Mother of Peace: Episode 23
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 103-107
As the 1970s approached, it still was a turbulent time for the world. North and South Korean discord threatened to flare up into another war, and the international situation was volatile. Communism was expanding across the globe on many fronts. Knowing the inhumane brutality of communist governments from our personal experience, my husband and I launched a very successful educational initiative called “Victory Over Communism” (VOC). Ours was the only voice in the world to clearly explain the fallacies of its materialistic and atheistic theory while offering a God-centered counterproposal. VOC strengthened the resolve and understanding of South Koreans and it had a huge impact soon after in Japan, turning back its far left-wing factions through peaceful means.
At that critical moment, my husband and I once again urged our members, especially the women, to take action. Our Heavenly Parent knows the power of women. Our movement did not truly begin until our couple’s Holy Wedding, because we are a family movement and it takes a husband and wife to create a family. My husband is the world’s foremost champion of women as the moral leaders of the family and society. With this conviction, we called Korean blessed wives to sacrifice their family life for a time and as missionaries go to the streets, to the halls of government, to the churches and temples and from house to house, to provide education, empower the people and multiply the patriotic spirit. The wives responded. Each entrusted their young children and sometimes ill, elderly parents to their husband’s care and set out.
The mother is the center of the family, and when she is not home, even for a day or two, the family suffers. Our wives and mothers went out, not for a day or two, but for three years. For every father who had to cradle and feed a child begging for his mother’s milk, a mother on mission was squeezing milk out of her swollen breasts and weeping. It was almost like Jesus’ three years of public ministry, or my husband’s three years in a North Korean labor camp. Wives who were pregnant when going out would return to give birth, and after 100 days, go back to their mission field. After the three years, when the mothers returned, their youngest children didn’t recognize them and even resisted them. Such is the incredible sacrifice of heart offered to our Heavenly Parent for the restoration of the world.
When a woman has a baby, she experiences the pain of childbirth. Despite this, the midwife’s job is to encourage her to push more. Like midwives giving birth to a new world, my husband and I pushed our Unification family members. Historically, every time danger appeared, the Korean people, farmers and loyal patriots defended their homes and their nation. With that spirit, our members rose and defended their homes and nation against communism. My husband counseled these courageous women, “The people do not understand unification now, but if the 30 million people of Korea join together with the Unification Church, this nation and these people will not perish.”
The blessed wives buried their pain in their hearts, for they knew that their mission was for the sake of the nation. In hindsight, their work has borne great fruit and can only be considered the most praiseworthy act of patriotism. Thus far, it has been hidden from view in our nation’s history but one day it will be revealed.
As the Unification Church spread to other countries, blessed wives around the world followed the example of the early Korean wives and their families. Thus, this brilliant chapter has been written in the history not just of Korea but of all nations. All blessed wives stand on this foundation and are carrying on this tradition. It is a story of women sacrificing to preserve the nation and world. One of its fruits appeared 20 years later, in our meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, then president of the Soviet Union. This opened the door to teach the young people of the former Soviet Union our God-centered worldview, the democratic spirit and ethical values, which contributed to the reconciliation of East and West and the downfall of communism. Another fruit was our trip to North Korea in 1991, when we met North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. Our harrowing but thoroughly triumphant visit opened the way for dialogue between North and South Korea and prepared a foothold for our work there.
“My last moment on earth is approaching”
The foundation for our breakthroughs in the Kremlin and North Korea also includes the selfless work of European members. One day in the early 1980s, we received a one-page letter from one of them. It concluded with heartrending words: “My last moment on earth is approaching. This is the last greeting I give you here on earth. I will meet you in the spirit world. Please live a long and healthy life.”
This young man was behind the Iron Curtain in a communist prison, and this was his final letter, written just before his execution. The instant I read it, my body stiffened, as if my blood had turned cold and blue. My tears froze. I couldn’t say anything. I felt like the fabled woman Mang Bu-seok, who died and turned to stone. I just stood there.
My husband and I had to quietly, secretly, hold such beloved people in our hearts. As the True Parents of all people, our path, with theirs, was perilous and desperate. Unable to talk with anyone about such things, we could only weep inside and proceed with broken hearts.
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For many years in Korea, whenever our members gathered, sooner or later, a lively discussion would take place about our movement’s strategy. “We must turn our eyes to the wider world now,” someone would say. Another would retort, “Isn’t it too early? We don’t even have a church building here in Korea!” And a third would join the fray: “Okay, so we build an attractive building, but if it’s only for Korea, will God like it?”
Of course, my husband and I were well aware of the issues and knew that both evangelizing internationally and building a strong church in Korea were important. But we steadfastly chose “the world” over “Korea,” and as a result, the appearance of our first churches remained shabby. Up until the 1980s, we could not present to the nation even a single decent church building. Our members might have wished to have a place where they could gather with guests and comfortably hold services, but it was not to be. Small A-frame structures with green roofs were all we had.
In the public square, as well, people ridiculed us, asking why we and our members kept talking about restoring the world when we didn’t even have a decent church building. From a humanistic perspective, they had a point, but they did not know the Principle. Our church was created for a higher purpose, and we put working for humanity and the world first. The salvation of the world took precedence over our task in Korea.
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In 1958 our first missionary crossed the sea to Japan, and the next year, a few trusted members pioneered missions in the United States. Given the impoverished state of our Korean church, it was almost unthinkable to start foreign missions in Japan and the United States. But our purpose went beyond being solely a Korean group. To bolster these budding foreign missions, Father Moon undertook a 10-month world tour in 1965. The course included a period where he drove with a few followers to every state in the continental United States, to consecrate prayer sites that we call holy grounds in each. He met our missionaries and their young members in the United States, Europe and other countries, and met prominent public figures, including former US President Dwight Eisenhower.
On this momentum, the flow of Unification missionaries into Europe, the Middle East and South America began to rise. Supporting the organization and coordination of all these missions made conditions arduous, both in the mission field and in Korea, and sometimes Korean members would shake their heads and say, “Things are getting worse.”
But in the 1970s, the Divine Principle of the Unification Church spread through the world. Many tens of thousands of young people heard the lectures and left their old lives to dedicate themselves to God’s providence. It wasn’t long before the countries of the world, as though with one accord, gathered their energy to oppose us. But our movement was like a roly-poly toy—the persecution hit us, and we bounced back; it hit us again, and we bounced back again—even stronger.