Cham Bumo Gyeong: Episode 182

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, Paragraph 12-20

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12  In prison, there was nothing to do after eating dinner except to kill time sitting on the floor. Since there was nothing to do other than talk, the inmates talked about the world and all kinds of issues. When they first arrived they talked about why they were put in prison and then about their parents. But after a few months they had nothing more to talk about. 

During all that time, I did not say a word. Consequently, they pressed me to talk. So, I said that I would speak on one condition, saying, "Are you okay with any kind of talk?" After hearing yes from them, I invented lengthy novels and short stories. I would tell a different story every day. I did not recite stories written by others. I made up the titles and created stories that did not exist in any work of literature. I have the kind of brain that I can make up several novels in one night. After three days of looking at their faces and telling stories, I could see that they were happy to hear anything I had to say. 

I took my seat next to the toilet bucket, which was the worst place in the cell, but they repeatedly asked me to move up to a more comfortable space in the cell. The cell leader would try to move me up to a better spot, but I said it was all right with me to stay where I was. Whenever I went to prison, I always picked the worst spot beside the lavatory. When I told him I did not want to change my spot, the cell leader said, "I will sit where you are, so please move and sit over here." That is just how it is in the original world.

13  What was the most exciting thing for the inmates? Their most earnest hope at the labor camp was to get a chance to rest to their heart's content, to rest even once during work hours. Because of that, when the labor teams were organized, everyone wanted to have excellent workers with them so they could finish their quota early. 

As far as work was concerned, I was second to none. I excelled in whatever work I did. Whether it was tying the mouth of the fertilizer sack, moving it to the train, or any other job, no one surpassed me. So if my team members just followed my directions, we would finish our quota quickly. Normally we could finish by 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. No other team was able to do that. 

If we thought about food, thoughts of food would consume us. So we did not think about food during work. When I worked, I took pleasure in what I was doing, thinking, "I want to tie one more sack before lunchtime. I want to do a better job than the others." When I worked with that mind-set, I just did not know how to feel tired. By thinking that way I could sustain my body. Those whose minds were only thinking about the number of sacks they had to finish before the next meal did not last long.

14  It usually took our team five to ten minutes to scoop the fertilizer into the bag, move the bag to the scale, and weigh it, but working by myself I could accomplish it in five minutes. It took other teams 15 minutes, and if we had worked at that rate we would not have been able to fulfill our daily quota. We had to go through a huge pile of fertilizer, scooping it into bags and moving it to the scale. If we had stopped while doing this to move the scale four or five meters closer to the pile so we would not have to move the bags so far, we would have been late. So I found a way to do the job without frequently moving the scale. The other members in my team initially did not want to follow my way, so I would have ended up having to do more than half of the 1,300 bags myself. But because everyone has a conscience, in time they ended up following me. 

I was a model prisoner. I received the Model Prisoner Award from the Communist Party every year. At that time, my weight was 72 kilos. Outwardly I did not look that heavy, but I had heavy bones. Other prisoners became thin, but I didn't. Therefore, I became the source of their curiosity.

15  The fertilizer made at Hungnam contained sulphuric acid. When skin comes in contact with such acid, the skin cracks and the hairs fall out. My skin cracked after touching the bag of fertilizer, and the next morning I found myself bleeding. I could have been discouraged by that, but I had to overcome it. So I talked to the sulphuric acid, saying, "However much you damage my skin, I have to survive." In this way, I overcame it. By overcoming such things even in that worst of all environments, I learned how great the human spirit can be. 

I never succumbed to my circumstances, but was able to stand tall, reaching the highest position possible in that situation. So even the people who worked at the prison came to respect me. Three times I was given the award as the best worker. Such incidents took place, and they were a recognition that I had broken through in that hellish environment. 

We need to have ability to overcome all difficulties, even in prison. That is what we need. We have to overcome hunger and cold. Actually, overcoming heat is rather easy. Next, we have to conquer sleep. I determined to overcome these things, with the thought that even if I died, I would leave a legacy such that people would say of me, "He was not defeated. He died victorious." I thought that unless I left such a spiritual foundation, I would lose the foundation on which I could work again on this earth.

16  I guided and taught many of the inmates in Hungnam Prison, giving of myself with devotion and tears. Many of those inmates died in prison. At the moment of death, some called to me, saying, "Please convey my last words to my parents. And tell them that even though I died here like this, the days I spent with you were good days." 

You cannot imagine how desperately hungry we were at that time. An inmate would die while chewing food in his mouth, and those beside him would quickly scrape the grains out of his mouth and eat whatever he had not swallowed. I do not think you can fully grasp this. 

It was under those circumstances that I had to be their parent and their older brother. I had to set the example for them and encourage them, saying, "Since I am doing this for you, you must not collapse." Because I did that in those circumstances, every year I received a commendation. I volunteered for the jobs that no one wanted to do and did them. Everyone else was looking for the easiest jobs, but I sought out the most difficult ones.

17  During my school days I debated with my friends who studied the theories of communism. I did not believe that we should follow that ideology, and all my life I have been fighting the communists. I know in detail what communism is all about. 

The system most completely organized according to the communist program was the prison system. Nevertheless, in prison I never engaged in the communist practice of self-criticism. During my life in prison, for two years and five months, I never wrote even one of the obligatory papers of self-criticism. For that reason I was on their blacklist. 

But even under those circumstances, without saying a word I became the top worker. That was the only way I could survive. If I had compromised even a little, I could not have survived there. So I made myself the champion in all aspects and in all areas. No one could keep up with me. I was first in scooping up the fertilizer, in dragging the bags, in tying them, and in putting them on the train. Therefore, I received the top worker award every year while I was in prison.

Survival through sacrificial love

Even in the worst situation, True Father did not betray heaven but rather comforted heaven. Accordingly, not only did his fellow inmates respect him and follow him, he even earned the respect of the Communist Party members. Another way he practiced true love was by sharing, with his fellow inmates, the clothing and grain powder that his mother Chungmonim brought him. This is how, even though on a course that could have led him to death, True Father restored through indemnity the suffering of Jesus and carried on the mission he had inherited from him. Even in sacrificing himself for his fellow prisoners, he gained strength to survive.

18  During my prison life, whenever I received grain powder from my mother I never ate it by myself. I shared it all, sometimes leaving nothing for myself. When I did that, the people with me collected some from others and gave it back to me. Such incidents happened. That was why the people there could say nothing against me. 

About 30 people slept together in my cell. I always slept in the worst spot, which was next to the toilet bucket in the corner of the cell. In the middle of the night, anyone who went to use the bucket might step on the people sleeping next to it. The cell was packed with inmates, and people going to use the bucket would first try to push the sleeping bodies aside so they could step between them, but when that did not work they just stepped on them or kicked them. That often happened.

But whenever anyone going to the bucket stepped on me or kicked me, he would come to me the next morning and apologize. If I were like other people, I would have said, "What do you mean doing that last night?" and started a fight. But I was not like that. So even when someone walked on my stomach because he could not help himself in his rush to get to the toilet, when he found out it was me whom he had stepped on, he came to me and apologized, saying, "I'm sorry, I did not know it was you." I lived such a life.

19  My mother, who was in Jeongju, needed to obtain 18 different letters of authorization to come and visit me in Hungnam Prison. When she finally obtained them, she made mixed grain powder for me and came to give me that powder. Did she have the grain to make that powder? I learned later that she went begging for it all over the village. She even went to ask distant relatives, saying in tears, "My son is in such a miserable situation. Please have sympathy for him." She begged for the grain, made the powder, and came every month to give it to me. Also she made clothes for me, especially in winter when she worried that I might freeze to death.

She made the powder to give to me, but as soon as I was back in my cell I shared it with the others. My conscience would not allow me to keep it and eat it by myself. My mother brought me cotton-padded pants, but I did not wear them; I continued to wear the prison uniform. There were many inmates who had no visitors for years. In front of them my conscience did not allow me to wear those pants proudly. Therefore as soon as I received the pants I immediately gave them away, and I continued to wear the tattered uniform with holes in it. How heart-broken my mother must have felt when she saw me in my prison uniform with its tatters fluttering in the wind. Yet because I was walking the path of God's divine Son and a loyal patriot, I had to go this way.

20  You cannot imagine how cold it was in Hungnam! There the winter wind was so strong that it blew pebbles around. When my mother visited me in prison in those cold winter months, she saw me wearing only my thin uniform, just one layer without long johns. When my mother saw me not wearing the clothes that she had prepared for me, her blood boiled. She asked me, "What happened to the long johns and cotton-padded clothes I brought to you?" I told her, "I gave them to people whose situation is more difficult than mine. I am willing to shiver in the cold alongside them and to starve together with them. Is that wrong?"

I was confident in what I was doing. In front of anyone in heaven and on earth, I was confident. My mother admonished me, saying, "How could you do this, without knowing what I went through? I prepared those clothes for you. Who told you to give them to others?" So I said to her, "Mother, if you do not care about others as I care about them, then I am not proud of having you as my mother. I wish you had praised me for what I did, and said that if I needed more clothes you would bring them. If you cannot do that, at least do not admonish me or give me that kind of advice." Then my mother sobbed, shedding large drops of tears. I can never forget that.

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