Unification News for November 1998
A New Beginning in Seoul
by Linna Rapkins
This time, we find Father back in Seoul. After leaving Pusan and Taegu, going to Seoul in October 1953, and then returning to Pusan for a December visit, he returned to Seoul in early 1954, accompanied by Mr. Eu.
Father's surprise visit to his little group in Pusan turned into a wonderful and inspiring 21-day revival. On the 22nd day, Father prepared to return to Seoul, so Mr. Eu packed his things to go, too. He had joined the group before actually meeting Father, and now that he had spent 21 days with him, Mr. Eu knew he wanted to be Father's helper forever and work by his side.
A New Church
When they arrived in Seoul in early 1954, Mr. Eu quickly found a small place where they could live. Right away, Father began thoroughly teaching Mr. Eu the Divine Principle. They also prayed long hours that people might be led to their place. Mr. Eu quickly learned how earnest Father was about his mission and how hard this work would be.
Before long, a few people did start coming--one here; one there. This was good, but it wasn't enough. Father knew it would be important to get the Christian churches to help him, so he and Mr. Eu went to Christians again and again, telling them about God's new message and praying deeply for them.
Despite their hard work, however, the same thing happened as before. The Christian people heard Father teaching about God and Jesus. His stories were different from what was taught in their churches, so they thought Father must be from Satan. They stayed away.
During this time, one of the men who had joined in Taegu arrived in Seoul to join Father. We know him today as David S.C. Kim, the former President of Unification Theological Seminary in America.
This man had been a high ranking government official under Syngman Rhee for 14 years. He wasn't like just any government man, however. He was also very spiritual. God had saved his life during the war and had given him a spiritual experience he couldn't forget. He really wanted to work for God, but he wasn't sure how. He went to church faithfully and led the choir, but he knew there had to be more to a spiritual life than that.
When his friend, Mr. Aum, suggested to Mr. Kim in February 1954 that he should visit Sun Myung Moon's little group in Taegu, he did it. After hearing the teaching and after a couple of inspiring spiritual experiences, he became one of Father's followers.
When he appeared in Seoul, then, Father welcomed him warmly and put him right to work.
One day soon thereafter, Father seemed to have made up his mind about something.
"The people in the churches still do not want to work with me," he told Mr. Eu." But if I have no church, I cannot bring Christians together. If I can't get Christians to work together, the same thing will happen to me that happened to Jesus: I will be killed, and the Christians will go through terrible suffering."
Mr. Eu was very disturbed to hear this, but he didn't know what he could do to help.
"So--," continued Father, not waiting for an answer, "we will just have to create our own church and start from the beginning."
Mr. Eu's eyebrows went up. This sounded like a good idea, but would it be possible? There was just the two of them in Seoul.
Understanding his thoughts, Father added, "It would have been much easier if the churches had united with me, but I just can't wait for them any longer."
Mr. Eu didn't dare think over how possible it might be; he simply gave Father the support he needed and nodded his head.
The building they found for their new church didn't look like a church at all. It was old and rickety. The front door was warped from the rain and lack of paint, so it was difficult to open and close. The roof looked wavy along the top, because the building was sinking in some places, and some of the tiles were missing from the roof. Holes in the walls had been patched over with more old boards, and many of the paper windows were torn. And most strange of all, half of the building was painted red!
Father and his little band were not daunted, however. They scrubbed the building from top to bottom. Then they set to work painting a sign that proclaimed who they were: "Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. "
After nailing it in place, they stood back to admire their handiwork. Suddenly, they burst out laughing. The sign was almost as big as the house itself.
"Is this a good place to unite Christianity?" asked Father.
"Absolutely," answered Mr. Eu and Mr. Kim jovially.
They bowed their heads then and thanked Heavenly Father for their church, which later became known by a shorter name: Unification Church. It was May 1, 1954, the day Father's group of disciples became a church.
Their days were busy, indeed. There was no central figure standing over Father, telling him what to do. Although Father could feel God by his side, he didn't wait to be told what to do. He took responsibility to figure out what must be done, and then he did it.
Father followed his regular schedule. Every morning, he rose before the sun and climbed one of Seoul's mountains to pray. For him, prayer was even more important than food.
Mr. Eu worked hard, also. Father wanted him to do all the teaching, so he studied the Divine Principle long hours. He outlined it. He drew diagrams to help explain it. He prayed over it. And soon he was the official teacher. During his lectures, Father sat by his side, and Mr. Eu could feel his support. He knew Father was praying for him all through the lecture. If a guest asked difficult questions, Father would sometimes help Mr. Eu with the answers.
Before long, there were six members living with Father, sharing one room and the three old blankets they owned. They ate from one bowl. In fact, they did almost everything together.
But despite this encouraging beginning, the time came when they couldn't convince anyone else to join. Day after day, no one came to hear about the Divine Principle.
"Hyo Won," said Father one day. "What do you plan to do today?"
"Pray and study and witness," said Mr. Eu.
"Not teach?" asked Father.
"There's no one to teach, Sun Sengnim. "
"Hyo Won," continued Father, "I want you to teach anyway. "
Mr. Eu tried not to show his surprise.
"From now on, I want you to teach every day, even if no one comes," continued Father. "This will make a good condition for people to come. And don't forget--Spirit World is always listening. "
"Yes, Sun Sengnim," promised Mr. Eu. "I will teach. "
Day after day, they prayed and witnessed And day after day, leaning on his cane for support or sitting in a chair, Mr. Eu lectured long hours, pouring his heart out to the thousands of people in Spirit World.
Still, no people came. It became more and more difficult to do anything. It was like trudging through thick mud, with their feet getting heavier and heavier. Everything was indemnity. It was hard to keep going.
"Is it going to be just the seven of us forever?" they wondered "Maybe we're crazy after all."
Father worried about them. Could he keep them from leaving?
"Just don't give up," he urged them. "Hold on. Things will get better--I promise. You can do it." He reminded them, "God loves you very much. He doesn't want you to have to suffer, but you're the only helpers He has right now, so you're the most important people in the world."
Father also sang with them a lot, and soon there was one song they sang over and over that became their favorite:
Jesus walked that lonesome valley;
He had to walk it by himself.
Oh, nobody else could walk it for him;
He had to walk it by himself.
Jesus had to stand his trial;
He had to stand it by himself.
Oh, nobody else could stand it for him;
He had to stand it by himself.
We must go and stand our trials;
We have to stand them by ourselves.
Oh, nobody else can stand them for us;
We have to stand them by ourselves.
They sang it over and over and over--twice, three times, 20 times, 30. Then they felt stronger and more determined.
Then, Father promised them, "By the end of October we will find new members, and they will be very good quality people, too."
Even so, there were many days when they could find nothing more hopeful than his words.
October arrived, and just as Father had promised, new people began coming. The six months of indemnity were paying off at last, and it was easier to feel hope.
Mr. Eu had to lecture longer hours now--all day and into the night. The more he taught, the more he felt the inspiration that Father had always felt, and he continued teaching long after exhaustion should have set in. The days went something like this.
Guests arrived for lectures in the morning. They heard lectures until noon. They took a break for lunch. Then, back they went into the little lecture room to sit on the floor all afternoon, listening to one long lecture. Dinner came and went.
Then Mr. Eu and the others gathered around the guests, bowing and smiling pleasantly. "Please, won't you stay for the evening? There are some interesting things we would like to explain to you now.
Father had learned that, whenever guests went home after only one day, they always got involved with their family problems, and hardly ever returned. So he tried to convince the guests to stay at least three days. Some of them did.
Even though the Korean War was over, there was still a curfew of midnight in Seoul. This means no one was allowed to be outside after that time. Mr. Eu always got so inspired during his lectures, he seemed to forget about time and curfews. Soon it was 11:00; then 11:30. The guests fidgeted nervously, but he just didn't stop lecturing.
Just when he seemed to be ending the lecture, he announced, "Now, I want to introduce you to our honorable teacher, Sun Myung Moon, the one who received this revelation from God."
The young man, who had been sitting silently beside Mr. Eu or in the back of the room, stood up and bowed to them. All day the guests had seen this young man in the simple clothes, and they thought he was just one of the members. Since Mr. Eu was doing the teaching and seemed to know all the answers, and since he looked somewhat older and was sometimes sitting in a kingly-looking chair, they assumed HE was the leader.
Once they got over their surprise, however, they were happy to meet this mysterious young man named Moon. As soon as Father began speaking to them, they could feel his power and his love, and they wondered why they hadn't known before who he was. They felt as if they never wanted to leave.
Father liked to ask his disciples to sing for the guests. Some of them had voices that were not exactly soothing, but then they sang with such love, it was as if God Himself was singing. The guests felt something beautiful stirring in their hearts.
Soon, it was well after midnight. "Oh, I'm so sorry I kept you too long," Father apologized. "Is it too late to go home?"
They nodded their heads, not knowing what to do, and not really wanting to leave.
"Well, then, won't you please stay here for the night?" he asked. They had no choice but to accept his invitation. If they went home after midnight, they would be arrested for breaking curfew.
They all slept on the floor. Whenever there were only a few people spending the night, there were enough quilts to go around. But when many people stayed, the quilts couldn't reach over all of them, and they had to depend on their body heat to keep them warm.
Next morning, basins of cold water were brought for washing their faces. Then, after a simple breakfast, someone would say, "Please stay for another lecture--OK?"
"Well, I've stayed one day and night already," they reasoned to themselves. "I guess another lecture won't make much difference. But I wonder why I don't even want to leave. " It felt like a loving blanket had been tucked around them.
After another day of lectures, the same routine happened. Listen to Moon Son Sengnim. Eat some rice and kimchee. Sing some songs. Share some thoughts. Curfew. Too late to go home. Alright, sleep under the quilts.
The third day--the same thing. Mr. Eu lectured all day. By evening, the last lecture came to an end. When the guests stood up to go, the family members brought out special cakes and cookies. Well, they couldn't refuse those now, could they?
The feeling in the air was like heaven. They gazed around the room as they ate the little cakes, wondering why they felt as if they might float away. Love filled the air; it filled their hearts. They couldn't explain it, exactly; they just knew they felt something very good.
At home that night, they were soon brought down to earth by the familiar problems of work and family life. Still, even after several days, they couldn't forget Teacher Moon. They began plotting how they could return.
In the days ahead, Father pushed himself to do more and more. Just when he thought he couldn't move another inch, he moved another mile. He always felt desperate to find more members and to keep the members he already had.
Father prayed for the members day and night. He spent many hours with them, teaching them all he knew. He forgot about himself. Whenever someone brought food to him, he might eat it absent-mindedly or he might not get around to it. Many days, he forgot to eat anything at all--one day, two days, three days. He didn't really plan to fast; he just forgot to eat.
Sometimes, he took everyone up on a mountain to pray. They prayed in unison for a long time, their voices growing louder and louder, their bodies shaking and swaying in the cold wind. Sometimes, their words joined together into one voice. It seemed as if they were saying the same thing, all together, in the same rhythm. They felt as if they might float up into the air, and they forgot the coldness of the wind.
While praying, some of them opened their eyes a moment, and they noticed Father gazing off into space with a sort of far away look, his eyes shining as if he were seeing a vision. They looked up into the sky, too; but they saw only clouds. One woman was spiritually open, however; and she saw Jesus come down on a cloud and talk to Father. Bright lights were everywhere--around Jesus, around Father, around the people. It was dazzling.
Father became very tired. After weeks of keeping this kind of schedule, he reached a state of exhaustion. His eyes became red and scratchy from lack of sleep; and at times, he couldn't even open his eyes fully in the sunlight. He felt like closing them and sleeping for at least a year. His bones ached; his muscles ached. He even had a problem with his nose bleeding, because he was so worn out. His throat hurt from talking so much, and he got canker sores in his mouth and on his tongue. When he talked, it felt like fire.
Some of the people noticed this and wept for him. "Please, get some rest, Master," they begged. "You don't have to talk to us tonight." They wished they could somehow make it easier for him. Father appreciated their love, but he still felt the weight of the world on his shoulders and he could not rest.
This was the beginning of Unification Church in Seoul, Korea. But a time of difficulty was just around the corner.
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