Mother of Peace: Episode 22
Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 4: God’s Light Shines Upon a Path of Thorns, pg 99-103
God’s Light Shines Upon A Path Of Thorns
Rain and cold wind give way to peace
Already 60 years have passed,” said one of my oldest friends from the early days of the church.
“There is a saying that time is like an arrow,” I replied, “and it is so true. The path of the last 60 years has flown straight to the target, filled with difficulties and obstacles together with joy and success.”
It was April 2014, and she and I were participating in a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Unification Church. I reflected on the church’s original name, which is the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, and its establishment in a tiny rented house in Bukhak-dong, in the Seongdong district of Seoul on May 1, 1954. Thinking back on days gone by, our early members who had gathered expressed deep gratitude to each other, recalling the decades of hardships we endured, as brothers and sisters in one family.
Despite the dire poverty in which the Unification Church began, the Holy Wedding in 1960 launched a new era. We have grown from a handful of members into a global movement, and we see that the Divine Principle teachings have spread to the ends of the earth. It truly is a miracle.
How did God bring this to pass? The key is the salvation of marriage, the oneness of husband and wife made in the image of God. As God called Father Moon to begin his historical mission as a teenager, God also called Hak Ja Han, a young lady of 17. Nobody could fathom His choosing someone so young. I sensed that I would one day represent all women—God’s daughters, the world’s mothers. Jesus revealed the heavenly bride as the Holy City coming down from heaven, and I accepted this call with firm resolve and I grew from the position of a heavenly bride to Mother of the universe. By God’s hand, this Mother, who prays and longs for God’s Blessing for all 7.7 billion people on earth, can now advance peace widely.
* * *
As we entered the summer of 1960, our members undertook 40 days of evangelism throughout the country. We called it the New Mind, New Village, New Love Movement. In all the districts of the entire country, a flame of faith rose up strongly. Some 600 missionaries and local members visited 413 villages and put the word of God into practice in substantial ways. During those 40 days, they cleaned neighborhood pathways, taught the Korean alphabet in village halls by the light of kerosene lamps, assisted farmers and shopkeepers and shared the Principle. The members survived on a daily bowl of powdered mixed grains and overcame fatigue and fierce rejection from people, some of whom called them heretics. They often were lonely, like poplar trees standing alone at the center of a field.
By the hand of God, the greater the people’s condemnation, the faster our good results appeared. Soon, high school students and other youth joined the witnessing program, providing even more energy for the rebirth of life and prosperity in local villages. Even a first-year middle school girl participated—such was the enthusiasm of those days in Korea. As we repeated those seasons of enlightenment, education, and service, the Holy Spirit came down. Throughout the cities and towns, families offered their large living rooms to serve as night schools. The alphabet was taught to young people who could not attend school—and to women. From the hidden paths of rural villages, a wave of hope washed through South Korean society, a positive influence for needed social progress.
Then, starting in the mid-1960s, the government also began sponsoring rural enlightenment and literacy programs throughout Korea—the Sae-ma-eul (New Village) Movement. Its officials acted as though we did not exist, but we carried on. In the town of Chungju, members used their bare hands to build classrooms with mud walls for dozens of shoeshine boys. In later days, those actions gathered the momentum for establishing what is now the Sunhak Educational Foundation.
On a nationwide scale, our work sparked young leaders in farming areas to establish agricultural schools that spurred a wave of modernization. Some of these schools were on the cutting edge of a movement to transform our society, combining technical and spiritual advancement. As one might expect, the government’s New Village Movement, through its administrative power, appropriated all of this, and since the Unification Church was considered heretical, we were pushed to the side. From both the left and the right, voices continued to condemn us.
* * *
As one might imagine, our church leaders and missionaries experienced many difficult days. With no financial support, they felt fortunate to have even one meal a day; three full meals a day was unheard of. Sometimes, out of concern for the missionaries, middle school students secretly left the lunch boxes that their mothers had prepared for them in front of our missionaries’ doors. When the missionaries thought of the students sacrificing their lunches, and were faced with the idea of eating a lunch box that a student had given them, they were inexpressibly miserable. However, their responsibility was to convey the new understanding of truth, and they resolved to honor the sacrifices that had been made to help them.
My husband and I did not just send missionaries to their areas; we visited our local churches throughout the country several times a year. We would bring with us food, clothing and supplies we had gathered. There was never enough, as there were many other service projects and activities to support, but we brought all that we could. When we walked into view, hand in hand, the missionaries in the pioneering areas would greet us in tears. We would uplift and encourage our members and talk together, without realizing we had stayed up all night.
Our members who worked on American military bases would sometimes bring chocolate, bananas or cookies to church. I would put these gifts in a wardrobe or on a shelf and would wrap them and give them to the missionaries when we went out. One missionary sister burst into tears when she received the wrapped bundle. A few months later, she returned for a visit, held my hand tightly and said, “I brought that package to my pioneering area and ate it together with our members. Your encouragement gave us power when we conveyed the words of the Principle.” Such words always gave me great joy.
The pioneer centers were hardly what one would call churches. They usually consisted of a single room, and our missionaries often were too poor even to put up a sign. Anyone who entered would immediately wonder if it was really a church. On the one hand the impoverished appearance saddened my heart, but on the other hand, I felt proud of our members and comforted them. “Our church’s downtrodden circumstances may seem miserable to ordinary people,” I would say softly, “but in the future, we will hoist a flag of victory and receive the love of people the world over.”
That is why wherever we went, we were not ashamed. No matter who we met, we were confident. We tried to register our church with the government, and we were rejected several times, as a torrent of opposition flowed from established churches, who sent petitions of protest about us to government officials. Finally, in May 1963 the Korean government registered our organization legally as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity.