For two long months they had been crawling over snowy mountains carrying a man with a broken leg and trudging through rocky valleys and icy waters. For two long months they had been eating roots from the ground and buying small servings of rice whenever someone gave them a little money. For two endless months they had been sleeping on frozen ground without a warm blanket or coat. They had pushed themselves to their limits and then they had pushed some more.
They peered out into the darkness; then looked at each other and smiled. Their smiles said, "Pusan at last!" But their weary bodies cried out to them, "A little rest, please! Some sleep!"
They looked all around the cold train station and found an old butter can left by the United Nations soldiers. In this, they made a fire and soon received a little warmth. Although they felt as if they were still rocking and bumping with the train, they soon fell into an exhausted sleep.
As soon as the morning sky began to lighten, Father and his beloved disciple, Won Pil Kim, woke up and wasted no time in venturing out onto the chilled gray streets of Pusan. On three sides they could just make out a city that seemed to wrap itself around the steep hills, and on the remaining side was a body of water. Pusan was a port city, and ships were being loaded and unloaded even at this early hour.
Father's first thought was, "How can I quickly find those who worked with me in Seoul and Pyongyang? Heavenly Father, you have been crying for them. I must find them quickly, quickly!"
As they pushed their tired bodies along, Father thought of the separation from his followers while in prison. He thought about his search for them in Pyongyang afterwards and his heartbreaking disappointment when he found so few. He thought about the possibility of finding them in Pusan, and new strength came to him.
Father and Won Pil Kim spent their first day walking the streets and looking hopefully into the thousands of faces. With the little money they had left, they bought a small snack, which was their meal for the day. It didn't give them much energy for climbing up and down the steep hills, but they kept climbing anyway.
Pusan was the only city in all Korea where no Chinese soldiers swarmed through the streets. It was crowded with thousands and thousands of people who had left their homes in the North to escape the threats of the communist soldiers. If they were very lucky, they had moved in with relatives or friends in Pusan. If they were a little lucky, they were living in tents outside the city. Others slept in corners, gateways, or any small space they could find. Since Father and Won Pil Kim were among the last refugees to arrive in Pusan, every spot seemed to be taken.
They soon found someone Father had taught in Seoul about five years earlier, and they were invited to spend the night in his house. What a treat to sleep in an actual room and eat some steaming rice. It wasn't the white clean rice we eat today. It was hard and gritty and mixed with barley, but it was all that was available to most Koreans during those difficult war years.
Father looked around at the crowded room. He didn't want to cause more hardship for these already suffering people, so the next day he insisted on leaving.
Won Pil Kim thought to himself, "Because there are two of us, it will be very difficult for people to invite us in. I must find a way to take care of myself, so it will be easier for Father to find a place to stay." He told Father what he wanted to do, and soon he found a job in a restaurant with a place to sleep nearby.
Meanwhile, within a day, Father noticed a man looking at him. He was looking at Father's ragged dirty clothes and rubber shoes and thinking, "Who is that man? He looks familiar. But I don't know any beggars." Then his eyes lit up in recognition.
"Moon!" he cried excitedly as he came up to Father. Then Father recognized his schoolmate, Duk Moon Aum. They had gone to the university in Japan together years before. They laughed and embraced with joy.
Mr. Aum immediately invited Father to his home. He had become a professor and architect; yet, he lived with his family in only a small apartment. There was hardly any heat, and the food was simple, but at least it was a place to get out of the cold wind, and Father was grateful.
Instead of relaxing, however, Father immediately began talking to Mr. Aum about the ideal world, and he talked about Jesus. Mr. Aum was a Buddhist, so he didn't know much about Jesus.
That night he had a surprising dream. In this dream Jesus' sister spoke to him. "When Jesus was alive," she said, "his mother our mother didn't understand him. She kept fussing at him to stay home and become a good carpenter. Now in spirit world, Jesus feels resentment toward her. It might have been possible for him to succeed, if his mother had prepared him and supported him as the Messiah. The only person who can help Jesus now is your friend, Sun Myung Moon. Please, listen to him and help him!"
The next morning Mr. Aum told Father his dream. Father responded, "I have many things to explain to you." So they sat in Mr. Aum's little home, and Father told him all about the ideal world, the Fall, Jesus' mission, and God's heart. When Mr. Aum heard the wise words of Father, he came to understand that Father was very special. Even though they had been just friends before, he began calling Father "Sungsangnim" (honorable teacher).
After about a week, Father told Mr. Aum he had to go visit some other people. Actually, he had no place to go, but he saw how crowded it was for Mr. Aum's family, and he didn't want to be a burden.
As he walked through the streets, Father prayed earnestly. It was a miracle, that among the thousands of people he met, he quickly found another friend from his earlier days. It was Mr. Kim who had been in Hungnam prison (the one who had followed Father's advice about working in an easier part of the prison and escaping when something looked suspicious).
They were also overjoyed to see each other. "I've been wishing all this time I could report to you," said Mr. Kim excitedly, "that I followed your advice in prison, and when the communists started killing prisoners, I was able to escape. At last, I have the opportunity to thank you for my life."
Father looked at him with a big smile.
"As you can see, I eventually made it to Pusan. I got a job, and now I'm happy to tell you I just got married. Will you please come to my house and meet my bride? We would be most honored to have you stay with us."
Father agreed to go. When they arrived, he saw that Mr. Kim had indeed a nice wife, but he saw also that they had only one small room. He stayed two weeks so he could talk to his friend about Heavenly Father's plan for Korea and the world. But he understood how difficult it was for the newly married couple to have another man living in the same room with them. Again he moved on.
Father's first desire was to find more of his followers. However, there was no one to attend him, so he had to get a job. He found work at the docks, where he spent his precious time loading and unloading ships. It was backbreaking work, and he was still in a weakened condition from prison life and the long trip to Pusan. Although spring was just around the corner, the icy winds still whistled through this port city.
Father learned that, if he worked during the night when it was coldest, it helped to keep him warm. Then he could sleep during the day when it was warmer. Sometimes, he would sleep under someone's porch, but often he would climb one of the mountains, where he could pray and sleep undisturbed.
He also continued to visit Mr. Aum and Mr. Kim, and often he went to see how Won Pil Kim was doing at the restaurant. One day, he brought Mr. Aum and Mr. Kim along to the restaurant. Won Pil Kim went to his boss and asked, "May I offer this man and his guests some food? He is my honorable teacher."
"Alright," said the understanding owner. "They can use the private room in the back, and you may serve them rice and a few things."
Won Pil Kim eagerly pressed the rice down tightly into the bowls, so he could pile more on top. He felt so much joy to be able to serve. Father thanked him cheerfully and asked how he was doing.
"I'm doing well," answered Won Pil Kim. It seemed like only a moment and Father's rice was all eaten. Won Pil Kim refilled the bowl, and again the rice was eaten almost immediately. Then he understood that, even though Father looked happy and well and didn't ask for anything, he was actually starving.
"Why didn't he tell me he was so hungry?" wondered Won Pil Kim. "Why didn't he ask for something special? He just accepts whatever I set before him." Then he promised himself, "I will make sure to prepare plenty of food for him whenever he comes." And he always did.
They had been in Pusan almost four months. In May, Father found a cheap room in a boarding house for homeless workers. He came to Won Pil Kim and suggested, "We could rent a room together at this boarding house. Then we could be together again, and save money, as well. How does that sound?"
"It sounds wonderful," said Won Pil Kim enthusiastically, for he missed being with his beloved teacher so very much.
When they moved in, they found that the room was more like a closet. They couldn't even stretch out full length to sleep. Later, when Mr. Aum sometimes spent the night with them, he had to sleep leaning against the wall. But they didn't care. It was such a great comfort to be together again.
As time went on, Won Pil Kim came to appreciate much more deeply the greatness of Father. He saw how he was always thinking of others. He saw that Father never complained about the cold that had chilled his bones day and night. He never mentioned the prison wounds that still caused him pain. He never mentioned the pangs of hunger in his shrunken stomach. He never said, "Oh, I wish I could taste some pulgogi and fresh kimchee and some really good quality white rice." Instead, he would look kindly at Won Pil Kim and ask, "Are you alright? Did you get something to eat today? Are you warm enough?"
Won Pil Kim always reassured him he was fine. But actually, he was hungry and tired most of the time, also. Neither one wanted to worry the other so great was their love.
The pain in Father's heart was greater than the pain in his body when he looked at his young faithful disciple. "I'm sorry you must suffer so much," he said silently. "You gave up everything. Now you are in rags, and your stomach cries out constantly for food." Father's tears flowed for this dear young man who had come so many miles with him.
This is the kind of person Father was. This is the kind of person he is. When we suffer, he suffers. Perhaps we can say to him, "It's alright, Father. Don't worry about me. I want to help you. I want to be your disciple."
Then his eyes will fill with tears, and he will feel better. And God's eyes will fill with tears, and He will feel better.