Unification News for February 2003
Mobilization Testimony - Chungbuk Do, Cheongwon Gun
by Michael Balcomb
Here is a report of our work in the field here in Chungbuk Do, Cheongwon Gun centering on the regional director, Rev. Hwang Chi Hoon, and the local church members.
We have had a great first two days of activities. The day after our arrival day was Sunday and we had local church services in all the towns (myeon) in the county of Cheongwon where we're based.
Michael Balcomb and five sisters are located in Namil Myeon, a small local church led by a woman pastor, Rev. Kim Kyoung Ae. She is one of only four women pastors in our movement and is working really hard after the 50 days to get ready for the rallies. There in Nam Il, about 20 members and 15 children came for the Sunday service, including several international couples blessed by True Parents.
Umberto Angelucci is staying in the ground floor of the same building working with Rev. Hwang Chi Hoon, regional leader and also the Korean National Messiah to Afghanistan. We all gathered together Sunday afternoon for a kickoff meeting in Chungjoo City where we met the other members mobilized in our region.
On Monday we went to our first rally in one of the towns, Miwon Myeon. It was great - they had six bus loads of people and we all went out to a resort hotel in the country. There were about 300 people overall, they all listened very carefully to the messages and at the end they all pledged powerfully to support True Parents work for the Unification of Korea. Umberto Angelucci read the "Chuksa" in English, and the western and Japanese members sang 2 songs, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Arirang.
After the speeches and the Hoondokhae, we all went to lunch and then relaxed in the sauna and mineral baths. Hey, no one said it couldn't be fun as well!
After lunch, Rev. Hwang took Umberto and Michael to visit the county governor, Mr Oh Hyo Jin. This was a very interesting meeting. At first, we spoke about North South Unification in general terms, and the prospects of unity, but it was not easy. Mr. Oh said carefully that Unification would not be easy, but when we pointed out the picture of Paektu-san on the wall, he said that of course Unification was the deep wish of all Koreans.
It was only at this point that Michael and Umberto showed him the mobilization literature. Suddenly, he recognized that we were from the Tongil Kyohoe and Rev. Moon Sun Myung. A dramatic and unexpected change took place. He became very friendly and animated and started to tell us about his experiences with the church over the years. He had attended a 7 day workshop back in the 1980s and had been a guest of True Parents at Hannamdong as well. Also, he had written a book about the Unification Movement. He mentioned that he was proud to share the same first name with Moon Hyo Jin as well!
From there on the meeting went very well and we ended up with an invitation to all the mobilized members in the county - more than 30 - to visit a natural mineral spring as guests of the county on the 14th February (if we have time!) Also, we received a beautiful memorial plate, some calendars with artwork from the region and even samples of the legendary Cheonwangun rice, reputed to be the best tasting in Korea.
Heuksokdong Holy Ground
The wallpaper is peeling off the walls, and the windows covered with a thin film of dust that settles everywhere in Seoul. You reach the tiny room through a sunny courtyard off a quiet side-street, passing through the same low wood and tile gate that True Father used every day for several years in his late teens and early twenties.
This is the holy sanctuary at Seoulís Heukseokdong church, a unique piece of living history that many church members in the West, including myself, knew very little about until True Parents visited it again on their return to Korea late last year. This the very room where True Father wrestled with the forces of destiny when a student in Seoul in the late 1930s and early 1940s. It was here that he invested himself in the all night prayers that left his clothes and even the floor soaking with sweat. I looked in vain for a trace of a stain on the floor, but the linoleum was changed not so long ago.
Along the walls are large black and white photos from those early years. This was the time when Godís plan for an early conclusion to the providence of restoration was still in place, when the prepared churches were still faithful as they endured the final indignities of Japanese occupation. As you kneel before the small altar, itís not too hard to travel back in time and imagine how it would have been in those days and wonder if, had you met True Father then, you could have lasted through even a week of the tumultuous battles Father faced every day.
I couldnít have found my way here at all without the kindness of the World CARP media team, who came with me on this small pilgrimage to pray, read Fatherís words and make a new determination as we concluded the victorious Cheon Il Guk activity and 50 days at the Cheongpyong workshop.
Stepping out again into the courtyard, we were met by the sight of fresh laundry cheerfully flapping in the spring breeze, a reminder that this ancient church is still very much alive and that Godís providence is always moving on.
February 12, I was invited to give the "chuksa" address at the Myeon Level meeting in Nam-Il Myeon in Cheongwon County, Chungbuk. As a challenge, and with a lot of help from the local family, I managed to give the entire address in Korean! It was a bit of a cheat because I had to transcribe the Hangul into Romanized characters. My excuse is that the Hangul version is in too small a font.
Anyway, the meeting was a great success despite people having to strain to catch the meaning of my part. The mayor came, stayed for lunch, as well as several state assemblymen and the village leaders (lee jang) as well.
In the afternoon we went out into the thick countryside of Munui, visiting the lee jang on their farms. One of them introduced us to his wonderful mother, 100 years young! Everywhere we go people are very welcoming and apparently even 24 hours notice is enough to come to a meeting!
One of the Korean sisters met a professor from the nearby Airforce Academy in a hairdresser's shop and invited him back for dinner. He was a Buddhist, quite familiar with True Parents work and very respectful of them. It was an interesting encounter because earlier in the day as we drove past the Academy we were told that because of security it is very difficult for civilians to enter.
Sometimes the mountain does come to Mohammed .....
A long-lost younger brother
Friday 14 February the World CARP video crew was in town filming our witnessing activities and getting ready for a county-wide rally that will close out our local activities here in Cheonwon-gun, Chungbuk-do. So, although we had basically finished our witnessing we went back to Munui-myeon to follow up on one of the leaders who came to the rally a couple of days ago and interview him about his response on camera.
However, Heavenly Father always has bigger plans than us. We all arrived at the little country office and sat down in a circle on the bare linoleum floor. As we began to speak, another man joined us and said, "Oh, Moon Sun Myung, I don't have anything good to say about him!" Then he repeated this claim, but this time he said "Moon Sun Myung Hyung Nim," calling Father his older brother and referring to himself as "Tongsaeng" or younger brother. It turned out that this gentleman was also a member of the Moon clan, so he had to at least call Father his Hyung or elder brother, even if we would prefer Abonim or Father.
So we patiently spoke to him about what Father is doing for North-South Unity. He wanted to know why Father was not giving more humanitarian aid to North Korea, so we explained how Father really wanted to help North Korea to change, which was why he is establishing businesses there. North Koreans are proud people and don't just want handouts. They need jobs and investment. Really, we said, who invests in North Korea to make money?
But our new Moon friend was not so easily deterred. "How come I never read anything about this in the media or see it on TV?" he demanded "and I only hear bad things like Danbury, etc." Well, we had an answer for that one too. Meanwhile, his friend, the leader we had actually come to see, was busy filling out a membership form for Mr. Moon and suddenly asked him for his birthday so the form could be complete!
As the conversation progressed we learned that Mr. Moon had in fact once been a family member or 'Shikku' in a local village. However, when a nearby dam was completed, the whole village was submerged under a new reservoir, taking down with it our little church, and somehow Mr. Moon's faith went underwater as well. But now, through the Cheon Il Guk activity, there is hope for resurrection for the whole of Korea and all of our long lost brothers and sisters!
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