Mother of Peace: Episode 15

Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 2: I Came Into This World As The Only Begotten Daughter, pg 60-64

On Jeju, as she had everywhere, my mother led me on the path of sainthood for the Lord, with no thought of worldly matters, and this fit my emerging personality very well. I read biographies of holy women and devoted myself to the ideal of complete purity in preparation to receive my calling as the Daughter of God. Once settled in Seogwipo, I enrolled in Shinhyo Elementary School as a fifth-grader. At the age of 11, while my classmates were running around and playing, I lived a rigorous and strict life of faith. With my grandmother and mother, I devoted myself to prayer, study, and worship.

My mother soaked flattened barley in water and added it to radish kimchi for her raw food diet, while I ate millet porridge. Even though weak due to nutritional privation, when she saw farmers working the barley fields, my mother could not resist helping with the plowing. If she saw someone having difficulty carrying a load, she would volunteer to carry it for them. Without her saying a word, people were filled with admiration. “I’ve never met such a thoughtful person,” one village woman would say to another, who would respond, “That’s what I’m saying. I heard she’s a regular churchgoer, but still, she is so different from the others.”

My mother lived the exemplary life of an authentically religious person, always putting her faith into practice by helping others. She studied the Bible and shared with me the teachings of the Holy Lord Church and the Inside-the-Womb Church that Jesus would return as a man in the flesh, just as he had come 2,000 years ago, that he would find his holy bride and hold the marriage supper of the Lamb, as the Bible prophesies, and that all this would take place in Korea. From her I learned the meaning of Jesus’ Second Advent and could imagine it and taste and touch it. And from my mother, I learned the meaning of true discipleship.

* * *

My uncle, who had rescued us at the outbreak of the Korean War, married at the end of that war, and Grandmother Jo went to live with him and his new bride in Seoul. Within a few months, she was longing to see her daughter and granddaughter, and she came to visit us on Jeju Island. While she was with us, my uncle was posted to the city of Chun-cheon, some 50 miles northeast of Seoul. He sent us an abrupt but clear message: “Please wrap up your life on Jeju and move to Chuncheon.” Grandmother Jo urged us to comply, saying softly, with the pleading eyes of a loving matriarch, “My only pleasure in life is to have Hak Ja nearby and take care of her every day.”

That was it. In February 1955 we all three departed Jeju, bound for Chuncheon. My mother rented a small room for us in the Yaksa-dong neighborhood, and my grandmother lived with my uncle’s family nearby. I enrolled in Bongui Elementary School and soon entered the sixth grade. On the school grounds stood a big sycamore tree, its circumference greater than I could reach around. I read books under its abundant shade in the hot weather. There was a coal briquette factory next to the school, and my shoes would be covered with black soot when I walked past. All this springs out fresh in my memory. In the next year, 1956, I graduated from elementary school. I was 13 and received my graduation certificate after having attended four different schools. Though I had been a student at Bongui but one year, I was honored at the graduation ceremony with an award for doing well in my studies.

* * *

God finally responded to my mother’s ceaseless prayers and pleadings. His care for her once again was extended through Jeong Seok-cheon, our friend from the Holy Lord Church. Mr. Jeong remembered the last words of his late mother, the Holy Lord Church founder, Rev. Kim Seong-do: “If someone fails to accomplish what God has entrusted him to do, it must be accomplished through someone else. The group to which the Lord is coming will be accused and slandered as a sex cult. Its members will be persecuted and imprisoned. If you hear of such a church, know that it may be the true church, and that you should personally investigate it and decide for yourself.”

So Mr. Jeong diligently traveled the country to participate in revival meetings. He did not find what he was looking for until May 1955, when he read in the Dong-A Ilbo, a Seoul newspaper, about an incident at Ewha Womans University. Five Ewha professors had been fired from the faculty for joining a group called the Unification Church, led by a man they called Teacher Moon, and fourteen students had been expelled from the same school for the same reason.

Sensing the spirit of his prophetic mother, Mr. Jeong sent a letter with the newspaper clipping to his older sister in Busan. His sister took a look at the clipping and, without thinking twice, booked passage to Seoul with her daughter. They arrived and found their way to the Jang-chung-dong headquarters of the Unification Church, but were unable to meet its leader at that time. The members told her the location of the Unification Church in Busan, and she returned home. From there, she informed her younger brother what had happened and that there was another Unification Church branch in Daegu.

Jeong Seok-cheon visited the church in Daegu, listened to Divine Principle lectures, accepted its teachings and joined. Then out of the blue, ten days later, the local group was sent reeling. On July 4, Teacher Moon and several of his church members were incarcerated at Seodae-mun Prison in Seoul. Mr. Jeong traveled to Seoul to visit Teacher Moon in prison. In that visit he received inspiration and encouragement. Mr. Jeong knew that he had found the one whom Jesus had sent.

Some three months later, on October 4, Teacher Moon was acquitted of all the charges for which he had been imprisoned. At that point, Mr. Jeong secured his family’s support in Daegu and moved to Seoul to devote himself full time to God’s will.

After his release from Seodaemun, Teacher Moon visited Daegu. At that time, I was 12 years old, living with my family in Chuncheon, several hours north of Daegu. One morning, my mother told me that she had a dream of cuddling a white dragon in her arms. She did not know what the white dragon symbolized, nor what it meant to cradle it in her arms, but she said that something earth-shaking was about to transpire. That very day she received a letter from Mr. Jeong about his meeting the Divine Principle movement, and meeting Teacher Moon in prison, and who Teacher Moon is, and that Teacher Moon was in Daegu. My mother left for Daegu immediately, only to find that Teacher Moon had returned to Seoul.

My mother felt deep regret, and while staying overnight in Daegu she had another dream. In it she saw a pair of golden dragons prostrating themselves in the direction of Seoul. With this vision carved into her heart, she took the train to Seoul the next morning and proceeded to the Unification movement’s newly purchased headquarters church in Cheongpa-dong. It was early in December 1955. There, she met the teacher of the Unification Church for the first time.

The moment she greeted him, she realized that the white dragon in her dream represented none other than him, and that he was the one she had been seeking. She was deeply moved to meet, in her lifetime on earth, the Lord at the Second Advent, for whom she had suffered and sacrificed for three decades. She stayed at Cheongpa-dong to study the Principle, and heard teachings that put together what she had learned in the Holy Lord Church and Inside-the-Womb Church. With each lecture, her eyes were opened and her initial inspiration was confirmed. At times she pondered the meaning of her dream of the pair of golden dragons. Not coming up with anything, she put that out of her mind.

* * * 

Despite my mother’s admiration of him, and in contrast to his affectionate openness with everyone else, Teacher Moon related to my mother in a formal and reserved fashion. As a result, she felt empty and a little bit isolated, with a feeling of lack of love lodging in her heart. She invested in prayer silently, without rest, erasing from her soul all the concepts and expectations she may have had about whom she was going to meet.

Then one Sunday, Teacher Moon preached a sermon about the heart of Jesus. He said, “The people of Israel did not welcome Jesus, who came as their True Father. They allowed him to die on the cross,” and asked the congregation, “Do you know how great was the sin they committed?” Upon hearing this, my mother withdrew into a corner of the church. There she wept, crying her heart out for the remainder of the service. Teacher Moon viewed this, and after the service he called to my mother and consoled her, saying, “A person anointed by God must pass the test of Satan as well as that of Heaven.”

At that, like the snow melting in springtime, all sorrow disappeared from my mother’s heart. Her faith in God became stronger than it ever was. Soon thereafter, she returned to Chuncheon to commence pioneer work for the Unification Church.

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