The Words of the Cotter Family
Report from Gaebong
February 12, 2003
Here is my report from Gaebong, which is a part of Guro Region in Seoul. Gaebong is a poor, industrial area of Seoul, consisting of 7-8 districts. The church leader, Rev. Chun and his wife, are from the countryside and are a very heartistic, loving couple. The church members are like one family and we were very warmly welcomed at the Sunday service.
Immediately after service, we went witnessing for the next day's banquet program. Each day there are 1 or 2 programs in the surrounding districts, so we witness in those areas the day before. The members are working very hard to bring their contacts and new guests to these programs, centering on the unification of Korea.
Sunday evening was our first banquet, for Gaebong 2 dong (this is the district my wife and I are responsible for). About 100 people attended, and over half were guests. There were several community leaders, who were introduced. Our local minister gave an inspiring speech about Korean unification, and there was a Hoon Dok Hae reading and a reading from the spirit world.
The Japanese and American members sang 3 songs (Korean, Japanese and American), which really moved the audience. I was able to give a personal testimony of my own transformation through meeting True Parents, and to testify to their incredible work to save America. My wife was translating, and I explained that True Parents had blessed us in marriage, and that I was eternally grateful to them for my wife and family. They were very inspired to see a Korean-American couple blessed by Rev. Moon.
I told them that because True Parents had sacrificed so much for America, that I now was dedicating myself and my family to bring unification in Korea, and that there were thousands across Korea that were pledging the same thing. Many members and guests were in tears. I realized that what we are doing is giving our church members here great hope, as well as the guests.
At our banquet the next day, we had a similar experience. After the testimony, our minister's wife came to us in tears, expressing her gratitude on behalf of all the members. I feel that these brothers and sisters have worked hard and sacrificed so much, while True Parents have been focusing on America. Now we can really heal their hearts by testifying to True Parents' work in America, and by committing ourselves to work together with them to save Korea.
During the day, we have witnessed to and visited many senior citizens organizations, to invite them to the programs. We have been warmly welcomed by them, and their spirits brighten when they learn that we are here to support the peaceful unification of Korea.
On Tuesday, we met with the leader (hwejang) of one senior's group in Gaebong. He is 75 years old. As soon as we explained that we were here from America to support the peaceful reunification of Korea, he grabbed hold of my hand and wouldn't let go. He told me tearfully how grateful he was to meet someone from America who wanted to help his country unite.
He said he had grown up in what is now North Korea, and had been baptized at the age of 7 by an American minister (Baptist). He was a teacher, but when the communists came to the North, he had to leave school and retreat to the south, leaving his family. He thought he would only be gone for a week, but instead, it has been 50 years! He never saw them again. In his eyes and in his voice, you could feel the suffering of all those years, and the hope that maybe these Americans could do something to help.
He explained that he was shot in the leg, while climbing over a mountain, and that the person next to him was killed by a bullet. He wants more than anything to see his homeland united before he dies. This is his dream. We shed tears together as he held my hand, and I felt that it was God's and True Parents' own heart that was being expressed through him.
Through those tears we became one, and I felt more than ever before God's desperate longing to bring His children in Korea together. We took a picture together and he signed our membership form, promising to come to the banquet.
In the Way of Unification, Father said that Westerners and Easterners are moved to tears by the same things. That is certainly true. In the short time we have here, perhaps the best thing to do is to shed tears together and make a strong foundation for our further work to bring unification.
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