Cham Bumo Gyeong: Episode 181

Cham Bumo Gyeong
Book 7: True Parents’ Course of Suffering and Victory
Chapter 1: Suffering and Victory during the Japanese Occupation and in Communist North Korea
Section 4: Victory of Love, The prison saint
Section 4: Victory of Love, Paragraph 11

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Section 4. Victory of Love

The prison saint

For the inmates of Hungnam Prison, food and rest were their entire concern. However, True Father shared with other prisoners the food and clothes that his mother (Chungmonim) brought to him. In this way, Father tried to maintain integrity as a filial son, a patriot, and a divine son, who had to comfort God's heart and walk the course of restoration through indemnity. True Father was an exemplary prisoner who undertook the most difficult work in the prison and fulfilled his responsibility beyond what was required of him. For this the Communist Party awarded him the Model Worker Prize three times. In this way, he received recognition even from Satan.

1  We prisoners in Hungnam Prison never had sufficient nourishment, due to the small amount of food and the heavy labor. The stomach must always function, but when I got up in the morning, my belly would be flat like a board. That was the life of a prisoner in the Communist Party labor concentration camp. The distance between the prison and the fertilizer factory was about four kilometers. Every morning we walked from the prison to our place of work, lining up in four columns and walking hand in hand. Guards beside both lines with rifles and pistols watched us closely. If the guards noticed the lines becoming loose, or that some prisoners were not holding hands, they considered it an attempt to escape. We were not allowed to lift up our faces while walking. This was their policy. How could I survive in such an environment? Human beings do not exist with just their physical body; we also have a spirit. If I only tried to sustain my life by eating physical food, I surely would have died. Spiritual strength is important.

2  While I was in Hungnam Prison, I resolved to do twice the amount of work as others. So every time I went to work, I thought of it as a test. I studied and analyzed how hard work affected my physical body. Sometimes I moved quickly in my work, and I would see a change in my body. Sometimes I worked at a regular pace, watching to see how my body responded. There were some physically weak inmates on my team of ten people, and I would cover for these fellow prisoners who were unable to finish their workload. In order to do that, I had to work more than my share.

I continued working like that every day. While working, if I thought about food I would not be able to function. So when I worked I did not think of food. Always I thought that this was the work I was destined to do, and that I was born for this work. I always poured all my enthusiasm and heart into my work, as if I were carrying out the providence of restoration.

3  While working in the prison, I always recalled my experiences with the spirit world. I would think of myself as the lead actor in a movie which I would someday show to my followers and descendants. I worked with the belief that they would be impressed when they saw how I worked there. We started to work at 9:00 a.m. After 10:00 a.m. we had a 15-minute break and could go to the toilet. However, I never focused on that. I did not hear the bell ring for break time, and would only discover it was break time when I noticed there was no one around me. This is because although my body was working, my spirit was resting. Because I worked in that kind of mental state, I lost very little weight. The prison guards were very surprised at that. Every time we went out to the work site, I always looked for the most difficult job. After several months I was recognized as the best worker. They rotated team members every week so that the prisoners could not plan an escape. Whenever the teams were changed, all the prisoners wanted to be on the team with the best worker. When I lined up, many people would stand in line behind me.

4  In my youth, I oftentimes found myself on the edge of exhaustion but did not allow myself to be overcome by it. This did not happen just because I did not want to be exhausted. It took a lot of training to reach that level. After I became a prisoner, I told God, "Heavenly Father, do not sympathize with me in my circumstances." When I was in difficulty, I never prayed asking God for help. I was serious. For one week or even one month I did not talk with other prisoners. What did that mean? My situation had become more difficult, and I thought, "How can I, by applying all my wisdom, offering all my heart and giving all my devotion, find a way to melt God's heart in this difficult situation?" I was not working hard for my own salvation. I thought, "How can I connect God's sorrow, indignation and bitter feelings to the fervent motivation in my heart and use them to strike Satan? How can the explosive power of God's heart empower me to destroy the enemy camp?"

This is what I thought about. I did not think, "I have to get out of here as quickly as possible." Instead, I told my stomach, "Growl as much as you want!" When I was desperately hungry, the experience gave me an opportunity to embrace God with tears, assuring Him that I was more serious about the course of restoration through indemnity that I will have to walk for the sake of the world, than I was about relieving my hunger. I never tried to escape from hunger and other hardships.

5  In my life, I faced and overcame many challenges from which tens of millions of men would have retreated. After I was taken into prison, I thought, "In order to survive here, I must make a determination to remain alive while eating only half my portion of food." So for half a month I gave half of my ration to others. I was determined to survive eating only half the food that others ate. Instead, I had to eat spiritual food. Later, when I began eating my full ration, I imagined that I was eating twice the daily ration. This psychological composure gave me the power to sustain my life. Also, I found out why and how months of hard work caused people's bodies to change. With that knowledge, I saved many young people who otherwise would have died.

6  I had to do physical exercises to sustain my strength. When I was in Hungnam Prison, I invented some methods of exercising that worked really well. Even though I ate little, I trained my body with physical exercise and supplemented it with mental discipline. There is not much difference between my body today and in those days. I was just a little bit gaunt. Even in prison I maintained my weight at 72 kilograms (158 pounds). Other prisoners became skin and bones and their backs were bent. They seemed like corpses, but I was never like that.

7  In Hungnam Prison we had a one-day break from work on Sundays. Having done heavy labor all week, when Sunday arrived you cannot imagine how happy we were. Truly it was a day of rest. As we worked during the week we were not ourselves. Every day when we came back from working at the fertilizer factory, we just collapsed from exhaustion as if our bones had melted. We had no energy at all. After we ate dinner, we collapsed again and could not get up. Even though Saturday night and Sunday were break time and we were given some freedom, all we could do was eat and then sleep in the same place. However, sleeping is a source of problems. That is why, although I was in that prison for nearly three years, I never took a nap. I absolutely did not take naps. I did not sleep more than the hours that I decided to sleep, and I never ate more than the food that I decided to eat.

8  When human beings face the moment of their death, a prince must die with the dignity of a prince, and a patriot must die with the attitude of a patriot. They should not die like a beggar. In Hungnam Prison I cleaned my body with cold water every day. Working all day at the pile of fertilizer, sulphuric acid and ammonia clung to our bodies and rotted our flesh. I therefore cleaned my body every morning upon rising. I used my handkerchief, which I wet with the drinking water that I had received the night before. When we heard, "Get up for work!" I cleaned my body while others were preparing. Inmates were supposed to use the unsanitary water from the lavatory to bathe, but I would rather die than use that water to clean my body. To me, drinking water was less important than protecting my body, which is God's temple. That is also why during my prison life I never exposed my body, not even my calves, to others. I never lived carelessly. That is why, in Hungnam Prison, I was called "the saint of the prison."

9  As a person who attends heaven, I needed to take care of my body, even in prison. Even though I did heavy labor, I was always careful about where I sat. I never took a nap on Saturday or Sunday. After coming back from hard labor, other inmates lay down and slept as soon as they finished eating, but I never did that. We were all tired, but while they went to sleep right away, I stayed up late. I also woke up earlier than anyone else. So people said they never saw me sleeping. Every night, without fail, I stayed up alone and did exercises.

In prison, drinking water was priceless. A sip of water was as valuable as life itself. There were around 30 people in my small cell, and in the heat of summer we sweated a lot. If we took off our clothes and squeezed them, sweat poured out. So to survive in summer we had to drink many gourds of water. But to me, it was a duty to attend heaven by keeping a clean body. No matter how hot it was, I never exposed my bare skin to others.In the fertilizer factory we dealt with material that came out of a kiln, so you can imagine how hot it was. Even in such a hot environment, I never exposed my legs. I trained myself more than any woman who ever maintained her modesty. Even the severest prison life could not prevent me from going my path.

10  When I was in Hungnam Prison working at the fertilizer factory, I kept my pant cuffs tied with strings around my ankles even in the hottest part of the summer. I did not expose even my shins. Recently I began wearing short-sleeve shirts, but in the past I really did not like such clothes. Since on the holy path ahead of me I would be offering my heart and body to God with utmost devotion, I did not want my body to be exposed to anyone. Even in my sleep I did not spread out my arms and legs. I always kept in my mind that God was watching me. I wanted to observe propriety even while sleeping.

11  When I first arrived at the prison camp, I was on the communists' blacklist. In my cell there were a couple of "dogs" whose orders were to watch me. By "dogs" I do not mean animals, but people who ratted on others in the cell. Since I knew that, I did not talk at all even after the first half-month. I was well known as the person who did not sleep on Sundays. I was also famous for wiping myself down with a cold wet washcloth after rising early at dawn. However difficult the environment I was placed in, I had the responsibility to attend heaven. Even though I was living in hell, my life had to shine as a man of the kingdom of heaven. Even though I was in the miserable situation of being pushed around and shivering in thin clothes during the cold winter, I maintained my original relationship with God.

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