Unification News for July 1999
The Eternal Pioneer
A testimony by Rev. Joong Hyun Pak
Dear Brothers & Sisters in the Unification Church and distinguished guests, our Brothers & Sisters from all religions,
We have fulfilled so many campaigns—RFK Stadium Blessing, Madison Square Garden Blessing, our True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon's 24-city Speaking Tour, Dae Mo Nim's 4-city Ancestor Liberation Tour—and finally True Parents declared Cosmic Victory at Belvedere. When Reverend Moon proclaims a victory, it is his tradition to then "make a new start." Father usually follows up a victory with changes.
On June 1, at Belvedere, Father changed my mission. Father is now placing younger people in various positions, and he is putting Rev. Chang Shik Yang in my position. All over the world, Father is making changes in positions, putting in the younger members.
My life in America, along with many of you, has been dedicated to God and True Parents. When I realized the time had come for me to be liberated from this somewhat heavy mission, my thoughts began to go to a possible new life in my mission country of Switzerland, but Father said he was not going to allow me that privilege yet, and maybe never. So I still have to be on the frontline.
I feel so fortunate to have worked with you. I so much appreciate each one of you. I also feel proud of you and of all the things we have accomplished together. We have worked together for America, for the Cosmos, and for the Kingdom of God. These are eternal memories.
I want to look back for a moment on my personal life, my faith and my life with True Parents. I was born in 1943 in South Korea. At that time we were under Japanese occupation. Life was in darkness. Then came World War II. In 1945 we received word that the war was over. Korea got its independence from Japan.
In 1948 I met Jesus Christ for the first time. I was kindergarten age and was taken to a Methodist Church. That gave me the experience of being within a Christian atmosphere, even for a short period of time. Then in 1950 the Korean War broke out. I lost my parents. My hometown was burned out, completely destroyed. I was seven years old, but had to witness such atrocities of human beings against one another, of brothers fighting brothers, in the name of communism and democracy.
"Why," this 7-year old boy asked himself, "are human beings distrusting and hating each other? Why are they afraid of each other and angry with each other? What was the reason?" I could not understand. Following that time, my grandfather took me to live in his household. He educated me in every way, including morally, in the Confucian lifestyle. He taught me about my ancestry and our family history. My ancestors were righteous people, dedicated to public life. My grandfather taught me to be conscious of bringing honor to my ancestors by the way I lived my own life.
With this kind of background already existing, I was soon to be exposed to the eschatological teachings in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at around nine years of age. It frightened me badly to hear about "death, judgment, the coming of Christ, and where the soul was going after death." All such teachings upset me and again, my young mind had many questions: "Why did this Earth have to be burned up?" as they were saying. "Why were only the members of this church going to be saved?" which they were teaching. I became even sadder when I thought of people I loved being doomed. My relatives, my village, my nation, my world were all going to be burned, they said. Not again, I thought!
None of this made any sense to my young mind. I was wondering who created the heavens and the earth and why did everything beautiful have to be burned up. Let me add here that I have respect for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the work they do in the world; especially in the fields of education and medical services. My wife and I have relatives in that denomination. But what happened to me was so long ago and I was so young and tender.
By the time I was in Junior High School, I was back in the Methodist Church teaching Sunday School.
In 1957, I heard that a relative of mine in the Korean Army, Col. Bo Hi Pak, had joined a cult in Seoul! I began to pray to save him from this. At the first chance I got, I took a bus to Seoul and went to his house. He was very kind to me. He respected me, this young school boy. He talked patiently with me for a long time and then asked me to attend a workshop. After that workshop I joined the Unification Church!
For the first time in my life, I was no longer afraid of 'eschatology'. The Unification Church did not teach that the world would be destroyed. Rather, it taught the opposite. God wanted to keep the beautiful earth forever and ever. The coming judgment meant truth, human life, character and true love, not the killing field of destruction. The Second Coming of the Messiah meant that he would bring harmony, peace and love, not fear. I was liberated. That was the turning point of my life. I was liberated from fear. I was free to look forward to the future.
In 1961, after high school, True Father told me not to go to the university but to begin pioneering. I witnessed, I taught Divine Principle, Victory Over Communism, and even new agricultural techniques which I had learned in a rural life.
God gave me a revelation that I should prepare to go someday to America, the modern-day Rome, the Christian country, the Bride country. America is just about the same size as the Roman Empire was. The Roman Empire was the melting pot of the world 2,000 years ago. From all over the world people could come and enjoy Roman citizenship, along with equal rights. Even highways were built leading into Rome. What was all this prepared for? For the Messiah, for Jesus Christ.
America today is the same. For what reason? To receive the Bridegroom. The destiny of us here this moment is to serve America, serve the world and work for world peace, establishing the Kingdom of Heaven.
I arrived in America in 1975. This year 1999 marks my 25 years in America. Some day I want to write about these 25 years in America. I want especially to write about the many unsung heroes in the Unification Church. All of us are just little grains of sand, but together we make a big beach, the earth, and the cosmos. Unsung heroes are often fearfully strong and courageous.
My activities and projects in America have included witnessing, Victory Over Communism campaigns, interfaith, interreligious activities, racial harmony, Yankee Stadium and Washington Monument events, the True Family Values movement, the Pure Love Alliance, Blessings, including RFK Stadium and Madison Square Garden, True Family speaking tours, and Ancestor Liberation ceremonies, just to name a few.
We recently welcomed 106 saints to America who lived during the Old and New Testament times. Most of them were humble people who lived a life of devotion.
I have spent 39 years pioneering in the Unification Church. I believe my personal destiny is that of an eternal pioneer. A pioneer has a mysterious destiny and he follows with faith and vision. He must always go to unexplored areas and is nervous most of the time because he must always be on the alert for what is going to happen in this unexplored area. A pioneer does not necessarily become an owner; He paves the way for others.
My new pioneer mission will take me to all denominations of the Christian faith, to Judaism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, even political and cultural arenas, teaching true family values and True Father's vision. I know someone has to do this. Two-thousand years ago, John the Baptist rejected Jesus. So someone in between had to do this kind of work. It was the disciples of Jesus who went forth and pioneered the way.
As long as my spiritual energy and my physical energy remains, I know I will be an eternal pioneer. I have always loved America. I am very honored to have served all these years here and honored to continue serving in this Elder Son place. I want to make two points about America and my new mission:
#1. America is the center of the Christian kingdom, the Bride country. The symbol of America is the Statue of Liberty. It is a woman, not a man. We have to make preparations to receive the Bridegroom. Also, since it is the Elder Son nation, we must prepare to welcome True Parents. America has the responsibility to liberate the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and in Heaven.
#2. America is a melting pot for the world. There is no other country with so many nations represented within it—all with their own races, cultures, religions and varied backgrounds. From all corners of the world—north, south, east, and west—they are gathered in America, living together in relative peace and harmony. It is a unique melting pot.
If we want to own the best piece of metal or steel, we need a melting pot. All the unclean parts are purged and refined until in the end we have the best piece of metal available. America is that melting pot. The super-nation melting pot. But America must be more than a melting pot. It must be a super-harmonizer, super-peacemaker. It has the power to make the metal swords for killing or make the metal tractor that will produce health, wealth and prosperity. It has the power to go either way. So it must dedicate itself to world peace and prosperity for human life and history.
For that we need to harmonize. We need interfaith, interreligious, interracial and intercultural activities. We need to work together. In my new mission I need your help, your wisdom and your good ideas. My dream is that high level religious leaders like Pope John Paul II will sit at the table with True Parents, just as you and I have done so many times, working for world peace. I have the vision that this will happen.
My mind is already busy with planning what I must do in the future. There are so many people to meet, so many things to accomplish. But I know all the saints are with me, and my ancestors as well, so we will not fail.
I deeply respect and appreciate my True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, for their constant support, love and guidance for me.
And to my wife, Mrs. Pak, I am grateful also. She has dedicated herself to a pioneer life. She has worked hard and never complained about anything to me. She is an excellent support.
Rev. Yang is a great leader, a strong leader, a really prepared person. Centered on him, we can expect a good future in America. America has great potential.
I am grateful to all of you. I appreciate each one of you. I appreciate and respect our elder brothers and sisters in the Christian faith and other religions that we have worked hand in hand with. We have many memories and successes.
I love America and I wish all of God's blessings for America.
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