Readers, I write to you at after midnight here in Korea hoping you receive daily news of activities here at Top Gun.
We began our second pilgrimage today by switching bus partners and meeting a new Top Gun participant. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a sister from Osaka, Japan. Many may wonder how is it possible to connect internationally when you can’t speak the same language. Along with having very dedicated translators who translate to English, Japanese and Korean, many Top Gun participants are somewhat bilingual. In my case, my bus partner and I conversed with her speaking English and I trying to speak in Japanese. It’s not perfect, but somehow we can exchange conversation and share our faith. Many feel the language barrier is not a let down but a push for many of us to try to learn a new language. There is a deep desire to convey love for participants from another country and really get to know each other.
Today we visited Ya Mok church, the Gapsa Temple, and the Rock of MunAm, Naju. Briefly, Ya Mok church was where True Father held the first two 40-day workshops. Gapsa Temple is a symbol of where the Japanese movement originally started. This is where Missionary Choi Bong-chan received a special assignment to carry out missionary work in Japan. The Rock of MunAm represents the origin of the Moon clan or True Father’s ancestors. I received much spiritual inspiration from each location; however I would like to highlight the Gapsa Temple…
As participants were told, after True Father was released from Heungnam Prison, he retreated in Gapsa Temple to recover and move forward from his confinement. At the temple, we did not have a host to share about the location or share stories of True Father in general, so we simply walked around and reflected. Gapsa Temple is a location with multiple temple buildings within a park. Inside these temples are golden Buddha statues and multiple lines of colorful lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Each of the temples are wooden and beautifully painted with vibrant colors. We were able to visit the pine tree where Father prayed during his stay.
One of my thoughts at this temple is that True Father was seeking refuge at this location after prison. He just received injustice and mistreatment; however, he took time to heal himself and reflect. I felt, having gone through a tumble in our movement, True Father was inviting me (and other Top Gun participants) and saying, “Please use this place to heal your pain.” I felt he wanted me to feel better despite the fact that True Father actually had dealt with more pain and suffering than I ever have. Walking out of the temple, I experienced such a relieving change in my heart and felt the urge to move beyond any pain and confusion I have felt in recent years. I am feeling I am getting to know who True Father is through reliving his life and following in his footsteps. What’s interesting is many of the locations we visited are within rural country settings, including lots of farmland and trees. So many of the locations seem to remain the same since the early day of the movement or when True Father would visit. Since many locations were not modernized, we were seeing the sites exactly as True Father was viewing them throughout his life.
True Father and True Mother are truly welcoming us and taking care of us. I do feel guilty because I feel the Korean members have been the ones really staying strong to hold the movement together, and that they should be taken care of more. Our expenses for this trip have mostly been covered, including receiving delicious Korean dishes and retreating at the Korean spa at night. Also, the pilgrimage itself is a blessing. Many members desire to visit such holy ground; however we have immediate access and information to such locations. No words can express how grateful and truly unworthy I am to receive such treatment.