On January 24, Shoto Headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo, and churches across the country were connected via the internet for a special gathering of Korean residents in Japan. Bang Sang-il,
Regional Group President of Heavenly Japan of Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community, gave a message of encouragement urging families of Japanese-Korean couples to stand at the forefront of activities to grow Heavenly tribal messiahship in order to bring victory as Cheonbo families. In this article, we will post the message from President Bang Sang-il; remarks from his wife, Kazuyo Fujinohara; the opening address by Kim Won-sik, Secretary General of the Central Office of the Federation for Peace and Unification; and testimonies from Lee Yong-woo and Kang Kyung-hee, Directors of the International Cooperation Bureau. (Editorial Department)
Glad to lose family quarrels for marital and familial harmony
It will be 22 years since I came to Japan. My first post was at a small church in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. At that time, I didn’t understand Japanese at all and my wife, who interpreted for me, seemed greater than even the True Parents. When she was gone from sight, I felt uneasy and scared, even if it was just for a minute. It was during these moments when I finally realized that I had “been living without recognizing her value.”
My wife was the God and Messiah most dearest to me, who would protect my life. All of the married men here, please think about how precious your wives are. All married women, please feel how precious your husbands are. If you do so, you’ll be able to understand the full meaning of “true family.”
We are blessed families that promote the movement of building true families, the movement of blessed marriages, but what would happen if we are not exemplary models of blessed families to the rest of the world? If we are not embodiments of this ideal, this movement would be nothing but a farce. That would only cause disappointment to Heaven and True Parents.
However, when you are suddenly told to “respect and serve your spouse as if they were God,” many of you may find it very difficult. So I will tell you my secret. After much consideration, I’ve decided that “losing is winning, so lose unconditionally.” When I get into a quarrel with my wife, I stand down unconditionally. I’m much happier when I lose such quarrels. Please give it a shot. If you keep doing it for 20 or 30 years, you’ll see how much happier you’d become by losing.
We should never lose the battle against evil in the world, but we should be happy to lose at home. That is the recipe for winning forever. It sounds like a lie, but that’s the secret to a happy marriage and a happy family.
True Parents: the ones that freed God from 6,000 years of darkness
The human ancestors of Adam and Eve fell, but fallen humans cannot go to heaven as they are. They need to be restored through indemnity, and conditions need to be made for indemnity. During the Old Testament period, offerings were made; during the New Testament period, children were offered; and during the Completed Testament period, parents were offered to heaven. And in the Age of Cheon Il Guk, we need to be living offerings. Only in that way can we go to heaven.
How pitiful has the Heavenly Parent (God) been? For 6,000 years, He could not rest for even one moment and has walked in the dark. One of the key points spoken by True Father at the Coronation Ceremony of God’s Kingship (held on January 13, 2001) was to liberate God from this pain. Father said, “God is one year old today because he has finally been able to appear in a bright place through the Coronation Ceremony of God’s Kingship.” I felt His loneliness and sorrow where this pain nearly shattered my heart.
True Father had described darkness as a prison. God had been imprisoned to the point where He could not claim that human beings were His children. Through the fall, all of God’s children became sons and daughters of Satan.
In order to retrieve His lost children, God ordained the providence of making offerings to Cain and Abel in Adam’s family; He ordered Noah to make the ark, which took 120 years; and to Abraham, who was given Isaac at the age of 100, He ordered him to offer his beloved son as a burnt offering to heaven. And Jacob had to make Esau, who was trying to kill him, surrender on his own accord by loving him. This is probably the most beautiful story of brotherly love in biblical history. In addition, Perez and Zerah fought in Tamar’s womb to restore the birthright, and as a result of laying heaven’s foundations, Jesus Christ was able to come as the begotten son. It took 4,000 years to get to this point.
In Christianity, God is believed to be omniscient and omnipotent—the Lord of glory—and that He would grant everything you pray for. For 2,000 years, Christians have been asking the great God to “do” things. But God was not one who looked at people from a high place comfortably. God had to walk through darkness due to the fall of the human ancestors, and He even had to face the sorrow of seeing his beloved and only begotten son, Jesus, be crucified.
The Israelites persecuted Jesus as they were bound by their history and values. In like manner, unfaithful Christians try to drag True Parents down today. In other words, they want them dead. When I had been part of the established church, I cursed True Father and Mother a lot. I did not even doubt what my pastors were saying (about True Parents) and even imitated them.
Despite being condemned and persecuted (by the churches), True Parents began the blessed marriage (movement) in order to liberate God from His resentment. You have all taken the holy wine which True Parents gave you, clearing you of original sin. Do you remember all of the conditions you set in order to receive the blessing? Do you remember the difficulties you faced? Every time I look back on my walk of faith, I sometimes question whether I am a “benevolent thief.”
We have been called by heaven to shine light on the world
When comparing ourselves to the standards of True Parents, we wouldn’t be able to call our paths “difficult.” We may struggle to cope with reality, but I think we are too preoccupied with the values of this world. You don’t have to walk this path of faith if your goal in life is to live up to these worldly values. Even though heaven has chosen us to light the world, we still seek money because the world is after money, and we seek honor because people want honor. But is that really alright?
I experienced the Gwangju Uprising (May 1980) as a freshman in college. When I took to the streets as a demonstrator, I was nearly beaten to death by soldiers that were enforced through martial law, and they told me to “go home” upon my release. Since then, I have wrestled with the questions of what purpose life serves and what the reasons are for (the government) to try and kill my compatriots. Under such circumstances, I participated in workshops of the Unification Church and was convinced that True Parents were the Messiah—the Second Advent—so my life completely flipped 180 degrees.
After those workshops, I left my university studies untouched and devoted myself to witnessing. When I walked around the campus to witness, I sometimes took a rest in the classrooms because I was tired, but some of the professors would notice that I wasn’t there to study and said, “Why are you sitting here? Aren’t you witnessing? Get out of here!” and I’d be kicked out.
Why was I so preoccupied with witnessing? Because I thought that meeting True Father and Mother was the greatest “success” in my life. The goal of Christianity is to meet the Messiah. Today, about a-third of the world’s population is said to believe in Christianity. If they only knew that their long-awaited Second Coming has already arrived, would they not take action like I have?
Rather than pay attention in class, I felt it more urgent to give life (with the truth) to as many people as possible, so I was able to devote myself to witnessing college students and nurturing many spiritual children. I feel young people concerned about life can be restored more quickly. That is because once people get married and have more children, they become preoccupied with protecting their children and don’t have as much time to worry about personal (spiritual) matters.
Memories of Geomun Island (Yeosu): resting under the same roof with True Parents
After 6,000 years, True Parents have come as Heaven’s only begotten son and daughter. How precious is a single day, hour, minute, or even second that you can walk with them? The more I think about it, the more regret I feel that I couldn’t give anything back.
My heart still aches when I think of June 24, 2012 (May 5 in the Heavenly Calendar). That day, True Father invited Japanese leaders to Geomun Island.
As soon as we had arrived at Geomun Island, True Father said he was going to hold a fishing competition. I hate long trips involving cars and airplanes. Besides, I don’t like boats very much because they can sway and I get seasick. So for me, fishing on a boat is nothing more than trying to survive seasickness and somehow make it back. I can’t be bothered with what I need to do in order to catch a big fish. So that day, I took medicine for motion sickness and even applied motion sickness patches to my ears and stomach, but none of them worked. I just fell down while holding my fishing rod.
It was such a windy day that it was not suitable for fishing, so the whole catch was terrible and the biggest fish was only 13 centimeters. When we returned to the lodgings, True Father asked us, “Did you guys catch a lot of fish,” and he called out for the first-place winner. Father had already prepared the prize money and was waiting for us.
After giving the prize money to the first-place winner, True Father asked, “How big (long) was the fish?” When the winner had answered, “I’m sorry, Father. Only 13 centimeters,” he shouted in disgust, “Thirteen centimeters?!” and told him to return the prize money. All the leaders there felt bad for not being able to meet Father’s wishes and expectations.
After a short while, True Father said, “You guys all sleep here with me today.” Imagine resting under the same roof as True Parents. How exciting it was! True Father and Mother slept on the second floor and we slept on the first floor, but it felt so close that sleep never came to me. Kim Man-jin, leader of District 4, was also there, and when I asked him whether True Parents were really right above us, he confirmed with a deep sigh, “Yeah!”
The thought that I couldn’t be filial looms in my heart
The next morning after hoon dok hae, True Father gifted us with his favorite fishing rod and hat and also gave us some walnuts. Father, then, left for the Cheon Jeong Gung Museum, and he phoned Song Yeong-seop, then-chairman of the National Blessed Families’ Federation, to tell him for us to come to the Cheon Jeong Gung Museum. So we took a boat out of Geomun Island and chartered a direct bus there.
I wondered if True Father was worried that he hadn’t given the prize money. When we arrived at the Cheon Jeong Gung Museum, he divided the prize money amongst all of us, and they ate with us and let each of us sing a song. I sang Higher Ground. I don’t know how well I had sung, but True Father watched me intently. When we parted, he told us he’d take a commemorative photo with us and he took pictures with us. That was the last communion the Japanese leaders had with him.
In my heart, I still think, “Only if we, the disciples, had more faith and had been able to catch bigger fish…We were allowed to rest near True Father and he shared his love with us, but I wasn’t able to do one thing for him in a filial way…”
During our time on Geomun Island, True Father was in good health, but he then went to Las Vegas, USA, where I heard that he caught a cold and started coughing severely. Las Vegas is called “Sin City.” Father said, “As the True Parent of humankind, I cannot neglect Las Vegas. I have to put it in order,” and so he had been devoting himself there for several years.
True Father falls ill, hospitalized upon returning to Korea
During his childhood, Father had attended Osan School in Jeongju which had relocated to Yongsan, Seoul, and on August 2 he visited that school. On August 12, after touring around the Cheongpyeong housing complex, he arrived back at Cheon Jeong Gung Museum. However, at the entrance, he said he had to “make the last prayer” and offered a prayer before Heaven proclaiming that he’d had “accomplished everything.”
Don’t you feel downcast when you think about Father’s seunghwa? (In a way,) we have become “sinners.” We weren’t able to serve Father in a way where he could rest peacefully.
The greatness of True Mother who served True Father for 53 years
True Mother has pledged that she would “accomplish everything that True Father couldn’t. Don’t worry,” and has shown us constant headway. Mother has lived with Father all her life. She is no “ordinary person” because she had accompanied Father who pushed beyond the limits of the physical body.
You all know Park Jong-gu (36 couple), who was called, “Tiger Park.” I heard that he was endowed with a better physique than True Father. One day, Father ordered him, “Park Jong-gu! Be my bodyguard!” Rev. Park was so happy that he said, “At last, I am able to serve Father closely,” and he was appointed to the positions of Secretary General and Head of Security.
The head of security cannot rest until confirming that True Father had gone to bed. They can’t say, “Father, I’m going to bed first.” It is said that Father usually got up around 4 in the morning. The head of the security also cannot be someone that says, “Father, you’re already up?” So they have to get up before Father, around 3 or 3:30.
Rev. Park wasn’t able to sleep much, so his physical strength gradually declined. On the morning of the fourth day (since being appointed Head of Security), Rev. Park was sitting in front of Father at a prayer meeting, but he had cut a toothpick in half and placed them in his eyes to keep his eyelids open. Father was surprised and asked, “What are you doing?” I heard that Rev. Park replied, “Unless I do this, I’ll fall asleep. After three days, I find it utterly impossible to follow (what you do).”
True Father asked him to take a rest and said, “Go and rest. You may have a better physique than me, but you don’t seem capable of following me mentally.” But Rev. Park answered, “No, I’m fine,” and remained with toothpicks in his eyes. And on the fifth day, Father said, “If this goes on, you’ll ruin your health. I can’t let you die, so go and rest.” So, Rev. Park left the room saying, “I’m very sorry, but I will rest for just a while.” It’s said he didn’t wake up until three days later.
True Mother lived with True Father for 53 years. She gave birth to 14 children, and I’ve heard that there are long-term effects from having that many children. So I am amazed at Mother’s mental toughness.
Recently, I have heard a lot of testimonies about True Mother’s memoir. Some of the members, who hadn’t been going to church, were given her biography and after reading it, they have said things like, “Why have I neglected the church? I feel ashamed,” and have come back. The path Mother has walked moves people and leads them back to the church.
This year is the Year of the Ox. According to the Divine Principle, the cow symbolizes completion; therefore, now is the time of completion. In Gyeogamyulog (a Korean book of prophecies written about 500 years ago) horses are described as fathers and cows as mothers, and it is written that at the last days, you should go to the place where the cows sing. Therefore, if you go to the place where Mother speaks, you will be saved.
Astonished by Rev. Ken Sudo still pushing forward with the word even after turning 90
Recently, Rev. Ken Sudo (43 couple) often visits me. We would talk for at least two or three hours.
When Rev. Sudo was praying on how to bring a-third of the world’s population before heaven, which is one of True Mother’s wishes, he told me he received a revelation to “meet the Pope and testify that the Second Coming has come on earth and about the existence of True Parents of humankind.” So he asked me if I could make some network with the Vatican. When I proposed to work with the Universal Peace Federation and American clergymen, he seemed excited and said, “That’s it!” Even at the age of 90, I was shocked to see him working so hard to fulfill the wishes of True Parents, and at the same time, I realized again how noble senior members are.
A-third of Japan’s population is about 40 million. We need to let them know who the True Parents of humankind are. As a foothold, let us build a base of 10,000 people in each church district. There are 67 church districts (in Japan), so that would be 670,000 people. If we multiply that by ten, we will have 6.7 million people; and if we multiply that by ten, we will be able to fulfill heaven’s wish. Please be members who take interest in building this foundation of 10,000 people in each church district.
When I gave a report to True Mother, I said, “There are many Korean men and women in Japan, as well as families of Japanese-Korean couples, so a golden opportunity has finally come for them to walk with True Mother.”
All of you are the closest ones to becoming victorious families that can register into Cheonbo. A Japanese-Japanese couple could only hope to bring victory to 430 families from families in Japan. On the other hand, why don’t Koreans take any action even though the foundation in Korea has been acknowledged? Even if we can’t visit Korea at the moment, we have the internet. Please be active and approach your friends and relatives (in Korea). Heaven will tell you what you need to do.
Please make up your minds to bring victory in the Cheonbo registration. If you don’t make up your mind, you won’t be able to bring victory. (If you say,) I can’t make up my mind today, so I’ll make the determination tomorrow. What kind of attitude is that? When tomorrow comes, your inspiration will wear off. But when you make the determination, make sure to specify the length of time, such as, “I will invest in the next month and accomplish my goal in February,” or “I’ll definitely accomplish it by April.” Just thinking “I’ll do it” (without a clear timeframe) is vague and you will end up just spending time.
Support each other as brothers and sisters and be registered into Cheonbo together
After the “Hyojeong Culture: The Blessing Celebration of Families of True Love” (November 23, 2019), in which 15,000 people participated, I wrote a letter to True Mother. I’d like to share a little of what I wrote.
Mother, even now, I can’t forget the time when I joined the Unification Church from Christianity and met True Parents. That is the root of my faith. There was one thing I swore before heaven. I am no Joshua or Caleb, but I stood at the highest point on Chungjangno in Gwangju and stretched out my arms in prayer and shouted:
“Heavenly Father, I have met True Parents, the Messiah of humankind. My wish has been fulfilled. I will return all of the 1 million people of Gwangju to Heaven.”
I don’t know how much I cried when I made that prayer. It wasn’t fake. I will never forget the touching moment when the Messiah, whom Christians have been waiting for, appeared in front of me.
However, I have not been able to restore 1 million people so far. How difficult it is to witness to even one person? I had a lot of setbacks. I planned out my steps many times, but witnessing has been difficult.
But still, I have come to Taiwan and gained the confidence that I can witness to a million people. Mother, I am sure that we’d be able to establish a million members in Taiwan as soon as possible. Trust me. This rally we just held with 15,000 people was a great success. I will soon increase these 15,000 people to 150,000, and later to 1.5 million.”
I made a promise to True Mother to incite inspiration, as well as, declare no retreat. That is how I’ve made progress.
Now is not the time to ask whether a family has been blessed or not: the question is whether they are Cheonbo families or not. Please invest all that you have to bring victory as a Cheonbo family. Those who have already been victorious should have a humble attitude again and support the members around them. Brothers and sisters should go to heaven together.
Let us liberate God, step by step, from His resentment from 6,000 years of history, as we rejoice and share in happiness with True Parents. Those who join the advance party will be the most prestigious families in human history.