Unification News for March 2003

Kang-whe, Cheonwon-Gun District

by A. Ferrantello

I had the privilege of living in a small Korean house in a small country village with the local pastor's family. Eju-hun is an 8 year old boy and runs to the computer everyday he gets back from school. He dominates his older 13 year old brother, eju-hwan, only because the older lets him. 11 year old girl, Emin-choung, loves to study and is very artistic. To the cue from their parents, they respectfully say good-bye to me as they depart for school and greet me again as they return everyday. The pastor's wife is the first to rise in the morning to prepare breakfast for the little ones. The entire family is a joy to be with and a living testimony of God's love manifested.

With 3 native Japanese sisters and one other Korean brother, we successfully organized 3 public meetings: one in Kang-whe, the second in Kang-ne and a third in Puyong-all in the cheongwon -gun district.

Friday, Feb 10,: With partners in arm, I went through the approach book in English and partners would translate to a captain/manager of a local agricultural bank. We asked him to sign application form and took photos together. We went to a senior citizen center. Older Korean men were huddled together on a warm floor playing cards. Some were sleeping, some smoking. Eventually our conversation got the attention of one very large Korean man who reminded me very much of John Wayne, the American cowboy actor who often times plays the role of a gruff and tough independent type who often gets into fist fights. This man was loud, expressive and in the end was kind. One could sense that he thoughtfully contemplated our words. He signed up with the rest of the men.

The captain/manager from the agricultural bank brought a large box of miniature apple juice cans as a congratulatory gift to the parsonage. This was just in time for our first public meeting where Rev. Jea Seok Kim gave an introduction and translated for me as I read the congratulatory remarks in English. We followed the agenda items in our program and Rev. Lee spontaneously gave an inspired and impassioned talk for approximately 1 hour speaking from his heart and using no notes whatsoever.

We went visiting after our seminar to our second senior citizen's center where I met Clint Eastwood's Korean counterpart. With full head of white hair, he was rough, tough, outspoken who after showing the typical resistance, was the first one to sign the application form and then commanded the other men to sign as well.

We went to a County Manger's office. He graciously took us up to his executive meeting room, served us warm miniature bottles of tea and took our literature.

We visited our third agricultural bank and met a very important senior captain/manger of the bank who signed the application. I relished in the kindness of these people that appears as a universal social consciousness, grace and national identity.

Feb 12, 2003: We had our second public meeting in Kang-ne where over 50 guests attended. This was a good showing for a small town. I gave the same abridged version of congratulatory remarks and the program followed as usual. We greeted guests with big smiles and handshakes and escorted them to sit around a large kerosene heater that was in the middle of the large meeting room which was very cold in the morning. Grandma's and grandpa's huddled together to warm-up as we hung our banners on the wall.

It was in this seminar that Clint Eastwood's counterpart and his compatriots attended. They were very happy to see me as I was to see them. Even without speaking the Korean language, these people felt the love and concern given to them and returned it many times over. They were very genuine and sincere.

After our second seminar, we went to a cultural center where Rev. Lee just burst into a practice performance of a Korean drum dance. He passionately introduced me as a famous miguk. He is a natural born salesman and asked the dance and drum performers to perform for me and they did. It was a loud and wonderful expression of Korean folk dancing in preparation for the lunar celebration that takes place throughout Korea at this time. The dance was led exclusively by women who were hitting away at the drums and dancing happily in a circle. It was great. I like Rev. Lee's style: he makes no appointments. He simply goes where he wants and dominates the environment and conversation.

We visited another senior citizen's center. The candy I brought over from the US was quickly consumed by all. They loved it and thereafter signed the applications. Thereafter we visited a Catholic church where the pastor politely received our material.

The highlight for me was at the end of the day. We visited and elderly church couple. The elderly man was Rev. Lee's pastor and father to Byung Ho Soon. The elderly man was unfortunately hit by a truck and is now recovering. We were whisked to his bedroom, sat on the warm floor, served tea and coffee with sweets and small oranges. We sat and talked together for approx. 45 minutes. It dawned on me that the exchange of our Korean conversation is so very similar to the way Italian families talk when they visit one another. They serve guests, emotionally share with each other with full spectrum of tonality from soft to loud voices. This sharing is so very healthy. Whether in a seminar or in a social visit as this was, Rev. Lee always introduces me as the great miguk architect who contributed to the design East Garden, UTS grad, etc. and treats me as royalty as is very sincere.

After 2 weeks in Korea, I made a new determination to study Korean language. I rediscovered how Korean language is very similar to Italian where people unabashedly express themselves with full spectrum of tonality and passion which I find very refreshing. I listened, enjoyed and understood how in conversation, one empathizes with a particular comment and uses it as a starting point to help the commentator expand on his statement with a lot of emotional and verbal support until the initial speaker feels that he is understood, supported and at one with those around him.

There is life in words. There is healing in words. Understanding comes from hearing and hearing by the Word... the full resonance of life-giving words that illuminates for me the "Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound" that comes from the Word of God.

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