History of the Seoul Church – Part 1
By Won Pil Kim
We continue Rev. Won Pil Kim’s personal story and review of the earliest years of our movement. In 1953 when this story begins, Father is 33 years old and Won Pil Kim is 25. Fighting in the Korean War ended with the truce in July 1953. It was later in the year that True Father began to establish the church in Seoul. Won Pil Kim’s first hand account remains among the most insightful testimony of the earliest times.
Father left Busan for Seoul in the year 1953, on September 17, and he returned again to Busan for a visit on December 24 Christmas eve, of the same year. In addition to teaching members in Busan, Father went to Taegu and visited Mrs. Kang who was pioneering there, and also went to visit the holy mountain where we went to pray. Father did this kind of itinerary work, visiting members and encouraging them. Also, of course, he visited all the members in Busan.
While Father was away in Seoul, the members witnessed very hard and restored many people. Among those they met was Mr. Hyo-won Eu, who later became the first president of HSA-UWC and was among the first 3 couples blessed in 1960. Mr. Eu was kind of a genius, but because of his illness he had to quit his university studies. He was searching for the truth and spent much time studying theology. But he had suffered from illness for a long time. Many times he reached the point of considering suicide, but then he would remember his mother’s prayers during his childhood. These prayers consoled him and he persevered.
He was in despair and was without hope. In that situation, he met our members. Two middle-aged ladies witnessed to him; they could not speak a word, but just cried. Moved by their heart, he went to the church with them. There was no one who could give a lecture except me, so I gave him a lecture. At that time, my lecturing ability was not adequate for someone as highly educated as Mr. Eu, so in the beginning I was hesitant, but because I believed in Father, I was able to give the lecture.
Mr. Eu’s character is like burning fire, but my first impression of him was that he looked like a very kind person. Because of his kind appearance, I had the courage to give him a lecture. Whatever I said he wrote down. After several days, he gave me his questions. Since he had studied science, he was a very logical person, and he had difficulty understanding the spiritual fall. He thought it was impossible for the fall to take place between spiritual entities and people with a physical body. If I had been able to substantiate my explanation with Biblical quotations, he would have been able to accept it, but I didn’t know how. But I had the strong conviction that Principle comes not from man but from Heaven. With this strong conviction, I told him, “If you pray about this point, an answer will be given to you.” He obeyed my suggestion and prayed.
From the spirit world he was given a very clear answer. When he heard that Father wrote the original version of Principle, he wanted to borrow it. He read it through from beginning to end. He had been desperately searching for the truth but unable to find it, and had almost taken his own life. At this point he met the members, heard Principle, and read Father’s version of the Principle. In this way, he was able to totally believe in Father. So he wrote Father a letter, explaining his heart to him.
21 Day Revival
When Father returned to Busan on December 24, he held a fellowship meeting with the older members and then the new members, centering on Mr. Hyo-won Eu. He gathered them together and held a revival meeting. Father started a revival meeting in the small house belonging one of the members, and the meeting lasted for 21 days. The schedule went like this: first a lecture by Father, then testimonies by members, and so on. We continued until very late at night for each of the 21 days. Father continuously gave lectures, introducing new aspects of the truth.
Members sometimes wanted to go to the toilet, but Father gave lectures continuously, and they didn’t want to miss anything. When they reached the point they could no longer stand it, they would rush outside to the toilet and return as quickly as possible. They thought that if they went to the toilet, they would miss some key point of Father’s lecture. Also, no one fell asleep.
While Father was giving lectures, even brand-new members would receive revelations. Among them was one university student who was receiving revelations. The atmosphere was very high; it felt like burning fire. Every word that Father spoke was written down, without missing a single word.
Three of the physical brothers of the late president Eu also joined the church (they were all blessed among the 36 couples). His younger brother had been a very heavy smoker. This younger brother knew Principle and realized that after joining the family he could never smoke. When he heard that Father was coming on December 24, he gathered together all the cigarettes he had and smoked them all — his last chance to smoke! Thus the new members prepared for Father’s coming. When the revival meeting started, they received many blessings from God. During this revival meeting, ten members joined. Those ten people all became leaders in the existing churches.
Teaching Principle in Seoul
After the revival meeting, Father returned to Seoul. Mr. Eu recognized his mission, and decided to join the family. He gave up everything and went to Seoul, determined to witness on two famous Christian university campuses in Seoul. As you know, he was lame and could not walk without a cane. Even when giving a lecture, he could not stand up, so he had to lean on something to give a lecture.
He began giving lectures, drawing diagrams on paper. Early in the morning, he started giving lectures, continuing until very late at night. Following the lectures there would be a testimony meeting. Then he would sleep, and early the next morning he would resume lecturing. The people who went through three days of his lectures could never leave the church because they were so wonderful.
In 1954 in Seoul, Mr. Eu rented a house and Father came. Together they started the church and began witnessing. From that time on, famous university professors and university students began visiting our church. Mr. David S.C. Kim was witnessed to at that time. Noted people in religious groups began to have contact with our church. But the number of members was not so large at that time.
From spring until October of 1954, Father established a prayer condition. In those days in Korea, there was a curfew from midnight until 4 a.m. But even before that hour, Father would go to the mountains to pray. Usually government officials would not allow people to go outside at that time, but knowing that we were going to pray, they did not interfere with us.
Seven or eight members stayed in the same small room, sharing the only three blankets we had. We ate from the same bowl, shared the same meals, slept together in the same room. We did everything together.
During these times, Father used to tell us that after October many members would join. In the mornings, we would do our prayer condition, and then go witnessing in earnest, even though our numbers were small at that time. We had one favorite song which we sang in those months, “Jesus walked this lonesome valley.” Once, twice, even 20 or 30 times a day we would repeat that song. The song is about Jesus, two thousand years ago walking the lonely path, a path which no one can walk for us. Finally, I myself have to go this way. The song gives a sense of loneliness, but it encouraged us and instilled in us the strong resolve to follow this way.