True Parents' History for Children
The First 40-Day Condition
by Linna Rapkins
The meeting room in the Chongpadong Church was packed with members seated on the wide boards of the wooden floor. The doors had been left open in the stifling July heat in an attempt to catch any breeze that might pass by. But mostly, the soft lanterns attracted the summer bugs and made it very difficult to concentrate.
Their leader, Moon Son Sengnim (honorable teacher) was speaking to them. He poured out all that was in his heart--as he always did. Tonight, he was telling them over and over how special they were.
"You are the ones," he said, "who can save the world and bring joy to Heavenly Father. Never, never forget that!"
It was not easy to be chosen ones these days. It seemed impossible to bring a single person to a single meeting anymore. The terrible lies and rumors constantly passed around Seoul made people afraid to come.
"YOU are the ones Heavenly Father loves most," he continued "Can you believe it?"
They wanted to believe it, but most of them at that moment felt so discouraged it was hard to be hopeful.
A few weeks ago Son Sengnim had told them all to do a 7-day fast. Well, now the fast was finished. Perhaps he would let them rest a few days. Perhaps that was the purpose of this special meeting.
"You have completed your 7-day fast," he said. "You made a great indemnity condition through this fast. But most of all you learned that you do not live by food alone. You must never forget that your real power comes from God."
He wiped the sweat from his brow and took another drink.
When he turned back to them, in a quieter tone, with great love, but almost as if he felt pain, he said, "Now, we will begin something new. You know the meaning of the number 40-yes? We will do a special condition for 40 days."
A 40-day condition? What does this mean? They concentrated on his words carefully for they had never done a 40-day condition before.
"We will take our message out of Seoul to the other people of Korea. For 40 days I want all of you to go out to the countryside-to farm villages, fishing villages, everywhere. You will teach the Divine Principle to these people. You will tell them about the importance of Korea. But first, you must serve them. Help them with their work. Suffer with them."
Go out? Suffer with them? How will we support ourselves? What will happen to our families? There were many silent questions.
"Yes," he continued, ignoring their questioning eyes. "You are God's chosen people, and this is what you must do!"
As they prayed in unison, then, they were already going over in their minds just HOW they would do it. Even though the Korean War had ended seven years earlier, it still was not easy to make a living. To leave their jobs and families for 40 days would be very, very difficult. But then life was always difficult, wasn't it?
Their voices got stronger as they prayed. Their spirits got stronger and their courage got stronger.
Off to the Countryside
All day, the rented bus jolted and jostled through the countryside. As they pulled into each village, someone was dropped off and everyone shouted, "Anyang! Anyang Kasayo! (Peace! Go in peace!)" And they waved to each other until they were out of sight in a cloud of dust.
Some of the members being dropped off were just high school boys and girls-mere teenagers! Others were college graduates. Still others were mothers and fathers who had left their children with their grandparents.
At one village they let off a high school boy with a crippled leg. He hobbled out of the bus, and as the bus pulled away, he suddenly became afraid and tears came to his eyes. Their hearts cried for him as they pulled away. How would he manage?
A Girl's Story
It was late afternoon when the bus pulled into an isolated farming village to let off the last passenger. A teenaged girl stepped out. Her belongings were tied into a sack that she could carry on her back or on her head. She had a few won (Korean money) and her Bible and Divine Principle notes.
It was a lonely feeling as she said good-bye to the bus driver and team-leader, and she watched the bus until it disappeared around a bend. Only then did she take a look around her.
A few women were busy about their homes, preparing food, gathering charcoal, and bringing in the clean clothes. The grandmothers were mending clothing, chopping cabbage and watching children.
Surrounding the village were the rice fields. Men and women were barefooted in water up to their ankles, bending over the neat rows of rice plants. The flies and bugs tormented them constantly, and the stink of the fertilizer was strong. Sharp pains were no doubt shooting through their backs from bending over all day, but they continued working to nurture the precious plants that provided their main source of food.
Suddenly, a great wave of loneliness and fear swept through the girl, and she felt sick. "What am I doing?" she asked herself, putting her hand to her stomach. "These people have lived here for generations. I'm just a lost girl to them--a crazy person."
She had always been rather shy, and talking to strangers was never easy for her even in a friendly situation. Here, they would probably not be so welcoming.
No one was coming up to her. It was as if they sensed something strange. A tear pushed its way down her cheek, and she quickly lowered her eyes so no one would notice. She walked over to a bank leading down to a little creek, where hopefully she could regain her composure. She washed her hands in the water just to have something to do.
She closed her eyes. "Heavenly Father," she whispered. "I didn't know it would be this hard. Please be with me now. I cannot do this alone." Soon, she began to feel a little stronger. "I pray for these people," she continued. "You have been waiting for 6000 years to help them, and they have been waiting all their lives to meet you." She climbed up the embankment and headed back into the village.
Walking up to the first house, she saw a young mother dumping out some old water.
"Anyang Ha-sayo," she called out, bowing slightly and smiling. The woman paused in her doorway, and barely returned the greeting. She seemed uneasy.
The girl walked up to her and said, "I've just come into town for a few weeks. Do you know of any place where I might stay?"
"I don't know of any place," answered the woman.
Undaunted, she continued, "I wonder if there is any way I might be of some help to you."
The mother quickly shook her head and retreated into the darkness of the doorway.
The girl went on to the next house before she could lose any courage. She called out, "Yobosayo! Yobosayo! (Hello! Hello!) After several minutes, an old man hobbled out, and she bowed respectfully.
"What do you want?" he asked in a shaky worn-out voice.
"Halaboji (grandfather), do you have any work that needs to be done," she asked with the best smile she could produce. "I will be in this village for a few weeks, and I would like to be of some help. You don't have to pay me."
He looked at her suspiciously and waved her away. Disappointed, she walked on.
By the time she reached the last house, most people had come home for the night. They seemed to have already heard about her, and she couldn't even get the words out before they shook their heads disapprovingly and told her they didn't want any help.
The sun was getting close to the horizon. What should she do? She trudged back to the creek. There was no food for her that night. She sat looking into the slowly moving waters and prayed. She prayed for each person she had met. She asked God what she should do.
When the sun had disappeared for the night, she spread out her shawl behind a clump of little trees and lay her head on her bundle of belongings. Soon she was fast asleep, unmindful of the night animals around her.
Serving the Villagers
The next morning, she woke up before any of the villagers. In the early morning grayness, she found an old broom behind a shed. She quickly swept the courtyard where several houses faced each other. She tidied it up and then went back to her spot beside the stream.
When the people came out, they noticed the clean courtyard right away.
"What happened?" they asked each other. "Who did this?" It didn't take them too long to figure out that it must have been the young stranger. Nevertheless, they continued to ignore her. The second day was more difficult than the first because, by this time, she was very hungry. At one home, the front room had been made into a sort of store. She went in and bought a big rice ball. She had so little money, she would have to spend it carefully.
She had been brought up in the city and a rather well-to-do home, so farm life was totally new to her. She watched the people throughout the day and saw how hard they worked and how little they had. What a difficult life!
"How can I help these people, Heavenly Father?" she asked. She concentrated on loving them. Hot tears began flowing down her face. All day she prayed, and every time she thought of the hard life of these families her tears refused to stop. She came to understand that these were Heavenly Father's tears. He had seen their suffering for many years, and He could feel his tears for these people running down someone's face.
The next morning, after another night in the clump of trees, she swept the earth around more of the cottages and piled things up neatly. Again, when the villagers awoke, they were astonished.
On the third day, she did more cleaning and gathered straw for repairing the roofs.
Then, she walked around the village and tried once again to talk to the people. She played with the children. One mother even talked to her a few moments, and that is how she learned that all the villagers already knew she was from Teacher Moon's church. How they got that information, she didn't know.
She went back to the clump of trees and prayed even more fervently for them. By this time, she knew all their faces and could picture them in her mind when she prayed.
In the afternoon, she again walked through the village, and the young mother in the first house took pity on her and invited her in for a cup of tea. A few rice cakes were served.
They talked about the children and family life. They talked about the problems of farming. They talked about loneliness and constant fatigue. The mother began to feel she had a friend who understood her- someone who cared.
Again, the girl asked, "Isn't there some way I can help you? I really do want to work."
"Well," answered the young mother, not able to resist such a tempting offer any longer, "if you really want to help, I do have a few things." She looked closely at this strange girl. "But I just don't understand why you are doing it. I can't pay you."
"It's alright," the girl reassured her. "I WANT to do it." Soon she was sweeping and scrubbing floors, washing dishes, and caring for children. She was happy.
The next day, she went around asking the farmers how she could help. One man handed her a tool and said, "Well, if you insist, maybe you could help with some digging."
She worked hard from morning 'til night. The people she worked for shared food with her.
That evening, the villagers gathered in clumps. "Why is she doing this?" they asked each other. "I just don't understand such a person," they said.
"Well, I surely do wish my girl would work that hard," sighed one.
"Maybe she's going to ask for money."
"We better not trust her."
Someone approached her and asked, "Who is your father?" If she was from a special family, they would treat her better. But they learned he was just an ordinary person.
They asked, "Did you finish high school?"
"Yes," she answered, "In fact, I graduated from the University."
"You are a university graduate?" they asked astounded. "But why are you doing farm work?"
She just smiled and picked up a scythe and walked off to cut some weeds before the sun went down.
Now their curiosity was getting really intense. The next day they stopped her again. "Come on. Tell us what you're really doing."
She smiled and answered, "What do you want to know?"
"Everything," they answered. "Our relatives and friends want to know, too."
"Will you gather them all together, and will you let me speak as long as I wish and explain whatever I wish, and will you listen?" she asked. She might as well ask for everything while she was at it.
"Alright," they agreed. "We will let you do that."
The next evening, after the usual long day of work, many of the villagers gathered in the largest home. After they were settled, she stood up to speak. It was unusual for a woman-especially a young one and especially a stranger-to speak to a group of men and women. She took a deep breath and began her story.
"I graduated from Ehwa University," she said. "Almost right away, I met a member of Unification Church, and I learned about a new revelation from God and about a man named Sun Myung Moon. . . ."
They listened, and during parts of her story, tears came to her eyes. As she told them about God's heart of pain, she cried. The villagers were touched. Their hearts came to life. First, some of the women began to cry. Then even some of the men let the tears come. They felt the love of God in their hearts.
When she stopped speaking and sat down, the father stood up, "Even here in our little village," he said, "we have heard terrible stories about your church. We thought it was full of evil people, and, honestly speaking, we were afraid of you. But I can see now that you aren't evil at all. I feel something in my heart I have never felt before. Do you think you could explain this-what do you call it-Divine Principle-to us?"
The girl could only cry and nod her head happily. "It's what I have prayed for," she said.
In the days that followed, she taught almost everyone in the village.
A couple of weeks later, as the girl was working in the rice fields, she noticed a vehicle coming down the road. A vehicle on that road was a rare sight.
All the villagers stopped to look as it pulled into town and came to a stop. It was an American Jeep!
The doors opened on each side and out stepped several men and two women. The man in the lead quickly singled her out and walked straight toward her! His white shirt hung loosely over his pants, and his white hat kept his face in the shadows.
Just then she recognized him and bowed. It was Son Sengnim! She couldn't believe her eyes.
With him was one of the church members with a camera-probably the only member who even had a camera-and Young Oon Kim and Mrs. Won Bok Choi. They had bought a Jeep just so they could travel around and visit all the members.
What a day this was! Son Sengnim asked how she was doing and offered to help. She explained that they were trying to quickly get the new crop of rice seedlings planted because time was running out for a good crop.
"I will help," he said, and she almost fainted with surprise. With great swiftness, he rolled up his pants legs, and soon he was wading up to his knees in muddy water along with the villagers.
That day she saw her honorable teacher work harder than anyone else under the glaring sun. The planting was completed earlier than expected, and that evening the villagers had a wonderful meeting with Teacher Sun Myung Moon. Only later would they realize what an important event it had been.
Back to Chongpadong
When the 40 days were over, the old buses rattled around the countryside picking everyone up. The crippled boy, they learned, had preached in the streets every day, and had tried to sell things to get money for food. The people had cruelly ridiculed him, and many nights he had cried himself to sleep. Now, however, safely seated in the bus, he was all smiles. Through his suffering, he had come very close to Heavenly Father's heart.
When the bus came to the girl's village, her new-found friends had taken time off from their work to see her off. They gave her presents and bowed again and again and cried together. They thanked her for changing their lives, and she felt she was leaving her best friends in the whole wide world.
Meanwhile, back at the Chongpadong Church, Moon Son Sengnim eagerly awaited the return of his dear people. They didn't know it, but he had suffered more than they. He had spent long, long hours in prayer for them each of the 40 days, agonizing over them and crying for them. It would have been easier on him if he had gone out himself. Several nights he even slept out in a field, just so he could feel united with their suffering and feel close to them.
A delicious meal was prepared, and when he saw their bright faces, great was his joy. They ate and talked and sang. As they exchanged their stories, they all looked like shining stars from heaven. Their spirits were big and bright. The prayer service that night was very strong, and the spirit of God came down upon each of them, and it felt like they got a big heavenly hug.