Everything was so quiet on the mountainside. Every now and then a bird sailed silently through the air. Father waited quietly for God's answer. Then deep inside himself Father heard God say, "Go to Japan to school. You must learn about Japan and the Japanese people."
Father bowed his head even more deeply when he heard this. "Heavenly Father, I will go to Japan. But I will need your help. I've never been to another country before."
It was quite a scary thing to think of going to Japan. When Father was 19 years old, Japan and Korea were enemy countries. Father thought about the Japanese soldiers who came to his town. They never smiled. They only gave orders to the Korean people. The Japanese soldiers made all the Koreans speak Japanese instead of Korean. It was so hard to learn this language of the enemy. It was always a good feeling to speak Korean to his father and mother at home, but Father had to speak Japanese in school.
There on the mountainside, Father thought about all these things. But whenever he felt scared it seemed that God put His arms around him, and made Father feel strong and good inside. He said to God, "I know You do not want the Japanese and Korean people to be enemies. I will go there for You."
It was long ago, so the train was a big black train that was very slow and made a lot of rattling noises. The ride took all day long, and there was nothing to do but to look out the window at the countryside. This was the first time Father had ever seen the southern part of Korea. As the train slowly chugged along, Father saw how poor the Korean people really were. They didn't have cars or trucks or tractors. The farmers all did the hard work with their own hands. He saw them bending over, working in the rice fields. Their backs were hurting.
When he looked at the Korean people he saw that their faces looked tired. They had many wrinkles. Their clothes were old and worn. But the old people kept working so hard. Father watched an old, old grandmother carrying a heavy load on her back. Tears began to roll down Father's cheeks. He wiped them away, but more and more tears came.
A very nice lady was sitting beside Father on the train. She saw him crying. "Where are you going?" she asked. Father said, "I'm going to Japan to attend the university." "Oh, dear," she said, "you must be so sad to leave your home." She patted him on the shoulder, trying to comfort him. She had a very nice face, like Father's mother, but Father kept on crying and crying.
Father wasn't crying about leaving home. He was crying because the Korean people were so poor. He said to Heavenly Father, "I know You have a special plan for Korea. But why did You choose Korea? It's such a poor country. How can I ever help this country become great?" Father also felt sorry that the Korean people were like slaves to the Japanese soldiers who were marching around and controlling everything. Father knew that God wanted Korea to be free. "In Japan I will work to make Korea free," Father promised.
Finally, the big train chugged slowly to a stop. They had arrived safely, and everyone was glad. Father still had tears in his eyes when he said good-bye to the nice lady who had sat beside him the whole day. But she never knew why he was crying.
Father got off the train and looked around. Now he had to find the dock and take the boat to Japan. He asked a man, "Where is the boat to Japan?" The man pointed to the left. Father picked up his suitcase and carried it the long way down the path to the dock. There was the boat waiting to take its passengers to Japan. Father joined the other passengers on the boat. After the long noisy and dirty train ride, the boat felt so quiet and peaceful. The water was calm as Father waved good-bye to Korea, his home, and sailed out into the sea toward Japan.
In his heart Father thought, "I must work in Japan so that someday the Korean and Japanese people can be like one family, not enemies." Thinking about this, Father sat down beside his suitcase. As the boat skimmed over the waters in the moonlight, the quiet motion of the waters rocked Father to sleep. God watched over him with love, because God knew that his work would be very hard.
When the boat entered the dock in Japan, the sun was shining. Father stood on deck, awake and excited, eager to try out his new home.
Father always found ways to make friends. He was good at many things, both playing and working, so people often gathered to watch him. Sometimes they talked to him, because they admired how strong he was.
One day when Father was walking down the street, he noticed a group of beggars by the side of the road. Father thought about how poor the Korean people were, so he felt sorry for the Japanese beggars. He said to himself, "I will visit those beggars and take care of them."
Father walked back to his room and got some rice. The beggars were sitting in the dirt by the street and held out their hands for money or food whenever someone went by. They were so hungry. When they looked at Father, even their eyes looked hungry. Their bodies were skinny and dirty. Their black hair was long and stringy. Father looked at one beggar and said, "Here, I brought you some rice." Hungrily, they grabbed the rice and ate it quickly. One of them looked up at Father and said, "Arigato gosiamas." This means "thank you" in Japanese. They looked surprised that a Korean college student was kind to them.
So Father became a friend. He brought rice often. One day he surprised them by pulling out a pair of scissors. "I'm going to give you haircuts," he announced. One by one they sat on a box and chunks of dirty black hair fell on the street. One man said gratefully, "Now I feel like a person again." That made Father smile.
When Father was finished he sat down on the wooden box with them. They all told stories about their families. Father told them that being Korean or Japanese didn't matter. "We are all one family," he explained. Were they ever surprised to hear that!
They soon began to love Father very, very much. It was a funny sight, four Japanese beggars and one Korean student, talking and laughing together. Sometimes Father had to study for a test and missed a day with them. The beggars' day was so boring then. All day they waited for Father. "Where is that young fellow, Moon,?" they asked. "We sure do miss him." They always remembered the young Korean who brought joy to their hearts and put food in their stomachs. Their countries were enemies but they loved each other because they were people. As Father had learned in the mountain, all people are God's children.
One day he found a job carrying coal from a ship at the dock to a storage place. Father had to carry the heavy black coal in bags. It made him dirty and tired to carry it. Most people did not want to do such a dirty, hard job. Each time Father trudged up the hill with a bag of coal on his back, people laughed at him. Little children pointed and said, "Look at that dirty man." Father gritted his teeth and kept going. He said to God, "Heavenly Father, I'm doing this to bring your love to Japan. But they don't know it. Please, please help me to love these people."
Father wanted to earn money quickly, because he had many other things to do. Suddenly, Father had a bright idea. If a whole group of people carried the coal, they could get it done quickly. Father hurried back to see his friends. "Hey, guys," he said, "I found a job carrying coal. Why don't we all work together. Then we'll get this job done quickly. We can divide the pay, and we'll all have some money." "Yes," his friends agreed, "Let's do it." They all went down to the dock and began to carry the heavy bags. They worked all day. Soon they were covered with coal dust. As the sweat ran down their faces, it made streaks. "Whew, this is hard work," one friend panted. "Sure is," another answered, "but if we all work together, it's true that we can get more done than if Sun Myung-san does it alone."
It grew dark, and they kept working. All night they worked. When the sun came up, they worked all the next day, too. Father kept cheering them on, and it gave them energy to keep going.
Finally, the last bag of coal was in storage. The little group of tired young fellows, their faces covered with black coal dust and streaked by their sweat, walked painfully back to the boss." We're here for our pay!" Father said. "What?" said the boss, "How did you do it so fast? It usually takes more than a week. Is this a trick?" He checked, but all the coal was gone from the dock. It was neatly stacked at the storage place.
He shook his head. "I just can't believe it, but here is your pay." Father and his friends joyfully divided it. Then each went home with a wad of money in his pocket. Father ate a big supper, and went to the public bath for a good soak. He was dead tired, but before he went to sleep, he thanked God that now he had money to buy food for a long time. He would have some time to do more important things.
Because carrying coal was such dirty work, only the very poor people were willing to do this job in Japan. Father worked for a coal company. He carried people's coal to their houses all through the winter, and each person paid him for the coal. In this way he earned enough money to live on.
That night when Father said his prayers, he thanked God that one Japanese person had been kind to him. Father said to Heavenly Father, "Because of this kind Japanese man, it will be easier to forgive all those people who were unkind." Then he went to sleep with a more peaceful and happy heart.
There was one more person who was kind to Father in Japan. She was Father's landlady. Father rented a small room in her house. When Father came home from studying, she was always there to welcome him. Father would greet her and talk to her about his day. She began to love Father as if he was her own son. She never knew that Father was God's special son, that he had a special mission to be the Messiah. Father always remembers her kindness. Because of her, Father could more easily forgive the people who treated him badly every day.
So even in a nation of enemies Father found friends!