Won Pil Kim nodded his head in agreement but without much feeling of hope. As he wiped the sweat from his brow, he thought to himself, "Where would we ever get enough money for a place of our own? And where would we even find a place? Every dwelling in all Pusan is surely full to overflowing."
Father didn't seem to notice the heat, as his brow formed a thoughtful wrinkle. "I want to show you a place tomorrow, Won Pil."
The next morning, Won Pil Kim followed Father up the steep Pom Net Kol hill where Father had mediated and prayed so many times. They climbed beyond the city to a place where only a cemetery and one house stood.
"The Pusan people tell a story," said Father, "that on this hill a white tiger once appeared. For that reason, no one wants to live here. They are so superstitious."
"Yes, Father," answered Won Pil Kim, "I can understand why."
"We will build a house right here," announced Father as he pointed to a huge rock rising out of the rough, rocky ground. He did not look at his young disciple's surprised face but continued sharing his plans enthusiastically. "We will gather stones and wood and anything else we can find for our building. But first we must level this spot off. I already found a shovel and a sack. We can fill it with dirt from over there, dump it here and pack it down tight. That will be our floor."
He had already picked up an old shovel and a big cloth bag from their hiding place and was walking to the place he had pointed out. Won Pil Kim followed him and soon found himself holding the bag, while Father shoveled dirt into it. When it was full, Won Pil Kim carried it near the big rock and dumped it into the holes. By the time he returned, Father had more dirt already dug up to shovel into the bag. After awhile, they changed jobs. Father worked so fast, however, Won Pil Kim couldn't get very much dirt dug up before Father was back for another load.
All through the month of August, they went to their jobs. They visited people. They prayed. Then they climbed the long hill in the summer heat and worked on their little house. Many weeks they could only build it on Sundays when they were off from work.
Father and Won Pil Kim gathered stones from everywhere. They carried them, a few at a time, to the chosen spot and piled them carefully on top of each other. They stuck smaller rocks and handfuls of soil in between the rocks to hold them in place. The rocks formed the lower part of the house. The upper part was made mostly of wooden boxes, but in some cases, they even used cardboard boxes. They knew that when it rained, these boxes wouldn't last very long, but there weren't enough wooden boxes to be found.
Once, as they were building, the house fell down. Twice, it fell down. But Father never even frowned. He just figured out what was wrong and began again. Finally, on the third try, it grew into something resembling a house---a shack, really. On clear nights Father and Won Pil Kim would be able to admire the stars through the cracks in their roof. In wet weather, rain would drip through and turn their dirt floor into mud. But they were so eager to move in!
One day in September, they were able to stand back and admire their finished handiwork. Their very own home! Here they would be able to stretch out to sleep. They would be free of the landlord's questioning eyes. They could cook their own meals. They could breathe fresh air. And most of all, they could invite people in whenever they wished--- for this house was not just for themselves. It was for doing God's work.
Before they even thought of moving their few belongings in, however, they knelt down to pray. They thanked God for their new home and dedicated it to Him. This humble hut of boxes and stones was God's most holy house.