you can feel that I myself am using it, and in this way you can appreciate its value.”
Father treated everyone with equal respect and love. When someone would try to leave for home, he would always stop them and say, “Please stay longer, please stay longer.” He would really plead with them. Also, when someone didn’t come for a while, Father would be anxious to see them. “Why hasn’t he (or she) come?” he would ask. He always had this kind of deep love in his heart for each person.
From early morning until late at night, many members were always around him. Father was never alone; he never had time for himself. At that time, his lifestyle was transparent; he was like someone living in a glass house. People could see everything he did.
As leaders, we sometimes yearn to set aside some time for ourselves, because the members are always around us. But at that time, Father had no time for himself at all. Even now, his daily life remains the same. He is always surrounded by the members.
Sometimes, we want to make a kind of wall around us and separate ourselves from the members, but we should remember that Father’s life was and is a public life. Everything he does is invested for the members’ benefit.
How spiritualists were guided
As I explained, there were many people who came to see Father and learn from him. Only people who have suffered a lot can understand other people’s suffering. Those who came to see Father were people who had suffered a lot.
Among them was one spiritualist about 70 years old. She was a very pious woman who belonged to an indigenous religious group, related to Buddhism. When she was 40 years old, God gave her a revelation in which He told her to climb a hill, look out over the city, and search for a building which had a cross on the top. At that time, she did not know about Christianity, so she did not know that a cross on the top of building meant that it was a Christian church; therefore, because of her ignorance, God had to give her instructions in this manner. In the church, God showed her the Bible.
At that time, men could attend school, but very few women had the opportunity. Being illiterate, this woman could not understand what was written in the Bible. So God told her He would teach her how to read. “Open the Bible to the first page.” He said. A white hand appeared and guided her fingers down the columns of characters on the page, giving her the pronunciation of each letter. Thus the first word she learned to read was Ha-na-nim (God). That is how she learned to read.
Every day, this lady would go to the mountain to pray, and her body would be lifted spiritually to the top of the mountain.
The woman was told to fast for 40 days, and near the end of that time a very attractive white rice cake appeared in front of her. If she had been thinking only about her hunger, she would have accepted the cake and eaten it, but she was strong enough to throw it away.
This woman ended up being the only spiritualist that remained faithful to Father during his time in prison in North Korea.
Some people received direct revelations from God to go to where True Father was. Some were told the exact date when they would meet the Messiah, even five years in advance. There was one woman who received many revelations, and during this time her body would remain stuck fast to the floor. Her son witnessed this. She would begin to pray in the morning and not come out for the whole day. The child thought that something was strange, so he went into her room and tried to pull on his mother. He was unable to move her.
The person who had been told in advance the date she would meet the Messiah had an impulse to head in some direction on that day, forgetting that it was the promised day. She set out, just following her inclinations, but without consciously taking any particular direction. In this way, she came to one corner where she heard a very beautiful voice. Attracted by it, she entered a small house, and that small house was the very church where Father was teaching. That was how she met Father on the appointed day.
Elderly women always wanted to come and sit near Father, and they felt like children before him. These spiritualists had so much spiritual power; but even though they longed to touch Father’s clothes, they wouldn’t.
Father never talked to the members about spiritual phenomena. He never referred to his visions, made predictions, or did spiritual healings—things these spiritualists often did. He was a great leader without using spiritual phenomena to attract people. He always acted very naturally. We sat and received his words, like students listening obediently to a teacher. When Father guided the members, he would sit on the floor along with the rest of us.
His behavior was no different from that of others. In the Orient, people in a higher position are usually given a special soft cushion upon which to sit, but he wouldn’t use one. There were many kinds of spiritualists. Some did spiritual healings, others predicted the future, and still others could deeply move people’s hearts. But even those spiritualists, when they heard Father, they became like younger children in front of him. They just obeyed and followed Father’s words. They became so humble in front of him, even though he did not tell people he could see into their future or reveal their past.
Even though Father didn’t say anything about spiritual power, when we saw these spiritualists humbly serving him, we could understand in a new way how great he was.
Continued next week….