Cham Bumo Gyeong: Episode 58
Cham Bumo Gyeong
Book 3. The Beginning of True Father's Public Course and the Founding of HSA-UWC
Chapter 2: True Father’s Journey to South Korea and His Course in Busan
Section 1: Journey to the South, Father’s disciples
Section 1: Journey to the South, Paragraph 9
Chapter 2 True Father’s Journey to South Korea and His Course in Busan
Section 1. Journey to the SouthFather’s disciples
From February 22, 1948, until October 14, 1950, True Father persevered and prevailed, first enduring severe torture at the Pyongyang Internal Affairs Bureau and Pyongyang Prison, and then overcoming cruel forced labor at the Hungnam Special Labor Camp. As he persevered in his course of indemnity, at times he was close to death. After leaving Hungnam Prison, True Father went to Pyongyang in order to meet and care for his members. Many of the residents had already fled to the South.
Forty days after his arrival, on the night of December 4, True Father, together with Kim Won-pil, a representative of Christianity in the position of the bride, and Pak Jeong-hwa, the representative of his disciples in prison in the position of the archangel, set out for South Korea. They crossed the Daedong River by boat at Hanggae, downstream from Manggyongdae. Because Pak Jeong-hwa was injured, True Father pushed him on a bicycle.
When they reached Byokseong-gun in Hwanghae Province, they passed through Yongmae Island in the southern part of the Cheongryong Peninsula to reach the Imjin River. Crossing that frozen river, they finally entered South Korean territory. True Fathers difficult path guiding his two disciples to the South from Pyongyang symbolizes one aspect of the providence, that heaven guides humanity from the fallen world to the ideal world of the original creation.
1 After I was released from Hungnam Prison, I went to Pyongyang. I could have visited my hometown where my parents were, but I did not. I thought that before I went to my hometown, I should first know the whereabouts and condition of the members who had followed me before I went to prison. I had to take care of them. That is heaven’s way. In the meantime, the war situation changed and I was not able to go to my hometown. Nonetheless, I had foreseen that this might happen. It was all the more reason that I hurried to visit my members rather than first going to visit my hometown. With this in mind, when we crossed the 38th parallel I prayed, “It is for heaven that I leave for South Korea without going to my hometown. When I return, I will liberate North Korea and visit my hometown to celebrate the victory of heaven.” My whole life I have been fighting in order that one day I could fulfill this prayer.
2 What did I do when I returned to Pyongyang after leaving Hungnam Prison? I wanted to find the members who had followed me before my imprisonment. I met them one by one. Among the last three I tried to visit, two had already died of old age. There was one person in particular whom I wanted to meet. I knew where he was living, so I sent someone to find him. But my effort did not bear fruit, and before we could meet I had to leave the city.
Then the North Korean army entered Pyongyang and the purges began. On December 4, 1950, we fled south, pushing Pak Jeong-hwa with his broken leg on a bicycle. We left Pyongyang with the sound of North Korean army gunfire within earshot. The army occupied the state roads, so refugees traveled south using narrow paths, going over mountains and through fields toward the 38th parallel. As we traveled, the North Korean army was only ten kilometers behind us. Pak Jeong-hwa said, “In this situation, all three of us will die. Therefore, leave me here.” He thought he would be a burden on the way and contemplated suicide, but I realized this and scolded him. Then he calmed down and agreed to stay with us all the way to South Korea.
To go to Yongmae Island, I had to carry him across a mud-flat on my back. If the tide had come in, we might have drowned. I can never forget that difficult, muddy stretch of our journey.
3 The South Korean guards were on the south side of the 38th parallel, and the North Korean army was on the north side. Since the guards were protecting the border, all roads to the south were blocked. The 38th parallel was heavily guarded, and no civilians were allowed to cross. Therefore, we had to take a boat at Cheongdan. I sensed ahead of the others that something unusual was taking place at the 38th parallel. The South Korean guards were stationed on the road at the border crossing, so the guards would be able to mobilize quickly if there was any disturbance at the 38th parallel. I had sensed the day before that the South Korean guards were going to mobilize, so we left the border area right away. We walked toward the dock but there was no ferry, so we had to go to Yongmae Island.
It was six kilometers from the dock to Yongmae Island across a tidal flat. The challenge was to make it in two hours during low tide. We had to rush to get across before the tide came in, or it would have been a disaster. I can never forget those six kilometers, running through the mud while carrying Pak Jeong-hwa and with Kim Won-pil at my side. We ran with all our strength, trusting in heaven. By the time we got to the other side, we were covered in mud from head to toe. We barely got across before the tide came in.
4 When I headed toward South Korea, I foresaw that shortly North Korea would close the border. Therefore, I was very concerned about how to cross the 38th parallel. If those who fled with me had not listened to me at that time, we would not have made it across. The situation was very dangerous. The South Korean guards were pulling back from the 38th parallel, and we had to move quickly, so I pushed my companions to hurry without rest. To get on a boat heading south we went to Yongmae Island. But since all the South Korean guards were retreating from the border and commandeering any boat they could find, civilians were not allowed to board boats. There was no boat we could get on, so we had to come back to the mainland and continue on foot to look for a way to cross the 38th parallel.
5 When we were close to the Imjin River, I felt intuitively that we had to reach the riverbank before nightfall. In that situation, I needed to take emergency measures. I raised my spiritual antenna to the highest level. This was not something I normally did.
That night, as usual, other refugees sought a place of rest in a town. Yet, sensing that danger was approaching, we continued on our way even past midnight. At around 1:00 a.m. we arrived at a house near the river. The house was empty. The owners of the house had left for the South, so we entered. We continued on and arrived at the riverbank before dawn, but the waters of the Imjin were not yet frozen. I was worried and thought, “The water must freeze before daybreak. What if it doesn’t?” Thank God, the river froze and we could cross over very early that morning.
We thought we were the first ones to arrive in the South, but there were many others who had arrived before us. As the United Nations troops retreated, they blocked the road behind us. Those who came after us had to return northward. If we had hesitated for even one minute, what would have happened? One minute can mean life or death. This kind of incident can happen often in our lives, especially when we are following heaven's way. Heaven's way is that serious.
6 After leaving Hungnam Prison, I lived as a wanderer without anything to my name. For two months, traveling from Pyongyang to South Korea, I begged for food. Sometimes I was indescribably hungry. However, I could never pray to God asking, “Dear God, there is nothing to eat today. Please give me something.” Rather I consoled God. Sometimes I felt, “Tomorrow, surely, on the road a good-hearted woman will give me something.”
The next day, a woman in white clothes was waiting on the road and gave me something to eat, saying, “I had a dream last night, and in it I was told to prepare some food for you. That is why I am waiting for you. Please enjoy this food.” This kind of thing happened quite often. I have had such experiences; nobody can deny this.
When the time comes, I want to repay the people and communities that helped me. God and I have the same heart. No one on earth could know the tears I shed together with God as we embraced each other. No one can ever measure my profound feelings toward God. All the cells in my body feel pain, just thinking about those times.Promise made at the 38th parallel
As he crossed the 38th parallel, True Father offered in prayer a tearful, solemn vow, “I will rally the free world with these two hands, overcome the Communist Party, and liberate North Korea. Ultimately I will unite North Korea and South Korea, whatever the cost.” He never forgot his prayer and the vow he made on that day. True Father fought throughout his life to achieve it.
On December 21, 1950, True Father crossed the Imjin River and began the 80-kilometer walk to Seoul. On the way, he passed Munsan Station, just south of the demilitarized zone. He crossed the Han River 24 days after leaving Pyongyang, on December 27, and reached Heukseok-dong in Seoul, where he had lived during his school days.
7 I can never forget my prayer when I crossed the 38th parallel. “Father! I am going to the South. I came to the North, but I was not able to fulfill the Will as I originally hoped. I could not avoid imprisonment, and the most painful thing about that was the feeling of defeat when I could not accomplish the goal. Now I am being chased to the South with other refugees. I know that even in the South I will receive persecution. No matter what, I will keep going on this path, even if my way is blocked for ten years or 20 years. I know that one day I will have to return to the North. If I cannot return there in person, I will have my descendants go there, and if they cannot go I will have my disciples go there.”
This was the resolution I made as I crossed the 38th parallel. Ever since then I have been fighting. With that determination, I consider ten years as if it were one day. Having made this pledge before God, I look upon the path differently from how you do.
8 No one can fathom what I pledged in my heart as I was crossing the 38th parallel. Nor can anyone fathom the content of the prayers I offered for the future of the providence in South Korea while I was imprisoned almost three years in North Korea’s Hungnam Labor Camp. No one can imagine my tearful prayers on the day I crossed the 38th parallel amid those sorrowful circumstances.
I can never forget my prayer for my mother and father, who raised me with their utmost love and care, and whom I had to leave behind in my hometown. I prayed, “Please do not die. I regret that I had to be unfilial to you, but wait until I return.” I also made a pledge while I was being tortured by the communists, “I will see the day with my own eyes that I bring your people to submit to God and praise His holy name. You will testify about Him with your own mouths. I will usher in that day before I die.” You cannot fathom these resolutions of mine. They are lodged deep in my heart.
9 When I journeyed from the North to the South, I felt as if I were all alone. It seems like only a few days ago. Many nightmarish things happened during this period. I was only 31 years old and still a young man when I left Hungnam Prison in North Korea. When I left I was determined to make a new start. I had faced many hardships in North Korea, but I forgot all the difficulties I had been through. I used my experiences as motivation for my new start, not letting their memory hinder my way. I felt responsible to fulfill the way of God’s Will by whatever path would be required of me.
As a young man in my thirties just released from prison, I had the strong determination to make a new start. It took me almost two months to travel from North Korea to Busan. My journey took me across the 38th parallel and through the city of Gyeongju. Busan was filled with countless refugees, and there was nowhere to stay. I had no choice but to build a small hut on a hillside for my dwelling.