The Words of Young Oon Kim

Leader's Visit to the Holy Land

Young Oon Kim
September 16, 1965
New Age Frontiers - October 1965

My dear Family:

My physical environment changes from day to day, but wherever I am I feel so close to each one of you in the Father.

On August 28, we arrived in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Major Mudaber, who had encountered our message while in Washington DC, returned to his country in early August. He has friends who are Masons and some in the Arcane School, and has briefly introduced the Divine Principle to them. Five of them, with Major Mudaber's family, came to the airport and received our Leader and his party. It was a great joy to see him again.

The next day, Major Mudaber took us by car to Mount Nebo. Moses stood on top of this mountain and looked over the Promised Land, but was not allowed to enter. An American archaeologist from Venezuela is now working to find Moses' tomb in that area. Our Leader blessed the mountain at 4:20 pm.

Right behind the mountain is a huge valley called Satan's Valley. Many tombs have been found in caves there. The archaeologist guesses that many Egyptians and Israelites who had died in wars were buried in the valley.

We had crossed the Sahara Desert to come to Jordan. There is a little green here and there, but on the whole Jordan is a desert country, too.

On August 30, Major Mudaber took us to the River Jordan and the area where Jesus is supposed to have been baptized. The Leader washed his hands and face there, I guess to feel the water which our beloved Jesus had touched. The water is very much decreased; today it is shallow and muddy, and the river is very narrow. A Jordanian said to us, "Poor Jesus! He was baptized in this muddy water!

Then we went to the Mount of Temptation on which a Greek Orthodox monastery was built about 150 years ago. At present five monks are living there. It is quite high, but there are about 50 rooms in the monastery. There is a cave in which Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days, they say. The cave is in the monastery. There is also a huge stone nearby which Satan tempted Jesus to turn into bread. At the foot of this mountain is Jericho. The ruins of the fort of Jericho, which had been buried by an earthquake, have now been excavated by archaeologists from Cambridge and a Dutch university.

Then we went to the Dead Sea. Once upon a time, the Dead Sea was connected with the Red Sea and the water wasn't too salty. Later, land came up and the Dead Sea was cut off from the Red Sea. The water has been decreasing and has become very salty. Fish cannot live in it, so literally there is no life in the Dead Sea. Some men were swimming when we were there. They say that anyone can swim in it because it is so easy to float.

Jericho is a small place with banana and date palm trees which make the area green. But a large part of the Promised Land is desert. We said to one another, "Is this the land where milk and honey flowed? Why did God bless this barren land?"

On August 31 we went to Jerusalem. From Amman to Jerusalem there is a beautiful paved highway. If we had gone straight, we would have taken on hour and a half. But we went through Samaria where the Samaritans are still following old traditions. We went up Mt. Gerizim by car. On the top are the ruins of a temple in which the ancient Samaritans worshiped God. Our Leader blessed ground here at 10:30 am. Then we went down to Jacob's Well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman.

The well is now inside an Armenian church in front of the altar" The paved highway runs in the middle of the desert" It is extremely hot in all these areas -- just like Cairo. I was struck to see the ancient wall of Jerusalem, which Jesus must also have seen.

We went into the city through the gate Jesus entered on an ass and visited St. Anna's tomb, now kept in a church. Then we went to the site of the Temple of Jerusalem which was completely destroyed. On this site a grand mosque is built. There is no altar, no statue, no icon, no painting, but a huge limestone as big as the Martin's (Oakland Center) two living rooms together! This stone is laid at the center of the huge mosque. They say it was brought from Mt. Moriah and is the one on which Abraham offered Isaac.

As in many other mosques, the inside and ceiling of this one is made with beautiful mosaics. Some Moslems were praying individually and some were just resting there. There is a large open yard around the mosque. Around the yard are numerous small shops which sell souvenirs. These shops are several centuries old if not 2000 years old. On one side of Jerusalem the shops make a big market. The men in the shops bid you "Welcome" and entice you to buy souvenirs.

We, visited Pilate's court where Jesus was beaten, the prison where he was kept before the crucifixion and the road and two Stations where he walked and stopped bearing his cross. There are only signs numbered I, II, III, etc., to mark these spots. We went through the market place mentioned above; then preceded to Calvary which is also under the altar of the Greek Orthodox Church, as are all other holy places.

"Helena Christine -- mother the Emperor Constantine -- erected this church in the fourth century. In it a piece of marble, table-size; on which the body of Jesus was washed and embalmed after it was taken down from the cross. There is a chapel in the church in which a marble coffin is kept. A priest stands by it. This is the holy sepulcher of Jesus. Some Moslems and Christians came and kissed the coffin. All these are inside the wall of Jerusalem and. outside the yard of the mosque, so you can imagine how small the area is. Strictly speaking, inside the wall is old Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem itself is a much larger area.

Calvary is on the south side of Jerusalem and Gesthemane is on the north side. We went to Gesthemane at sunset. A rock is kept in a Roman Catholic Church there which they say is the one on which Jesus prayed. It is called the Rock of Agony. An Armenian Church and a Greek church are also built by the side of Gesthemane. There are a few old olive trees in the yard of the Catholic church which they say are 2000 years old. They are still alive and bear fruit. These are the trees that witnessed the agony of Jesus. Behind the church was a space with olive trees. Our Leader blessed ground there at 6 pm.

Each holy place is occupied by one, two or three churches which are built right on the holy place, so one loses sight of the original natural features of the scenes. Yet it is quite touching to visit these places. Our Leader and all of us burst into tears as he prayed on Calvary and Gesthemane. Thus our one-day pilgrimage to Jerusalem was over, and we returned very late to Major Mudaber's house.

On September 1st, we went back to Jerusalem and visited Bethany and Lazarus' tomb. Bethany is the village just before you enter the city of Jerusalem from Amman. Amman is northeast of Samaria. Then we went on to Bethlehem, 20 miles away on the opposite side of Jerusalem. The road winds around the hills and it took a whole hour by car. Again three churches: Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian, are built side by side. One of them contains two pieces of marble, one commemorating Jesus' birthplace and the other the stable. There are three stairs from which the three wise men worshiped the baby Jesus. Apart from the accuracy of the location, one cannot help feeling touched to stand in these places.

The next place we visited was Hebron where we saw the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel, and Joseph. All of them are kept in a mosque. We were not allowed to pray there. However, we found in Hebron an old oak tree, 5000 years old, where Abraham camped. This place is occupied by an Armenian convent. Our Leader blessed the ground in the yard of the convent at 4:10 pm. This was the fourth Holy Ground in Jordan. On the way back we visited Solomon's pools which are huge pools built for swimming. The water was dried up in two of them, and only one pool had water. The previous day we had visited Solomon's stables where 3000 horses were kept. This is an underground stable near the mosque in Jerusalem. There is no trace of Solomon's Temple except this stable which was probably preserved because it was underground.

On September 2nd we visited the ruins of ancient Roman cities, walls, forts and stadiums.

On September 3rd we went to Syria by car and stayed in Damascus, the capital. No one knew the place where St Paul encountered Jesus on the way to Damascus, but two holy places are kept by churches. One is the house from which Paul escaped in a basket from a window when the Jews sought him. The other is Ananias' house where Paul's eyes were opened with Ananias' prayer.

Syria is a Moslem country, and we had a most difficult time finding a place to bless.. Major Mudaber's friend who went with us would not let us pray where the fanatic Moslems were around.. Finally we chose a ground in the desert outskirts of Damascus at 8:40 pm.. Our Leader said, "St. Paul would have cried," because no piece of land was given to him to bless except that desert outskirt of the city.

On September 4th we went to Lebanon by car and stayed in Beirut, the capital. Lebanon is the most beautiful country in the whole Holy Land because of its green and hills. Cedars of Lebanon are only pine trees which bear nuts. We stayed at the Cedarland Hotel, Beirut is just like any European city. It is also a port. Our Leader blessed a place on the beach facing the Mediterranean at 7:30 am. We went swimming in the Mediterranean that afternoon. It is unbearably hot in all these countries. Solomon came to Lebanon, saw the cedar trees and told his people to use them to build his temple. Since then, the Cedars of Lebanon have become famous. You don't see cedars in Jordan or Syria, but olive trees, fig trees, and vines are all over.

From Beirut we went to Iran. I will continue this report in my next letter. Before I close I will tell you one more thing. The Arabs and Israelites are still fighting over the Holy Land. Parts of Jerusalem, such as Mt. Zion, Nazareth and Galilee are in Israel which we were unable to visit. Both the Arabs and Israel claim Jerusalem.

We are all well. Thank you for your prayers. With all my love.

P.S.: We got safely out of India on the 14th. This letter is mailed on the 16th from Singapore. 

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