The Words of the Oh Family
Yeong Choon Oh
Sung Jin nim's mother, Sun Gil Choi, had had another outburst. She was angry because so many women would come to her happy family home, stay there, sing hymns and have services day and night. To her, they were just destroying her home. For some time, members had been able to meet again and hold services, but Mrs. Choi resumed her eruptions. While we were having service, she burst in, threw garbage in the room and caused great havoc.' We understood the reasons for her outbursts and anger, but this being heaven's work and Father's mission, no one should be allowed to interfere with it; we had no other choice but to overcome this test.
After much thought, we only wanted to make Father comfortable and thus decided to quietly find a room and put a halt to services. No one other than Pastor Lee and Mrs. Sae Hyeon Ok were allowed to go there. Being in charge of running errands and doing odd jobs, I quietly did my duty.
Mr. Won Pil Kim worked on a United States army base and was put in charge of attending Sung Jin nim and his mother. I took responsibility to buy True Father's necessities, such as clothes and groceries. His pants came from bleaching the khaki uniform slacks worn by U.S. soldiers. I altered the socks that the soldiers wore for Father, as well. They were too big so I had to cut some part out, undo a few parts, and then attach them. When I presented them to Father, he would smile and put them on. He said they were as good as new. I sometimes made long johns for him too.
Whether my task was big or small, my heart was always joyful and filled with gratitude. This had to be heaven because I was simply happy, even when I did difficult or arduous chores. Those were times when everyone was seeking refuge and households were in bad financial straits. For me, it was just a continuity of a joyful life. At times, listening to this young man speak great truths would profoundly touch me, so my heart was with Father even when I tried to sleep in my own home. There were times when I would see Father twice or three times a day; even when he did not speak at all, I felt as if I were living in the kingdom of heaven. I realized I would never see or feel the likes of such an experience on earth ever again. A shabby but and poverty were not a problem at all. My heart was always in the shabby but situated on the ridge of the Sujeong District where Father was. Everything in life just seemed joyful.
One day, I was a bit late because I had some business to take care of at home; I bought some side dishes and hurried on my way, running all the way up until I was out of breath. I was quite shocked to see what was awaiting me. Everything in the room, including the Bible Father cherished most, was completely torn and lying on the floor in heaps. I went into the kitchen and saw a lump of rice that had swollen from soaking up water and a caldron broken in half was rolling around. She had flung all the bowls down the hill.
I tried to calm my pumping heart, sighing in realization that it had happened again. I went to the landlady to ask what had occurred. She replied, "It was his wife; I heard her. She came yesterday evening with the police and pulled down everything." I helplessly sat on the floor and sighed. Nothing could be done about it. Even tears did not come. After sitting like that for some time, I saw Sook Hwi ploddingly coming up the hill, looking exhausted.
I was so glad to see her that I ran down to her and asked where Father was. According to Sook Hwi, Mrs. Choi promised not to repeat what she had done and was sleeping in Bukseo. Father had gone out to get some fresh air. I was a bit relieved but my heart was not at ease.
I went home to Yeong-do after sunset, but I could not sleep that night at all. I stayed up the whole night and rushed to the Sujeong District early in the morning. I wanted to know what had happened exactly.
When I arrived, Mrs. Choi was cooking breakfast in the kitchen. She had decided to remain together with Father.
Won Pil worked on the U.S. army base during the day and drew pictures at night. He drew magnified portraits of U.S. soldiers' wives based on photographs the soldiers had given him. I personally saw them draw up to thirteen pictures in one night. True Father would help him, and they would both stay up the whole night. They basically had given up sleeping.
When Won Pil did not have many orders for portraits, they were able to get some sleep; but they truly worked hard. A few months passed. The house was too small and they could not hold services there. With the money that had been saved through this hard work, they bought a house with three rooms for 3,500,000 Won. Father was finally able to move out of the hut on top of the hill in the Sujeong District and into the new house. On Sundays, the house was used as a church and the number of members started increasing by the score. Many spiritual experiences took place around that time.
I always ran about so frantically that Pastor Lee gave me the nickname "motorcycle." That summer, I experienced something astonishing. Whenever it rained, I would not pay any heed to it, I'd just go out. The moment I went out it stopped raining. I had only one set of clothes and had to wash it every night. However, not once was I caught in the rain. Even though I did not have an umbrella, I never got wet. Rain would be showering down outside, but once I got out of the house, large cumulus clouds could be seen floating in the sky but no rain fell. As soon as I returned through the church gates, it would start pouring down again.
When Mrs. Choi used to have outbursts and pull down everything, Father never once held a grudge over the lost belongings. However, when he lost the Bible he had cherished, which he had underlined in red repeatedly, he was so tormented by the loss of it that he told me to buy exactly the same Bible. I was not confident that I could, but I obediently said yes. I spent the whole day at the international market in Busan in search of the exact same Bible but could not find it. I ended up spending three days looking for its duplicate. Finally, I entered a second-hand bookstore and completely rummaged the place. With heaven's help, I found the exact same Bible, but a battered one. I was so overjoyed that with the Bible in my hand I walked faster than ever before and presented it to Father. It was around this time that I started feeling that another bride would be prepared because Mrs. Sun Gil Choi was not obedient to True Father. I started praying for a person prepared by Heaven, a person with a beautiful face and heart, a tall person.... Apart from when sleeping, this prayer never left my heart for seven years, even while I walking or taking a train.
What had been a central shopping district in Seoul in 1954 riot long after Father made a first attempt to set up a church in the capital city
On September 17, 1953, Father moved to Seoul with Chung Hwa Pak to begin developing a foundation there. I went to Seoul with other members in October and looked for the remaining of my burnt house. The members that had moved to Seoul first were Sun Cheol, Soon Shil and Soon Hwa, all of whom I had brought into the church. My first priority though was to meet Father. Sun Cheol could not carry out activities because of her husband; the remaining two were stills students. I was the only one who was free.
When I arrived in Seoul, the ravages of the war were present everywhere. When I looked for my home, I found a stranger already living there. However, since I had a clear purpose, I had to first look for Father and could not afford to think of the house.
Sun Cheol's husband was the director that managed assets left behind by Japanese that had been repatriated during those days. It was not difficult to find her house. My house was in the Hu-am District and her house was a large house over the hill in the Jangchung District.
It was quite easy to learn where Father was once I met Sun Cheol. Father welcomed me and asked when I had moved to Seoul. I was looking for ways I could make Father's life more comfortable, but we were not in a good financial state and we did not have any members. Father had come to Seoul with Chung Hwa Pak and sometimes had to move from one lodging house to another.
I deeply regretted this. No matter how devastated Seoul was, I lamented the fact that it had many houses but none for Father to stay in. One day, I decided to visit Sun Cheol quite early in the day to discuss this. Before I could even say a few words, her husband rushed at me, dragged me to their living room and pointed a gun at my neck. He ordered me to tell him where Rev. Moon was. My heart remained composed. I was ready to die. I said, "Shoot me if I am guilty of a crime. I do not know where he is." On hearing that, he lunged toward me, spewing all types of profane language.
I did not say a word. Soon after, his driver rushed in and took away the gun. "What the heck are you doing, director?" he asked.
The director had schemed with a young housemaid, instructing her to call him when Deaconess Oh came to the house. Once signaled, he came rushing in. That was not all. He made me ride in his car to my house, where he wrote down the address. He then ordered me to show him the way to Soon Shil's house. Soon Shil suffered greatly as a result and had to withdraw from the church.
Cells in Seodaemun Prison, where Father and four early members were held while awaiting trial and during their trial
I could not even think of taking a trolley. With my two fists clenched tight, I rushed to the place in front of City Hall that Father was staying at. I asked Father to move to another place, but I did not tell him what I had suffered. With Father and Chung Hwa Pak, who took charge of carrying the luggage, we moved to another lodging house.
Once Father heard my request, he stood up and said, "Let's go." We entered a different lodging house after we had quickly walked for some distance. However, neither Chung Hwa Pak nor I had any money. Father said, "Since Deaconess Oh does not have any money, go sell these." When I checked what he had given me, I saw that they were the army long johns he had brought with him to wear in the winter. He gave me the two set of long johns he had.
I followed his instructions and went out the door, but I did not know where to go. I looked around and decided to follow the main street. After walking for some time, I saw a few older women hanging around on the street. So I approached them and asked them to buy the long johns. They asked me how much I was asking for them, and I told them to give me what they thought was enough because I did not know how to price them. I received 1,500 Won and was grateful. Thinking that Father might be hungry, I bought four apples with 100 Won and headed toward the inn.
Seeing the winter sunset, I was thinking it was time for me to go home when Father instructed me to go to Gi Wan Lee's house, which was at number 6 Sogyeok District, to get a loan. It was Mr. Lee's daughter house. Her husband was a National Assembly member. Holding the address in my hand, I had to take the trolley because I did not know where the Sogyeok District was. After riding the trolley for some time, I got off and started asking people on the street to find my way. Luckily, it was easy to find because I had a house number.
With a happy heart, I opened the two big gates only to recoil from a dog as big as a horse barking at me. Mr. Lee, who was carrying his granddaughter on his back, looked out to see why the dog was barking. I was inexpressibly happy to see him. The sun was going down over Mt. Seo and it was getting dusky.
He asked me, "What brings you here?" I conveyed what Father had said and told him I did not have any money.
He silently turned away and asked where Father was. With an angry tone, I said that Father had no address. His answer was certainly not at all nice. I grieved inside my heart, and I unconsciously shed tears. It was unbelievable that he did not have a few thousand won in that big house.
At 9 PM I arrived where Father was. I opened the door hesitating over what to say and then simply said that they did not have any money. Father did not say anything.
When I told him I was going home and said farewell, Father said, "Let's meet tomorrow at the back entrance to Pagoda Park." I replied yes, and began lamenting again as I went out. There are so many affluent people with a lot of money in the world, but our poor Father... I accused myself for not being able to attend Father well.
Afterward, I felt so exhausted, probably because I had run around for the whole day. Tears just started pouring down. I was also worried about whether I could meet Father the next day because I had many things to do. I had to bring my belongings to the house in Seoul and make enough Kimchi to last a while. Having been devastated by war, Seoul had no streetlights. Even the trolley arrived quite late in the pitch-black alley. After riding the trolley for some time, I finally arrived home at 10:30 PM. My children were sitting together and with a look of concern in their eyes asked me why I was so late.
Rev. Hyo Won Eu (using a cane) greets fellow members on a Sunday at the Seoul Church.
The next day, I woke up early and even though I worked diligently, I could not finish all the tasks on time. My heart had already left for Pagoda Park, but I did not make it on time because my body could not get out of the house. It was a bit past eleven o'clock when I finally arrived at the back entrance. Father saw me first as though he had been waiting for some time and walked toward me. He told me that his address was room 25 in the Hwebok Lodging House in Namdaemun. He then caught a taxi and left.
Now that I knew where he was staying, my heart was somewhat relieved. I diligently went to the lodging house afterward. I knocked on the door of room 25 and found Father there alone. That was just after the currency reform, a time when money was quite precious. It cost 800 Won per night to stay at the lodging house. Two days later, after much thought, I took 2,000 Won from the housekeeping money, paid 1,600 Won and gave the rest of the money to Father. Father could no longer stay there and asked me to look for a single room in a boarding house.
Since I lived in the Hu-am District, I tried to look for a room around Namsan. For three days, I could not find a room because most of the rooms for rent were either two- or three-person rooms. Left without much choice, I had to go all the way to the Jangchung District and got a three-tatami room in an individual house. The food expenses were 10,000 Won a month. I was relieved because we did not have to make a down payment. Father had no bedding, but fortunately, a new member, Yeong Do Kim, who lived in the same district offered Father a mattress and blankets. After presenting them to Father, my heart felt much better.
True Father, the subject of love, never worried about not having a place to stay or not having any money. Sometimes, when he would have money, a person named Won Deok Kim would come to Father and say, "I need to go to Busan but do not have any money," and Father would take out his wallet without hesitation and give him everything in the wallet without counting it. I just could not find the heart to like that person. I wished in my heart that he would not come again.
The first Cheongpa District church, where True Parents' Holy Wedding was held, was purchased on October 7, 1955.
The next day, I went to greet Father and he said, "I need to get a haircut and wash myself today. Do you have any money?" I was quite surprised and replied, "I have 100 Won." Father said, "A haircut is 70 Won and the sauna fee is 30 Won. That would be enough." Who would imagine that Father had such days? Now that I think about it, it all seems like a dream, but no matter how hard I try to think about it lightly, I still vividly remember it. Thirty years have passed and writing this testimony brings tears to my eyes. Many things happened between Father, God, and me that no one would ever imagine even in those days, so I have no choice but to skip them.
Father said that he would go to Busan for Christmas Day. On the evening of December 23, Chung Hwa Pak came with train tickets he had bought. I cannot express how disappointed I was. I was filled with regret for not attending Father well. Father's path was one that held no promise as to when he would come back. A taxi was already waiting outside the door. Father, Chung Hwa Pak and I both got into the taxi and we soon arrived at Seoul Station.
Father took the 9 PM train on a third-class ticket. I got onto the train and tried to push through the crowd of people to send Father off. Father was supposed to be on a three-person seat, but a pregnant woman was taking the whole thing. Father had to stand. Soon, I heard the train whistle telling me to get off. Father told me to go. I reluctantly said good-bye to Father while hating the sound of the train whistle. Once I got off the moving train, tears started pouring down. I was so sad that I was the only person to send off this great man. I wistfully wished I had even a young child with me there.
As I emerged from the pitch-dark Seoul Station, I felt as though I had gained a great treasure and lost it again. Since no one was looking, I did not even think of wiping my tears away, and I began walking beside the rails in the direction Father's train had gone. The cold winter night wind was hitting my face mercilessly. Once I came back to my senses, I realized that I had walked all the way to the Samgakji rotary. I realized I had gone too far. My house was in the Flu-am District and I did not know which direction to take. I decided to walk back to Seoul Station. It was 10:00 Pm when I arrived home.
Early members Hyun Shil Kang and Sae Hyeon Ok in front of the first Seoul Church, informally known as the House of Three Gates
Once Father got to Busan, he could gain members and go through many tests. He later went to Daegu and raised several members there. In March 1954, Father, Rev. Hyo Won Eu and several other members came to Seoul.
A humble home with three doors, which was why they called it the House with Three Gates, was obtained in the Bukhak District. Though it was not much to look at, the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity sign was put up outside. It was then that spiritual phenomenon and wonders started happening in earnest. Our church gradually grew bigger and moved from the Bukhak District to the Heung-in District and expanded from the Heung-in District to the Jangchung District. That was a time when the members all worked hard.
I do not think it is necessary to go on about what happened after this in great detail because many members have seen and heard about it already, but I would like to write a bit more because True Father had such a rough passage.
It was during this time that Heaven started working through many spiritual phenomenon. Professors from Ehwa Women's University joined the church, and then students started coming to listen to the Divine Principle one by one. They soon started gathering day and night. People started coming in great numbers to listen to the word.
People feel happy when they go crazy about something. There are many types of lives; sonic people go crazy about money, others about affection, but among these many types of lives, a life going crazy about true love is the most precious and beautiful. When I look back at the thirty-year history of the Unification Church and see how greatly it has developed, I am completely overwhelmed.
However, Hwa Lan Kim began opposing Father and succeeded in expelling fourteen students. That was not the end. Mrs. Sun Gil Choi also came to Seoul from Busan and started taking a stand against Father again with great ardor. In the end, Father was taken to the police station. Though he said he would go and come back a short time afterward, Father did not return. Soon after, four of our main leaders were also arrested.
Father enjoying his freedom not long after his release from Seodaemun Prison
To backtrack a bit, in the beginning of June 1955, Father called me. He told me that Ehwa University was trying to cause problems and to go borrow some money. Though there were many members, most of the members were new and did not have money. Father had no one he could trust and talk to about it.
That was a time when we were not so well off financially. However, I had to get the money even if it put me into debt. I have never disobeyed Father. My heart became restless and beat hard. Luckily, I had credit with someone I knew. The interest rate was 10 percent. Nothing scared me in those days. I borrowed 100,000 Won, another 100,000 Won and then 300,000 Dong Seok and presented it to Father. Father would not even touch or look at it. Mr. Dong Hwi No would take it. A month later, I thought we had closed all the loopholes, but then another loophole opened. Investigators took Father in on July 4, but he did not come back. We were completely shocked.
A few days later, the four leaders were also taken in. There were not any members with whom I could discuss details about the problem, so I had no choice but to start a gye. I thought that our first priority was to free Father. I heard that there was a person named Dong Seok Jo, among our members, who had some experience with the police. Trusting him, I started giving him money to carry out the task of freeing Father. Lump sums of about 200,000 Won, 300,000 Won and 500,000 Won had to be invested. We would meet a prosecutor one day, and then meet a lawyer the next day. Whenever I met these people, the only thing that was discussed was money as though I owned a bank. If I could not meet a person, I would go around looking for the person. I had to find money haphazardly.
Creditors constantly kept asking for their money. I was in a completely tight position. Four months passed in this manner. I was so heavily in debt, but I never regretted it nor blamed it on anyone. I did not feel any pang of conscience because I did it for the God's will and voluntarily. At times, I even got loans with a 30 percent interest rate. My heart was at ease no matter what other people said. The only painful part was not being able to pay back the money.
To make money, I decided to start a business, a thing I had never done in my life. I opened a shop in Yongsan Station that depended on business from the nearby army base. I ran it with In Shik Lee. Mr. Lee was in charge of the labor and I invested a million won. However, I did not have much time to myself. I did not even have time to eat or sleep because I had to visit Father and find money. I left the business in the hands of two single women, Seung Gyu Park and Gye Wol Park, and only came back at night. My goal was Father's acquittal and discharge. I could not think of myself, and I had to look for money. I was ready to go to prison if I could not pay the creditors back. The only priority in my mind was how to free Father and the leaders who had been taken in.
Soldiers continued coming to Yongsan Station until 2 AM and by 4 AM they started swarming in. I could only sleep for two hours. To receive a visitation ticket, I had to reach Seodaemun Prison by six o'clock in the morning and wait in line first.
I was always the first person in line. I was so exhausted that slept in the trolley and always missed my stop. I would have to get off and go back in the opposite direction. Sometimes I even dreamt while walking. Those who have never directly experienced this will not be able to understand what it actually felt like.
At times, I put a bundle of money on my lap and dozed off. No matter how long I slept, no one stole the bundle of money. I felt heaven was certainly protecting it.
Soon after their exoneration and release from Seodaemun Prison (standing) Father and later church president Hyo Won Eu; (seated, from left) Hyo Min Eu, Won Pil Kim and Hyo Yong Eu (The Eus are brothers.)
Exactly three months after the arrest, on October 4, Father was acquitted and released. Everyone else went to Seodaemun Prison. I thought, "It has finally happened." I was deeply grateful. but my body could not move. So I stayed like that in church and welcomed Father there. Soon after, the leaders who had been brought in were acquitted and released, except for Won Pil Kim who was charged with evasion of military service.
After that, it was decided that the church should move from the Jangchung District to the Cheongpa District. Jeong Guk Ahn and I were the first to check on the Cheongpa District church. We thought it was feasible to move into it directly, but the lease cost 700,000 Won. Members of the Jangchung District church had collected two million Won to pay back some of my debts and wanted to lease the church at 700,000 Won. However, Father held the key to the decision-making. Once he came out of Seodaemun Prison, Father gave instructions to purchase the church instead of leasing it. Thus, we ended up buying the church building with the two million Won. In the meantime, the business I ran in Yongsan Station just disappeared. By then, I was so heavily in debt that I could not endure it. I expected this to happen and did not keep any written records of my transactions, because I feared that if records were found, the arrows would point toward the church. I recorded everything in my head.
After everyone moved to the Cheongpa District Church, Father called me to ask how much I had spent, and I told him. My entire family had moved to Wonju. I was the only one left in Seoul. I took care of the cooking in the church and everything was quiet for some time. However, creditors ended up looking for me even in the church. Father gave me 500,000 Won to pay the most urgent debts first. After that, Father did not speak much.
To tell the truth, Mrs. Choi had joined hands with Ehwa University to cause problems that brought about the July 4 incident. When our innocent Father was in Seodaemun Prison, our members visited Mrs. Sun Gil Choi every day, exerting all kinds of efforts to persuade her, bowing to her and begging her to resolve the problem peacefully. She was very obstinate about it, as though she had done what she was supposed to do. With heaven's help, Father was acquitted within three months. Mrs. Choi, too, seemed to think she did not have much choice anymore and agreed to sign the papers in exchange for a certain amount of money. I got the money through the members. It was now over.
My prayers, day and night, were about finding Mother. I focused my thoughts sole on finding Mother even as I walked or took the trolley -- whatever I was doing -- up until I went to bed. The saying that Heaven gives to those who ask is certainly trues
I could not go outside with an easy heart because of the demands to pay back my debts. I cannot express what I suffered at the hands of people outside the church and members alike because of those debts. I clearly spent the money for Father and for the four church leaders, but whenever I met them, it was all about paying those debts back. However, I did not mention that to them.
I cannot forget one incident. I was in charge of making the clothes Father was to wear for the Holy Wedding. After completing them, I went home and got off the bus around dawn, when I met a creditor. Not having seen me in ages, the creditor grabbed me and dragged me to a scrivener's office. After having been hauled around for some time, the scrivener suggested, if I did not have any money, that I sign a bond of debt form with the combined amount of the principal and interest fee. Being guilty of the debt, I did what the person suggested.
I only had little time before the Holy Wedding. I was so concerned because I still had to do the ironing and complete many other tasks I was responsible for. I barely secured my release. After I had completed everything, I let out a long sigh. I could not move around with ease until I went to United States in 1972. However, because I did all this to fulfill Heaven's will, I am not ashamed.
Mrs. Yeong Choon Oh, a significant behind-the-scenes figure in the early church
On a rainy evening, November 20, 1961, True Father, wearing a black jacket, entered our home in Noryangjin without hesitation. We were so surprised and asked, "Is something wrong, Father?" He answered yes, but did not say anything after that.
I was curious, but I could not ask him any more questions. During those days, we were living in a hen house that we had fixed up; people had to stoop down to come in. Father's sudden visit was surprising. I had a fierce dog in those days, but the dog remained quiet, seeming somehow to sense that Father was a man of God. I lamented that only people were too stupid not to sense it. I then ran to the market in the rain to buy necessities for Father and some side dishes for dinner. Grandmother I long helped me; we cooked together for Father, and shared our concerns. Before sleeping that night, Father said, "Deaconess Oh, I must go somewhere else. If the situation worsens, you may become hurt too." I knew he did not have any other place to go, so I begged him, "You cannot go anywhere. I am fully determined to face any difficulty." I could not send our loving Father anywhere even if I were to die.
I was not worried or concerned at all because I had already almost died several times while following this path.
I locked the main gates with the fear that someone might come. My heart was ill at ease in case someone, even a vendor, should come to my house. I carefully attended Father but I felt inadequate. There was no electricity and poor Father would light a candle to study. While watching Father, I sometimes dozed off and Father would tell me to go to bed.
We lived like this for two full weeks. Then Mother, Hyo Won and others came to get Father, saying that the particular incident had been solved. This was on December 4, just before Ye Jin nim's first birthday. I was completely happy. However, feeling a pang of regret and disappointment in myself for not attending Father very well, I accompanied Father until Noryangjin and got a taxi for him.
On my way back, I could not stop my tears from flowing and then completely sobbed at home. I came to find this path quite early because of the good conditions set by the Oh family ancestry. I did not do anything to deserve such blessings.