The Words The Kwak Family

My Testimony

Chung Hwan Kwak
January 1987
Translated from Jeung On, Volume 1 (Testimonies of the 36 Couples)

The Kwak family. Left to right: Jin Man, Sung Sook, Rev. Kwak, Mi Sook, Mrs. Kwak, Jun Sook, Shin Sook, and Jin Hyo.

I joined the Unification Church on October 23, 1958. My spiritual mother was Soon Ryul Rah, one of the 36 Blessed Couples. Unfortunately, she has already gone to the spirit world, but her way of life has remained a model for others.

I have no words to express how joyful I was when I first heard the Principle, because my questions about the spirit world and life after death had never been fully answered by the doctrines of the existing religions. Hearing that God and the spirit world not only existed but were accessible to me if I met the appropriate conditions, I prayed to see clear evidence. Although my prayer did not have too much depth and was poor in form, God answered it by letting me experience a tremendous spiritual fire. Chastising my skepticism, God was saying to me, "Taste the spiritual power that exists." The fire, which seemed bigger and hotter than the sun, suddenly thrust itself into my chest and overwhelmed me. I still vividly remember my prayer of repentance at that time. My conviction about the existence of the spirit world as a realm beyond the reach of reason and scientific theory enabled me to completely change my viewpoint about life.

In 1959 Rev. Kwak built the first church in Pyungtaek out of mud blocks.

Then my life in the church began, giving me hope and joy to the depths of my heart. Singing again and again the song, "My Offering," I cried. I dreamed that a group of people centering on Jesus were walking away weeping, while another group of people in white clothes passed by, laughing and glorifying God, centering on a person with a clear face. I could not understand what this meant, but later I understood that this was a summary of the entire course of the providence. Especially important was that through this dream God allowed me to see Father before I met him. wanted to be a lecturer.

From the first time I listened to the Principle, I began to read the Principle book straight through just as I would any other book. While listening to the young lecturers at the local church, I said to myself, "Why do they need to open the book so often while lecturing this great Principle? I will become a lecturer myself!" That was a strong determination for such a new member, but later I understood that this feeling was something like a revelation. Later events showed me that this was truly God's predetermination and guidance for my life.

The late President Eu with Korean regional directors in 1967. Rev. Kwak is second from left.

When I had been in the church for two months I was called to participate in the first workshop for witnessers. This historic workshop was the one at which the outline of the Principle lectures was made. Our lecturers were the late President Eu, Rev. Chang Sung Ahn, and Father himself, who was present for the entire 40 days. Father directed us in the details of the Principle and continuously gave us internal guidance.

Since I had already read the Principle book, I easily passed the examination. When the workshop was about to end, we were instructed to write down our desire for a mission, and I wrote, "I want to assist someone who goes out to pioneer:' I could not imagine being appointed a local church leader. However, it turned out that Father asked me to be the leader of the Pyungtaek church.

In Pyungtaek there weren't many members, but all of them had joined the church before I did. How could I give sermons or teach them? However, I found that the Principle and Father's words were the two most important resources I had with which I could direct the members and witness to people. I tried to keep a copy of Wol-li Hae-sul (Explanation of the Principle) with me wherever I went, and I would read it again and again.

At the Holy Blessing of the 36 Couples in 1961, Rev. and Mrs. Kwak pose with True Parents.

When I was serving in Pyungtaek, I really envied the leaders at headquarters. I was sorry that I could not have joined the church earlier. Because of my repentful attitude, the spirit world always helped me. Almost every night I had dreams. Paul and Peter each appeared to me three times and said to me, "You are Paul," and "You are Peter."

During a 21-day fast I had many spiritual experiences. One day, in a vision, I saw the earth from far out in space, and I easily took dominion over it. In another vision, I saw all the people as young trees, and one of them was smiling as True Parents watered them. This showed me that True Parents are the source of human life.

Father came to visit me seven times while I was in Pyungtaek, and I was always so happy when he came. One time when he came I was making bricks from mud for the church building, and I couldn't change my dirty clothes. He talked to all the members but he especially focused on me. I volunteered to attend another workshop because I was worried that my attitude toward Father during that first workshop had been less than appropriate. But even after attending the second one, my standard of heart was not so very different. I am still ashamed of this.

Rev. and Mrs. Kwak, along with the other 36 Couples, received ocean training from Father right after their Blessing. This photo shows them near Inchon in 1961.

A Tremendous Opportunity

After 15 months my mission changed and I was asked to go to Masan. Before leaving, I went to see Father and say good-bye. Father asked me to give a lecture that evening for evening service. Trembling, I presented a lecture on "Resurrection," the first lecture I ever gave in front of Father. After the service was over, Father told President Eu, "Don't send Chung Hwan to Masan -- let him serve as a lecturer here at headquarters."

This was a tremendous opportunity for me to attend, experience, and learn from Father. I lectured for workshops, revival meetings, and special occasions, and I was very happy. President Eu showed me the correct standard for lecturing. I will never forget his special personal guidance.

Where could I find a better mission than being a Principle lecturer! Because of the joy I received in spreading the word and giving life to those who had none, and also because I could study the Principle and meditate on it, I became closer in heart to the master of the Principle. Whenever I discovered deeper and more precious parts of the Principle, joy renewed my life again and again. The vitality I gained through my increasing realization of the truth -- not only by reading the Principle book but also by studying Father's words -- gave me hope. I felt that the more my excitement and understanding of the Principle grew, the more my insight and sense of judgment developed.

The Principle is literally the fundamental law. Had I not been a lecturer, I'm sure I would have suffered from many satanic tests, so I am always grateful that I had the chance to be a lecturer. While I am thinking about the Principle and lecturing, how can Satan take advantage of me? I have been given many responsibilities and may be given many more in the future, but one mission that I would like to keep to the end of my life is being a Principle lecturer.

Rev. and Mrs. Kwak with True Parents in the Nae Chang Mountains, southern Korea, in 1968.

My Response to Father

Around the end of 1959 Father came and asked me, "Would you like to work abroad?" I replied, "The established Christian churches here are still so much opposed to us, and our foundation is still so weak. Isn't it more important to work in Korea now?" My response was so different from what Father wanted that he did not mention it again. Later I realized that my reply had been ridiculous. Fully knowing the whole situation of the world, the master of the providence had had an important plan for me. How dare I speak as if I knew the situation of the established churches and our foundation in Korea!

I should have said, "What kind of opinion can I have? I will go wherever you want me to go" I do not know where Father intended to send me. I could never ask Father about it, because I feel ashamed of my response. What would have happened if I had gone abroad as a missionary at that time? (I am not comparing it with today's situation.) Very often we make mistakes. After I realized my mistake, I determined never to make such a blunder again. I am still trying to not have any opinion about my mission or career. To obey Heaven's need is by far more precious and safer than following my personal desires. I have no doubts, because I am sure that God and Father love and know me very well. Since that time, I have never tried to tell Father what kind of mission I would like; I have only tried to follow his will. Even though I haven't made any requests, I recognize that I have somehow always been in the mainstream of the providence.

Though I couldn't truly understand the deep heart of Heaven at that time, one day Father said to me, "Pioneering and struggling are a momentary process, but the ideal of the family is the eternal harmony of life." He chose Jung Eun Yoon to be my eternal partner. As time has passed, we have come to understand why we were matched together, and we have become more and more grateful to be able to experience the harmony of love. Heaven has given us four daughters and two sons as the fruits of our Blessing, all of whom are growing and proudly revering God and True Parents.

How can I explain the troubles my family endured during those early years of pioneering? We received severe persecution from people who misunderstood us, and we also suffered tremendous economic difficulties. When I was single I could fast if there was no food, and I could wear anything. If I kept a heart of faith and loyalty I could overcome any hard- ship. But the way of family life is different. We gained the fruit of our efforts to put God first only after overcoming heartbreaking pain. Even a lengthy book would not be able to relate all these experiences. Knowing that Heaven has loved my family so much allows me to go forward today. Also, I am grateful to know that suffering is small while grace is great.

Rev. Kwak with African children.

Vivid Memories

After growing a lot through attending Father at headquarters, I was appointed the regional leader of Kyungbook and worked there for seven years. At that time Father was focusing on training the regional leaders. I worked joyfully and had many kinds of precious experiences. Because Taegu, the city where my regional headquarters was located, was said to be the foremost city of faith in South Korea, we faced strong opposition and persecution. Despite this, we held many Principle seminars and revival meetings. Our prayer condition, which since the early 1950s had been kept up by the older women of the church, was a precious foundation for our work.

I still have many vivid memories of that time: special meetings with the other district leaders, climbing Moon-kyungsaeje and having a workshop there, buying the headquarters building, developing CARP, blessing the holy grounds around the region, publishing the regional magazine Gisoo, and so on. I also cannot forget dis- covering Father's deep character when he came to hunt in the Kyung- book region. I remember how much he encouraged all the members to work hard.

In accordance with Father's direction I also studied VOC theory. We contacted local authorities and, despite persecution, pioneered our anti- communist movement in the country- side. I recall many moving experiences we had in the process of developing the Kyungbook branch of IFVOC. (I could not help crying for joy when I returned by taxi from the Kyungbook police station after having obtained a permit to give VOC lectures. It had been a long and difficult bureaucratic process.) There was no school, no army camp, and no public agency where we did not hold lectures. Later, on this foundation, we started a students' medical team to serve the farming and fishing villages. We received many donations, such as vehicles, medicines, and manpower. I continued this activity for two and a half years.

Then I was transferred again to national headquarters and appointed chief itinerary worker for Korea. I traveled throughout Kyunggi-do and Kangwon-do, and for a short period I was responsible for the Seoul region and led revival meetings at many schools in Seoul.

Rev. Kwak receives a gift from the president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, in 1983.

Organizing PWPA

Meanwhile, I began to put on a succession of Principle seminars for professors. On this foundation, Father wanted me to organize the Professors' World Peace Academy (PWPA), and he told me about his ideas for it. It was not easy for me to supervise those professors, who I felt were so far above me. As the organizational meetings proceeded, I experienced a lot of difficulty in relating to them. Finally I was faced with the realization that the secretary-general of PWPA had to be a professor. This presented a problem, because at that time there was no member of our church who was also a professor.

To help us solve this dilemma, God performed a miracle. A college dean named Sang Geun Yu, who had been impressed with my lectures at the Principle seminars for professors, called me and invited me to become an instructor for his students. The next day I visited him, and after giving my thanks I told him that I was not qualified to teach college students. But he said, "After listening to you, I think your lectures are necessary for my students." This is how I came to teach at Myungji University, which I did for about three years. It is very difficult even for a qualified person to become a college professor, because of the intense competition. I am sure this was made possible only by God, because I had no external qualifications. I even finished my graduate work while I was teaching undergraduates.

So, in accordance with Heaven's need, I became a professor. Without difficulty, I could take the position of secretary-general of PWPA. We have since established PWPA in about 70 nations, but my most endearing memories of PWPA are of those early days.

I learned a lot from those PWPA professors and eventually came to have a very deep relationship with many of them.

After I accompanied the Korean professors to ICUS IV in November 1975, Father unexpectedly asked me to come back again to America. After taking care of some details in Korea, I came to America again in July 1976.

My activities in America started with the II Hwa Ginseng Tea Company and the Korean Evangelical Association. And in accordance with Father's desire, I wrote Outline of the Principle: Level 4 to use for witnessing and the education of members the world. Focusing on erecting church traditions, I became responsible for developing the content of education for members as well as a system of Principle examinations. I oversaw the production of Principle lecture videotapes and worked on graphic designs for a Principle slide show.

In August 1986, Rev. Kwak meets with Cardinal Sin of the Philippines (to his right) in connection with the Religious Youth Service.

Many Difficulties Faced Me

After trying to use translators at first, I determined to speak without a translator, even though I did not know enough English. My first English sermons involved lots of motions with my hands and feet and lots of drawing on the board. I have no time for studying English. I am training myself in everyday life, even though I am sometimes laughed at. Since I am so poor at English, I am always sorry before Heaven. I know God has always wanted to give me greater missions.

Sometimes I wondered whether it was that Satan was jealous of me or that Heaven wanted me to focus only on the way of the Will, but visa problems kept my family separated from me for about five years, until they could finally move to America in April 1981. I myself faced many complications in my immigration status because I was a close disciple of Father. Beyond not seeing my family, I had other difficulties. Think, for example, of a World Missions Director who could not go abroad to see the situation in each country firsthand! Without this experience I would never have realized how wonderful it is to be free to go abroad.

While I was still separated from my family, I received shocking news. I was presiding at a missionaries' conference in Lima, Peru, on September 19, 1979, when I got a message that my wife was unconscious and in the hospital. Since the conference was my first since my visa problem had been solved, I could not stop the meeting. I told no one about my wife until the conference was over.

Leaving Peru by airplane, I began to pray. A myriad of memories and feelings came and went in my mind. The trip to Seoul via Los Angeles was a long one for me. I asked myself, "Why did this happen? Was it some mistake she made? No, her faith was stronger than mine. Then, was it my fault or because of my family background? Or was it a national or global indemnity condition?" Even though I could not know, there must have been a providential reason. I repented, leaving everything up to God. With these thoughts in mind, I arrived in Korea.

When I entered the intensive care ward, I saw that rubber tubes had been put into her mouth and nostrils and that another tube was put into an incision in her throat. In both her arms and legs were needles for blood transfusions. Her whole body was blue, and her breathing was irregular. All this was a great shock to me, but I regained control of myself.

Confronted by the fact that even modern medical science might be helpless in trying to prevent her death, I felt in my bones the limit of human achievement. Even after the doctor said that he could guarantee nothing, I did not give up my belief in God. For 12 days she was completely unconscious, going back and forth across the borderline of death. I felt as if I were standing in front of coal-black darkness. I had to try not to lose my standard before Heaven. Since I was sure that God had loved my family very much, I had difficulty in finding what to pray for in such a situation. I felt how hard it was for a public figure to pray for a private matter.

Rev. Kwak stands on mainland China. Across the river is North Korea.

Living Witness To God's Grace

What joy and gratitude I felt when, early in the morning of October 1, my wife opened her eyes and looked at me! But the doctor warned us that our worries were not over. It was two weeks before she could speak, and 47 days until she could leave the intensive care ward and then later go home. I am grateful with tears to

God simply for the fact that I am writing this testimony with my wife, who is alive. The support and encouragement of my brothers and sisters were a great solace for me. On the foundation of members' prayers, God's power brought her back from death. Nobody who knew her situation could deny the intervention of God. Even the doctor in charge said that it was God who saved her life. Many felt her recovery was "a living miracle of the 20th century:' Again and again Father said, "Having pity on Chung Hwan, God saved Jung Eun's life I became a living witness who had received the grace of God.

Since July 5, 1977, I have been the director of the World Mission Department. Most years I travel the equivalent of seven times around the world in order to visit many countries, and I learn a great deal from the missionaries and members in the field. I thank God for protecting my health, since I must eat all kinds of food and sleep in unusual environments, sometimes experiencing completely different climates in a single day.

The unique characteristic of our church's missionary activity is that missionaries from America, Germany and Japan live and work together. There has never been anything like it in the history of Christianity. It is God's desire that representatives of countries that once were enemies should become embodiments of the Principle ideal of harmony even while facing the extreme hardships of pioneering. Many of our brothers and sisters have been deported from their mission countries, thrown into prison, or even martyred. Missionaries in some Muslim and communist countries today are risking their lives by doing underground witnessing.

For a long time I have not prayed for mercy from God; I only hope to see the day when Heavenly Father and True Parents will say to me, "You are my loving son." It is my lifelong desire to hear this one sentence -- even if just before I go to the spirit world. Heavenly Father, please let me live within the realm of your heart! 

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