Unification News for September 1998
Back to Seoul
by Linna Rapkins
The time had come to return to the heart of Korea-the city of Seoul. Father had tried to start his work there almost ten years earlier and was thoroughly rejected. Then he had moved North and suffered so many things in Pyongyang and Hungnam prisons. On their way south to Pusan in 1951, Father, Mr. Pak and Won Pil Kim had passed through Seoul. They had seen a city overrun with soldiers and army tanks, with most of the other people heading further South. No one wanted to be around when the communist soldiers arrived.
On a pleasant autumn day in October 1953, Father once again entered Seoul, and what met his eyes was not so pleasant. Where little houses and busy shops had once stood along the winding roads, there now lay piles of rubble. There were bombed out shells of old buildings and little footpaths winding in and out among the piles of broken tiles and household items.
The rest of the world had already done much of its rebuilding following World War II. But in Korea there came the Korean War, and it had still been a time for tearing down; not building up.
Father remembered the Korean myth about the phoenix bird, who rose up out of its own ashes to live again. Now, Korea must rise up from its own ashes and live again. Looking at the miles and miles of ruins, however, it seemed impossible.
"Oh Seoul! Seoul! Look at you! How many times I tried to reach out to you and you wouldn’t listen!" The pain that stabbed his heart brought tears to his eyes. "How long before laughter and happy voices can fill your air again-your streets again-your homes again. Homes? Can you really call these shacks and lean-tos homes?"
Father observed ragged families rummaging through the garbage for bits and pieces. The sparkle had left their eyes. The years of war and hunger had worn them down.
Father wandered around with tears flowing down his face. He wanted so much to shout to everyone about the coming new age for Korea and the world. He wanted to give them hope. He wished he could be a big mother hen and gather them all under his protecting wings.
If he had stopped to think about it, Father could very easily have felt hopeless about his own life. He could have said, "I’m already past 30 years old-and look at me. I have nothing-no money, no nice clothes, no job, no family, no home. Other people are poor, but at least they have their families. I have no wife. I have no children. Poor me!" He could have thought it; but his thoughts, as always, were for other people-and for Heavenly Father.
The days passed by. He kept praying every day, spending long hours alone on mountaintops in Seoul. Spirit world sometimes sent people right up to him, and then he told them about God’s message. His heart would reach out to them, and as he taught them The Divine Principle, he gave them all the love and power he had.
It was very difficult, however, to convince anyone to listen. They were just trying to survive.
For two months, he worked in Seoul. Besides his busy schedule of praying, witnessing and teaching, there was another topic continually on his mind-his disciples in Pusan and Taegu. There were no telephones, so he couldn’t talk to them.
"How are they doing?" he wondered. "I miss them so much-Mrs. Oak, Mrs. Kang, Mr. Aum, my dear Won Pil. I’ve never been separated from him since I got out of prison. I wonder how he’s doing. I wonder how they’re all doing. I wonder if they found new people. Maybe I shouldn’t have left them alone."
In December, he could bear it no longer. He would make the long trip to Pusan and pay a visit in time for Christmas.
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