As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen
Re: Ocean Providence
Within True Father's autobiography, there are several sections where He discusses topics that are directly related to Ocean Providence.
Money Earned Honorably, Used Prayerfully
Funds accumulated through business operations are sacred. For business profits to be sacred, however, it is important not to lie or to take excessive profit. When conducting business, we must always be honest, and we must never take a profit of more than 30 percent. Money earned in this honorable manner must, of course, be spent prayerfully. It must be spent with a clear purpose and intent. This is the principle of business management that I have promoted throughout my life. I believe the purpose of business is not simply to make money. It is also to support the missionary work, which is the work of God.
One reason I worked to create funds for missionary work through business was that I did not want to take money from our members for this purpose. No matter how lofty the purpose might be, sending missionaries overseas could not be accomplished just by wishing it. It required funds. These funds should be earned in the name of the church. Funds for missionary work had to be earned in an honorable way. Only then could we be proud of everything we did.
As I looked at various options for making money, postage stamps caught my eye. In those days, I was suggesting to members that they write to each other at least three times a month. Mailing a letter cost 40 won, but I suggested that they not simply place one 40-won stamp on their letters. Instead, I suggested they use forty 1-won stamps. We took the canceled postage stamps from these letters, sold them, and managed to make 1 million won in the first year. Seeing that used postage stamps, which seemed insignificant, could bring in big money, the members continued this work for seven years. We also sold black-and-white photographs of famous places or popular entertainment personalities that we had hand-colored with paint. This business also contributed significantly to the operation of our church activities.
As the church grew, postage stamps and painted photographs were no longer enough to generate the funds we needed for our missionary work. We needed to take our business to a higher level if we were to send missionaries all over the world. In 1962, before the Korean government redenominated the currency, a lathe that the Japanese had been using but then abandoned in 1945 was purchased for 720,000 won. Following redenomination, it was worth 72,000 won. Korean currency was pegged to the U.S. dollar, then at 125 won per dollar, so the official value of the investment was $576. We placed this lathe in the coal briquette storage room of the “enemy property” house we were using as our church and called it Tongil Industries.
“To you, this lathe may seem insignificant,” I explained. “You may wonder what kind of business we are going to do by installing one piece of old and used machinery. This machine that you see here, however, will be multiplied before long to become 7,000—and even 70,000— lathes, and the company will develop along with Korea’s defense and automobile industries. This machine that we installed today will surely be a cornerstone for building our country’s automobile industry. Have faith. Have the conviction that this will surely happen.”
This was what I said to those then gathered in front of the coal briquette storage room. It was a humble beginning, but our purpose was lofty and great. They responded to my call and worked with dedication. As a result, in 1963 we were able to start another business on a somewhat larger scale. This involved building a fishing boat. The boat was launched at a pier in the Manseok Dong section of Incheon and christened Cheon Seung Ho, meaning Victory of Heaven. Some two hundred people attended the ceremony where this fishing boat was sent out onto the ocean.
Water is the source of life. We were all born from our mothers’ wombs. Inside those wombs is water, so we were born from water. I launched the boat with the belief that, in a similar way to how we receive life from water, we need to go out onto the ocean and pass through a series of trials there in order to become capable of surviving the trials we will face on land.
Cheon Seung Ho was an exceptional boat. It sailed throughout the Yellow Sea and caught many fish. The reaction of many, though, was that we had enough to do on land and that there was no need for us to be going out onto the ocean and catching fish. I sensed, however, that the world was about to enter an oceanic era. The launching of Cheon Seung Ho was a small, but precious, first step in opening that era. I was already picturing in my mind the vast ocean with boats larger and faster than Cheon Seung Ho.
Our Future Lies with the Ocean
(Continued from speaking about His first World Tour in 1965)
As I toured the world, no one knew that plans were being made to develop economic foundations on a worldwide scale. As the church grew and the number of missions increased, the amount of funds we needed to support these activities increased dramatically. We needed income. As I toured forty-eight states in the United States, I gave much thought to the kinds of businesses that could support the activities we had planned.
What came to my mind then was that Americans eat meat every day. I checked the price of a cow. I saw that a cow that costs a small amount in Florida could cost several hundred dollars in New York. But when I checked the price of tuna, I discovered that one bluefin tuna cost more than $4,000. Tuna lay more than 1.5 million eggs at a time, whereas a cow will have only one calf at a time. It was clear that catching tuna would be a much better business endeavor than raising cattle.
One problem was that Americans did not eat much fish. The Japanese, however, were extremely fond of tuna. There were many Japanese living in the United States then, and expensive restaurants operated by Japanese sold raw tuna at a high price. Also, some Americans who were learning to enjoy raw fish enjoyed eating tuna.
The earth where we live is covered by more ocean than land. The United States has two oceans and therefore plenty of fish. Also, beyond the two hundred–mile limit, no country has territorial claims on the ocean. Anyone can go out to catch fish. In order to start a farm or raise cattle, we would need to buy land, but there is no need for that in the ocean. All we needed was one boat, and we could go as far as necessary in order to catch fish. The ocean is filled with things to eat. Also, on the ocean surface, there is an active shipping industry. Ships carry things made in countries all over the world to be sold elsewhere. The ocean is a treasure trove that guarantees humankind a bright future. That is why I teach that those who are concerned with the future of humanity must be concerned with the oceans. When we can love and inherit the oceans, we inherit the future.
We purchased several boats in the United States. These were not the large ships that might be seen in a brochure but boats about thirty-four feet to thirty-eight feet in length. They could pursue tuna with their engines turned off. They were fishing boats about the size of a yacht that would not have major accidents. These boats were placed in Washington, San Francisco, Tampa, and Alaska.
We also purchased a ship repair facility. We did a lot of our own research. We placed one boat in each region and measured the water temperature. We checked to see how many tuna were caught each day, and placed the data on a chart. We didn’t just take data that experts had created previously; our members went into the water themselves to gather the information. The results of studies done by university-based researchers in the area were used as reference. In addition, I went to those areas, lived there myself, and checked them out. No data was more accurate than what we gathered.
We went to a lot of trouble to conduct this research, but we did not keep it to ourselves. Instead, we shared it with the fishing industry. We also developed new fishing grounds. If too many fish are caught in one area, it depletes the fish population. It is important to go to new areas. Within a short time, we had made a major impact on the U.S. fishing industry.
We entered the business of catching fish on the open sea. Our idea was that one ship would go out to sea and catch fish for at least six months without returning to port. When the ship had all the fish it could carry, a transport ship went out to it, took its fish, and resupplied it with food and fuel. The ship had refrigeration facilities where it could store fish for a long time.
The name of our ship was New Hope, and it was well known for being able to catch many fish. I took that boat out myself and caught tuna. People were often afraid of getting on boats. When I suggested to young people that they get on a boat, their first reaction was often one of fear.
“I get seasick,” I often heard them say. “All I have to do is get on a boat, and I start getting woozy and feel like I’m going to die.”
So I got on the boat myself first. From that day, I went out on the boat almost every day for seven years. Even now, when I am ninety years old, I like to go out on the ocean whenever I have the time. Now, there are more and more young people who say they want to go out on the boats. More women say they want to do this. With any task, if the leader does it first, the people follow. As a result, I have become well known as a tuna fisherman.
It would have been of little use, however, if we had only caught the tuna. We also needed to be able to sell it at the right price. We created a tuna-processing facility, and I even sold the tuna myself. We put the tuna in refrigerated trucks and went out and sold them. If selling was difficult, we started our own seafood restaurants and sold the tuna directly to consumers. Once we had our own restaurants, people could not ignore us.
The United States has three of the world’s four largest fishing grounds. Three-quarters of the world’s fish population live in waters near the United States. Yet, the United States has relatively few people to catch fish, and its fishing industry is extremely underdeveloped. The government has taken many measures designed to support the fishing industry, but they have not had a major effect. The government offered to sell boats at a big discount on the condition that buyers use them for two and a half years, but few people took advantage of the opportunity. How frustrating this is. When we started to put money into the fishing industry, it caused a stir in each port where we went. This was not surprising, since communities prospered wherever we invested. Our work, ultimately, was to pioneer new worlds. We were not simply catching fish. We were taking paths not taken by others. How exciting it is to pioneer new paths!
The ocean changes constantly. They say people’s minds change morning and night, but the ocean changes moment to moment. That is why the ocean is both mysterious and beautiful. The ocean embraces everything in heaven and earth. It can come together at a particular spot and form clouds or become rain and fall back down. I am very fond of nature, because it never deceives. If it is high, it becomes lower; if it is low, it becomes higher. In every instance, it adjusts its height to become flat. If I am sitting holding a fishing pole, it seems as though I have all the time in the world. What is there on the ocean to stand in our way? Who is there to make us hurry? We have a lot of time for ourselves. All we need to do is watch the ocean and talk with it. The longer a person spends on the ocean, the greater the spiritual aspect of his life will become. The ocean, however, can be calm one minute but then quickly change its face and send us strong waves. Waves several times the height of a person will rise up above the boat, as if to devour it. A strong wind will tear at the sail and make a fearful sound.
Think of this, though. Even when the waves have risen and a fearful wind is blowing, the fish in the water have no trouble sleeping. They give themselves over to the waves and don’t resist them. This is what I learned from the fish. I decided not to be afraid, no matter how strong the waves were. I let the waves carry me. I made myself one with the boat, and we rose with the waves. Once I started doing that, my heart was never shaken, no matter what kind of waves I came up against. The ocean has been such a wonderful teacher for me in my life that I created the Ocean Challenge program to give young people the leadership training the ocean provides.
Master of the Seas and the Future of the World
History has shown that the country that controls the seas will become a world leader. Consider Britain. It was once invaded by the Vikings from Norway and Sweden. In the sixteenth century, soon after she was crowned, Queen Elizabeth I realized that if Britain didn’t have control of the sea it could lose everything. She strengthened her country’s maritime policy, and through her dedicated effort Britain became a powerful maritime country. She mobilized capital and technology to have strong ships built, manned the ships with brave sailors, and sent them out to sea. They did not know what was waiting for them beyond the seas, but they risked their lives to go. As a result, Britain, a small island nation in the Atlantic, came to possess colonies on all the continents and oceans and built an empire.
Western civilization centering on Britain saw tremendous development in science and technology. With the aid of the compass, British ships journeyed to many different places in the world. The country’s highly developed material knowledge and technology gave it abilities with which it sought to conquer the entire world.
Korea, and most of the rest of the East, has taken a different approach. The Eastern world does not discard the spirit in the pursuit of the material. If there is a conflict between the material and the spiritual, the East would rather discard the material. So generally speaking, life in the East has been more difficult than in the West because it is less materially developed. In the West, however, spirit will not be dominated by the material forever. As a totally materialistic civilization brings degradation, the opportunity presents itself to learn from the more spiritually oriented East.
Civilization developed from Egypt to Greece and Rome to Britain and the United States and is now moving toward the Pacific region surrounding the Korean peninsula. The era of a Pacific civilization is opening, bringing together Western science and Eastern spirituality. The leaders in this new era will be nations like Korea and its Asian neighbors. It is not by mere coincidence that Korea and Japan have been able to rise to international prominence in a short time. This development was a historical inevitability pointing to the Asian era.
The United States and Russia, however, will not stand by and watch as our country rises to a leadership role in the world. It is possible that there could be a major conflict involving the United States, Japan, Russia, and China in the vicinity of Korea. We must prepare for this contingency in two ways.
First, we must create a strong bond between Japan and the United States and link this to Russia and China so as to protect Korea. How can we do this? With a philosophy and a heart that create oneness. The only philosophy that can prevent wars between religions and open a path to a peaceful world is one that proclaims that humanity is one, transcendent of race, nationality, and religion. To protect itself from the dangers of war, Korea must plant a philosophy of oneness in the world.
The second thing we must do is prepare ourselves for the new oceanic era. The Pacific era is at hand. Anyone who cannot rule the ocean cannot become a leader in the Pacific age. If heavenly fortune comes and we are not prepared, we cannot take advantage of the opportunity. If we know that an oceanic era is about to begin and Korea wants to be the leader of that era, then Korea must make the necessary preparations.
There are more resources than fish in the ocean. A greater treasure is its ability to provide energy. As crude oil reserves decrease, a sense of crisis over sources of energy is growing day by day. If the world runs out of oil, human civilization will immediately find itself in the dark. There is an effort to develop alternative energy from corn, but this does not seem realistic when there is not enough food being distributed to feed the world’s population as it is. The true alternative energy source is the ocean. Energy from the hydrogen in the sea represents the future of humanity.
Two-thirds of the earth’s surface is water. This means that two-thirds of the raw materials that humanity needs for the future are contained in the ocean. A new future for humanity cannot be accomplished without the ocean’s resources. Developed countries are already extracting oil and natural gas from the ocean and selling it at high prices. The world has only begun to discover the resources in the ocean. The day is at hand when humanity will find itself dependent on the ocean.
The oceanic era will not begin without human effort. We must first go out into the oceans. We must go out on boats and fight the waves. Without such courage we cannot prepare ourselves for the oceanic age. The country that conquers the oceans will become a dominant power in the world and find the world eager to study its culture and language. Korea must become the champion steward of the Pacific Ocean. It must understand the will of the Creator and manage His resources well.
Great Opportunity in the Oceanic Era
The oceans can become a central point for bringing the world together. To take ownership over the oceans we must be trained to live on it with the same ease as we live on land. When I train people to fish, I send ten small boats out with one large boat. When the boats leave port, the small boats are towed by the large boat. Once they are out on the open sea, however, the small boats are responsible for themselves. They must know the direction of the wind, what is on the ocean floor, and what route the fish are taking. They must learn all this on their own.
I like to use the phrase Alaska spirit. This refers to getting up at five o’clock in the morning, going out to sea, and not returning until well after midnight. The person stays out on the ocean until he catches the daily allowance. One cannot become a true fisherman unless he learns how to endure this way.
Catching fish is not a pleasure cruise. No matter how many fish may be in the ocean, they are not going to just jump into the boat. It takes specialized knowledge and much experience. A person must know how to mend a net and how to tie an anchor rope. Once a person receives intense training to become a fisherman, he can go anywhere in the world and become a leader of people. Learning to be a fisherman is good leadership training. Dominance at sea will require ships, including submarines, that can go anywhere in the world.
Korea is already the largest shipbuilding country in the world. It has the ability to become a great sea power. What it needs now is more people willing to go out to sea. We are the descendants of Chang Bo Go, a wealthy man of the ninth century who ran an international maritime trading business and was called “Ocean King.” We have a long tradition of going out to sea on ships, fighting the waves, and winning battles.
People fear the waves. When waves catch the wind, they become swells. The formation of waves and swells is needed for oxygen to be mixed into the ocean. If the ocean is calm for an extended period, without wind or waves, it begins to die. When we realize the value of waves, they are no longer something to be feared. Even if a strong wind blows and the waves become fearsome, we understand that this is the way to help the fish live. Then the waves become part of the attraction of the sea.
A hundred feet below the surface of the ocean there are no waves. If we were to take a submarine to the bottom of the ocean it would be so cool that there would be no need for air conditioners. The fish choose the depth that has the temperature that is right for them and then perform wonderful dances as they swim in schools in their favorite waters. Similar to our Little Angels dance troupe with their fans, the fish have their colorful outfits and gently wave their fins. It is a beautiful and peaceful environment that they live in. The world, too, will soon be as peaceful as this.
The fact that an oceanic era is coming means that Korea will soon have the opportunity to change the world. People who live in peninsular countries have had to contend with invasions from both land and sea throughout history. To survive they had to be brave and develop a steely national character. It is not by coincidence that civilization developed in peninsular countries such as Greece and Italy. Civilization could blossom in these countries because they had the enterprising and tough, adventurous spirit needed to spread their influence across both continents and seas.
Have you heard about the Black Stream? In the East it is known as the Kuroshio. This is a current in the Pacific that travels four thousand miles a year, based on the gravitational pull of the moon. It is an oceanic gyre that revolves all the way around the Pacific Ocean. To describe it simply as “tremendous” is not sufficient. All the oceans of the world move by the same power that moves the Black Stream. If these currents did not exist, the oceans would not move and would die. Just as even the largest and mightiest rivers eventually must flow into the sea, so also even the largest oceans must move in accordance with currents like the Black Stream. The Korean people must become like the Black Stream and cause the flow of their peace-loving culture to influence the whole world. We must become a source of strength in the world, the place where all of life’s forces come together in a peaceful concentration.
I have visited Korea’s southern coast many times in an effort to find the place that could become the center of a Pacific civilization, and I believe that Yeosu and Sooncheon are suited to the task. The sea off the coast of Yeosu is tranquil, clear, and mirrorlike. It is where Admiral Yi Soon Shin dealt the Japanese a heavy defeat in the late 1600s, and it is also where he died in battle. Yeosu has a great history of sea battles, and it is also the point where the Youngnam and Honam regions meet. It is at the end of the foothills of Mount Jiri, where leftists and rightists fought each other following the Korean War. In this sense, it is a land imbued with the pain of our people. Sooncheon Bay, famous for its reed beds, has a beautiful and world-famous ria coast. Out on the sea there, with its clear waters that shimmer in the sunlight, we can catch many different types of fish. Abalone and brown seaweed grow in the tranquil waters of the bay. The large tidal flats are filled with cockles and other types of shellfish and small octopus. I have been out on the seas in that area and also climbed the mountains, and it is clear that this is a beautiful land that has everything necessary for the coming Pacific age.
I am now developing Korea’s southern coast, with the focus on Yeosu. As a part of the preparations for this, I have been to Geomun Island and other islands in the area and lived there for several months. I consider people who live there, farming and fishing for the past several decades, to be my teachers. I ate and slept in humble inns as I studied everything in detail. I didn’t just study books. I went everywhere, using my eyes and feet to check everything. As a result, I now know what kinds of fish can be found in what area of the ocean, what kind of net needs to be used to catch them, what kinds of trees grow in the mountains, and which home on the island has an old man living alone after having suffered a stroke.
The day I finished my studies of the southern coast I took the village mayor, who had been helping me, on an airplane to Alaska. He had taught me everything he knew, so I wanted to return the favor by teaching him what I knew about Alaska. I went fishing with him in Alaska and told him about the different kinds of fish and how they can be caught. Even if I know only a little about something, I don’t feel comfortable unless I share it with others.
Very soon after I began developing Yeosu, it was chosen as the venue for an international maritime exposition to be held in 2012. Together with the Olympic Games and the World Cup, international expositions are among the three largest festivals on a global scale. During the six months that Expo 2012 is held in Yeosu, 154 member countries of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) will operate various exhibits. This will focus the world’s attention on Yeosu, and the technology and culture of developed countries will flow into Yeosu. Have you ever looked up at a summer sky and seen clouds blowing by at an amazing speed? Once clouds catch the wind, they move quickly over mountains and oceans. Now is not the time to be hesitating. In a way similar to those clouds, heavenly fortune will be blowing the world toward Yeosu and the Korean peninsula.
I plan to connect all the islands along the southern coast with bridges and build condominiums where boat-loving people from around the world can come and stay. These will not be condominiums just for play. Americans, Germans, Japanese, Brazilians, and Africans will come. They may go out on different boats to catch fish, but I will have them stay in the same condominiums to show that humanity is one family.
The oceanic era will also be an era of outer space. The time is coming when aeronautic technology will be an absolute necessity. It will be too late for Korea to prepare its space industry if it doesn’t start now. I am preparing an aeronautic industrial park in Gimpo, in Kyounggi Province. I plan to produce world-famous Sikorsky helicopters. Soon the day will come when helicopters bearing the Taeguk mark of Korea will fly the seas and skies all over the world.
Solution to Poverty and Hunger
If you are never hungry, you cannot know God. The times when you are hungry are opportunities to be nearest to God. When you are hungry and are able to look humbly at each approaching person as if he were a close family member who wants to help him, then you are more likely to be fed. In such situations, it is important to maintain a sympathetic heart of goodness.
Hunger is not an issue relegated to less-developed areas of the world. Even in the United States, which enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world, there are people who are undernourished and hungry. When I went to the United States, one of my first projects was to purchase trucks to be used for the distribution of food to the poor.
The situation in impoverished countries is unspeakably worse. When I look at the world situation, I feel that securing sufficient food supplies is the most pressing problem. Solving the food crisis cannot be put off for even a moment. Even now, some twenty thousand people around the world die of hunger-related causes every day. We cannot afford to be apathetic just because we and our immediate families are not facing hunger.
Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger, though. A more fundamental approach to the problem is needed. I am considering two fundamental and concrete methods. The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology that people can use to overcome hunger on their own.
The issue of food will present humankind with a very serious crisis in the future. We cannot build a world of peace without first resolving the food issue. Sufficient food supplies for all the world’s population cannot be produced on the limited amount of land area that is currently available. We must look to the oceans for a solution. The oceans hold the key to solving the food crisis of the future. This is the reason I have been pioneering the oceans for the past several decades.
In Alaska, pollack smaller than fifteen inches long are used for fertilizer. They would make wonderful food, but people don’t know how to prepare them so they use them just for fertilizer. As recently as twenty or thirty years ago, we could ask Westerners to give us the tail of an ox and they would let us have it for free. Koreans are very fond of food prepared with the bones or the intestines of cows, but some Westerners do not know that these are edible.
The same is true with fish. About 20 percent of the world’s fish catch is thrown out. Whenever I see this, I think of the people who are dying of hunger, and I feel pain. Fish is a much more reliable source of protein than beef. How wonderful it would be if we made fish cakes or fish sausages to give to people in impoverished lands!
Once this thought came to me, I started projects to process and store large volumes of fish. It does not do any good to catch large amounts of fish if you cannot handle them properly after the catch. Even the best fish cannot be kept well for more than eight months. Even if they are frozen and placed in refrigeration, air gets in through cracks in the ice, and water escapes. You could pour water on the fish and freeze them again, but by then the best flavor is already gone and the fish might as well be thrown out.
We gathered fish that were being thrown out and researched how to turn it into fish powder. We sought to do something that even advanced countries like France and Germany have not done. Fish turned into powder could be transported and stored easily, even in hot and humid climates. Fish powder is 98-percent protein, among the very highest protein content of all food products. For this reason it can be used to save people from dying of hunger. Fish powder could also be used to make bread. We are still searching for ways to make it available to impoverished countries around the world.
The oceans contain limitless food supplies, but the best method for saving humanity from the food crisis is fish farming. I foresee that there will be buildings, similar to the skyscrapers we see in our cities today, devoted to fish farming. By using water pipe systems, we can farm fish in tall buildings or even on the tops of mountains. With fish farming we can produce more than enough food to feed all the world’s people.
The ocean is a blessing bequeathed to us by God. When I go out on the ocean, I am completely absorbed in fishing. I have caught all kinds of fish in different countries. One reason I fish is so I can teach people who don’t know how to fish. In South America I spent several months showing local people my fishing methods. I took in tangled fishnets myself and spent three or four hours showing them how to untangle them.
To secure adequate supplies of food at a low cost, humankind will need to develop the ocean. This and the great grasslands that are still in their prehistoric state are our final storehouses of wealth. This task, though, will not be easy. It will require us to go to places that are so hot and humid that moving around and working hard with a strong sense of dedication become very difficult. Developing the grasslands in tropical regions cannot be done without a love for humankind that is passionate and dedicated.
Jardim, in Brazil, is just such a place. It is a quite difficult place to live. The weather is hot, and bugs that have not even been named yet are continuously biting. I lived in that place and made friends with all its various creatures. I walked around barefooted, feeling the red soil of Jardim beneath my feet, looking just like a peasant farmer. When I was at the river catching fish, I looked like the local fishermen. It is only when the local people look at you and say, “You really are a farmer,” or “You really are a fisherman,” that you are qualified to receive their knowledge and share your own knowledge with them. It is not something that can be done by someone who needs to sleep eight hours a night in a clean and comfortable bed, eat three square meals a day, and take naps under a shady tree.
When we were developing a project in Paraguay, a group of our members and I were living in a small hut in Olimpo. There was only one toilet, and each morning we had to take turns using it. I would get up each morning at three o’clock, do some exercises, and then go fishing. Because of this, the members who were with me went through some very difficult times. It was usual for them to be cutting bait early in the morning before they were completely awake.
When we took the boat out, we had to cross through a number of other properties in order to reach the mooring site. Unlocking the gates to these properties in pitch darkness was difficult. One morning when the members were fumbling with a lock, unable to open it, I yelled at them, “What are you doing?!” I shouted so loudly and fiercely that I surprised even myself, so I am sure it must have been difficult for them. But I feel that I cannot afford to waste so much as a single second. I don’t have any time to be idly standing around. I can clearly see a list of all the things I must accomplish before there can be a world of peace, so my heart is always in a hurry. When I fished there on the river before dawn, the mosquitoes would swarm like a dark cloud. Their stingers were so sharp they would pierce right through a pair of jeans. In the predawn darkness we could not see the floats on our fishing lines, so we had to attach white plastic bags to them. I could not wait for the sun to come up. I was in too much of a hurry.
I still miss Jardim. I miss everything about it. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the heat of the Jardim air pressing against my face. The minor inconveniences to my body were nothing. Bodily suffering passes quickly. What is important is that this place can one day play a significant role in serving the world. Being in Jardim brought great happiness to my heart.
More Than Giving Bread, Teaching How to Make Bread
To solve the problem of hunger we must have a heart that is willing to plant seeds. Seeds are planted and wait unseen under the soil until they are able to germinate and break through their outer cover. Similarly, it is better to teach a person how to plant and harvest wheat and then turn it into bread than it is to give a piece of bread to a person who is about to die. The former may be more difficult and not result in as much public recognition, but it is the only way to arrive at a fundamental and sustainable solution to world hunger. We need to begin now to study the climate, the soil, and the character of the people in areas that suffer from hunger.
In Africa, there is a species of tree called manchuka. The people in Congo feed the leaves of this tree, which are high in nutrition, to their cattle to fatten them up before taking them to market. They also pound the leaves of this tree on a stone mill, add some oil, and fry them in batter. It may be a good idea to plant many manchuka trees and make powder out of the entire tree after throwing out the root, which is poisonous. The powder can be used to make bread. Also, Jerusalem artichokes, which resemble sweet potatoes, grow very quickly once they are planted in the soil. The amount that can be harvested is three times greater than that of other famine relief crops. Planting a lot of Jerusalem artichokes is another way to contribute to resolving the hunger problem.
In Jardim, a large earthworm is used in farming, and this makes the soil quite fertile. This earthworm exists only in Campana, but perhaps we can study its ecology and use it to help agriculture in other areas. Koreans are working in the Mato Grosso region to study silkworms. If the cultivation of silkworms is successful there, it will be possible to make silk cheaply and sell it to buy food.
There is no quick fix to the problem of world hunger. People in each country have different tastes for food and different customs, and the plants and animals are different. The important point is concern for our neighbors. We first need to develop the heart that, when we are eating enough to fill our own stomachs, we think of others who are going hungry and consider how we can help them. True peace will not come as long as humanity does not solve the problem of hunger. If the person next to me is about to die of hunger, peace is a mere luxury.
It is as important to teach the skills needed to become self-sufficient in producing food as it is to distribute food directly to those in need. To teach such skills, we need to build schools in remote areas to combat illiteracy. Technical schools will need to be established in order to give people the ability to support themselves. The Westerners who conquered Africa and South America did not provide technology to the people who were already there. They only used the people as laborers as they sought to dig up and take away the resources that were buried in the ground. They did not teach the people how to farm or how to operate a factory. This was not right. Our church has, from the early stage of our foreign mission work, established schools in places such as Zaire for teaching agriculture and industrial technology.
Another problem faced by people suffering from hunger is that they cannot afford proper medical treatment when they become ill. On the other side of the world, developed countries are seeing an overuse of drugs, but people who are hungry often die because they cannot afford simple medicine for diarrhea or a cold. Therefore, as we work to eradicate hunger we must also provide medical support. We must establish clinics and care for those who suffer from chronic illness.
I created New Hope Farms in Brazil’s Jardim region as a model to show how humanity can live together in peace. We tilled a wide expanse of land to make farmland, and there is a cattle ranch in the higher elevations. New Hope Farms is in Brazil, but it does not belong only to the people of Brazil. Anyone who is hungry can go to New Hope Farms, work, and be fed. Some two thousand people from all races and from all over the world can always eat and sleep there. We will establish schools all the way from elementary school to university. People will be taught how to farm and how to raise cattle. We will also teach how to plant and raise trees and how to catch, process, and sell fish. We do not have only a farm. We use the numerous lakes in the vicinity of the river to create fish farms and fishing grounds.
Paraguay’s Chaco region occupies 60 percent of that country’s territory, but it has been a neglected land. The Chaco region was formed when the sea rose to cover the land, and even now you get salty water gushing up when you dig into the ground. I was in my seventies when I first went to Paraguay. The lives of the people living in this long-neglected land were impoverished beyond words. It caused me great pain in my heart to see them. I sincerely wanted to help them, but they were not prepared to accept me, a person of a different skin color who spoke a different language. I did not give up, however.
I traveled the Paraguay River for three months, eating and sleeping with people from the area. At more than seventy years of age, I was taking on a task that people said was impossible. I taught the people I met what I know about fishing, and they taught me their language. We were on the boat like this together for three months and became friends.
Once they began to open their hearts, I talked to them again and again about why the world must become one. At first their reaction was indifferent. Year by year, though, the people of Chaco began to change. After ten years, they changed so much that they held a global peace festival with great enthusiasm.
Resolving the food situation does not mean that peace will follow immediately. After the hunger issue has been resolved, it is important to carry out educational programs on peace and love. I have built many schools in places such as Jardim and Chaco. At first people didn’t send their children to school but instead had them help raise their cattle. We worked hard to convince them that the children and young people needed an education. As a result, we now have many students. We built a light industrial factory where they could produce items using simple technologies, and the students became more interested in attending school so they could work in the factory.
We are all responsible for the people around the world who die of hunger. We need to take action to help them. We need to feel a clear sense of responsibility and find a way that they can be fed and saved. People who live well should come down to a slightly lower position and raise up those who live poorly, to bring about a world where all people live well.
Embrace the World
Setting a goal in life is similar to planting a tree. If you plant a jujube tree in the front yard of your home, you will have jujubes
in your home. If you plant apple trees on the hill behind your home, then they will produce apples. Think carefully about your choice of goals and where you intend to plant them. Depending on the goal you choose and where you plant it, you can become a jujube tree in Seoul or an apple tree in Africa. Or you can become a palm tree in the South Pacific. The goal you plant will bear fruit in the future. Think carefully where the best place is to plant your goal so that it will bear the best fruit.
When you are setting your goal, be sure to consider the entire world. Consider Africa, which continues to suffer from poverty and disease. Consider Israel and Palestine, where people continue to aim their weapons at each other and fight over matters of religion. Consider Afghanistan, where people barely keep themselves alive by raising poppy plants used to make harmful drugs. Consider the United States, which has thrown the world’s economy into a pit with its extreme greed and selfishness. Consider Indonesia, which suffers from continued earthquakes and tidal waves. Imagine yourself in the context of those countries, and think which country and which situation would be most appropriate for you. It may be that you are best suited to India, where
a new religious conflict may erupt. Or it could be Rwanda, which languishes in drought and hunger.
In setting a goal, students shouldn’t be so foolish as to decide that because a country is small, like Korea, it isn’t worthy of your goals. Depending on what you do, there is no limit to how large a small country can become. Its national boundaries could even disappear. Whether you do good work on the large continent of Africa or in the small country of Korea, your goal should not be restricted by size. Your goals should be about where your talents can have the most impact. So you should think of the world as your stage as you decide what you want to do in life. If you do, you will likely find many more things to do than what you were originally dreaming about. You have only one life to live, so use it to do something that the world needs. You cannot reach the hidden treasure on an island without adventure. Please think beyond your own country, and think of the world as your stage in setting your goal.
During the 1980s, I sent many Korean university students to Japan and the United States. I wanted them to leave Korea, where teargas canisters were exploding almost daily, and let them see a wider world with greater variety. The frog that lives at the bottom of a well does not realize that there is a bigger world outside the well.
I was thinking globally before that word even entered the Korean language. The reason I went to Japan to study was to see a wider world. The reason I planned to work for the Manchuria Electric Company in Hailar, China, and learn the Chinese, Russian, and Mongolian languages, even before Korea was liberated, was to enable me to live as a global citizen. Even now I travel by plane to many places in the world.
If I were to visit a different country every day, it would take more than six months to visit all of them. People live in many countries, and they all live in different circumstances. There are places where there is no water to cook rice with, while other places have too much water. Some places have no electricity, while some countries are not able to consume all the electricity that they produce. There are many examples of how something is lacking in one place but overabundant in another. The problem is there are not enough people focused on equalizing the distribution.
The same is true with raw materials. Some countries have an abundance of coal and iron ore stacked in piles. They don’t even need to dig into the earth. All they need to do is shovel the coal and iron ore from piles that are easily accessed. Korea, however, has a critical shortage of coal and iron ore reserves. To dig out anthracite coal we need to risk our lives to go thousands of feet underground.
Likewise with technology. Africa has many places where bananas grow naturally in abundance, and they could keep people from starving. But there is a lack of technology and lack of access to productive land, so not enough banana plantations are created. Korea’s climate is not suited for growing bananas, and yet we grow bananas. This technology in Korea could be very helpful in solving the problem of poverty in Africa. It is similar to the way that South Korean technology for planting corn has helped relieve starvation in North Korea.
The phrase global leader is now in vogue in Korea. People say they want to become fluent in English and become global leaders. Becoming a global leader, however, is not a matter of a person’s fluency in English. The ability to communicate in English is nothing more than a tool. A true global leader is someone who is able to embrace the world in his own bosom. A person who has no interest in the problems of the world cannot become a global leader, no matter how well he might communicate in English.
To be a global leader a person must think of the world’s problems as his own and have the pioneering spirit that is needed for
finding difficult solutions. A person who is attached to a secure and fixed income, or dreams of having a pension after retirement and a comfortable family life, cannot be a global leader. To become a global leader a person must consider the whole world to be his country and all humanity to be his brothers and sisters and not be overly concerned that he does not know what the future may hold for him.
What are siblings? Why did God give us siblings? Siblings symbolize human beings around the world. The experience of loving
our brothers and sisters in the family teaches us how to love our fellow countrymen and love humanity. Our love for our own siblings expands in this way. The family whose members love each other is a model of how humanity can live together in harmony. Love among siblings means that one sibling is willing to go hungry, if necessary, so that his brother or sister can eat. A global leader is someone who loves humanity as he loves his own family.
It has been a while since we first heard the phrase global village. Yet the earth has always been a single community. If a person’s goal in life is to graduate from a university, get a job with a company that will pay him a high salary, and lead a secure life, then that person will have the success of a puppy. But if he dedicates his life to helping refugees in Africa, he will have the success of a lion. The course that is chosen depends on the heart of the individual.
Even at the age of ninety, I continue to travel around the world. I refuse to rest from my mission. The world is like a living organism in that it is always changing. New problems are always arising. I go to the dark corners of the world where these problems exist. These are not the places with beautiful views or comfortable amenities, but I feel happy in places that are dark, difficult, and lonely because that is where I’m fulfilling my mission, my purpose, my goals.
My hope is that Korea will produce global leaders in the true sense. I hope to see more political leaders who will lead the United Nations to fulfill its purpose and more diplomatic leaders who will stop the fighting in areas of conflict. I hope to see someone like Mother Teresa who will take care of those wandering and dying on the streets. I hope to see peace leaders who will take on my mission of pioneering new solutions from the land and sea.
The starting point is to have a dream and a goal. Please have an adventurous and pioneering spirit. Dream dreams that others dare not imagine. Set goals for yourselves that have meaning, and become global leaders who will bring benefit to humankind.
Dreaming of a Peaceful World
For years I have called for a world where all religions live together as one, all races live as one, and all nations exist as one. For
thousands of years history has seen the continuous increase of divisions. Each time a different religion was adopted or a new regime came into power, more boundaries were drawn and wars were fought. Now, however, we live in an age of globalism. For the sake of the future we must become one.
One way I propose to facilitate that is through the International Peace Highway, a huge undertaking. It will link Korea and Japan by an undersea tunnel and create a bridge across the Bering Strait that separates Russia and North America. These great links can unify the world. When the highway is completed it will be possible to travel by car from Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to Santiago, Chile, and from London to New York. There will be no roadblocks; the entire world will be interconnected as if by capillary vessels.
The world will become one integrated community, and everyone will be able to travel freely across international borders. Borders that give free passage to anyone will lose their significance as borders. Something similar will be true for religion. As the frequency of exchanges among religions increases, greater mutual understanding will arise, conflict will disappear, and the walls of separation will crumble. When different types of people live together in a single global community, barriers between races will come down. Interaction between races will occur despite differences in appearance and language. This cultural revolution will bring the world into one.
The Silk Road was not simply a trade route that people used in order to sell silk and buy spices. It was also a vehicle for the peoples of the East and West to meet and for Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity to meet. These different cultures intermingled and gave rise to a new culture.
The International Peace Highway will play a similar role in the twenty-first century. Rome could thrive because all roads led to Rome. This illustrates the importance of roads. When a road is built, people use it to travel. It is used to transport culture and ideology. That is why when a road is built it changes the course of history. When the International Peace Highway is completed, the world can be physically bound together as one. The road will make this possible. I cannot overemphasize the importance of
bringing the world together. Some may think that this is an idea ahead of its time. Religious people, however, foresee the future and prepare for it. So it is only natural that we are ahead of our time. The world may not understand us and may cause us to suffer, but religious believers must persevere to lead the way to the future.
Completing the International Peace Highway will require the cooperation of many nations. China, which was a victim of Japanese aggression, may not welcome the idea of being connected to Japan by a highway. Japan and Korea, however, cannot connect to the rest of the world without going through China, so we need to make efforts to win China’s trust. Who will do this? Those of us who will take spiritual ownership over the International Peace Highway in the twenty-first century need to take the lead in this effort.
How about bridging the Bering Strait? It will cost a great deal, but this should not cause concern. The amount of money that the United States has spent in Iraq would be more than enough to build such a bridge. We must stop waging war and forcing people to suffer. It is perverse to start wars and squander hundreds of billions of dollars. The time has come for us to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.
The International Peace Highway is a project to bring the world together as one. To become one means more than simply connecting continents by tunnels and bridges. It refers to an equalization of the world’s standards of living. When someone monopolizes a technology and keeps the profit for himself, the balance of the world is upset. The International Peace Highway will rearrange the current inequality by creating access to existing natural and human resources. This will bring about a leveling of wealth. Leveling means that a little is taken off places that are high and added to places that are low. As a result, the two have the same height. This will require sacrifice from those with greater material possessions or knowledge. Building a world of peace cannot be done with one-time charitable acts or donations. Only sincere love and continuous sacrifice is capable of creating a world of peace. We must be willing to offer everything.
Building the International Peace Highway does more than just provide the world with a physical means of communication. Human beings are created so that their mind and body become one. Something similar is true for the world we live in. The world can be completely unified only when there is both physical communication and communication of heart.
The United Nations has done much for world peace. More than sixty years after its founding, however, the United Nations is losing sight of its original purpose and is now an organization that works for the interests of a few powerful countries. The U.N. was created to solve the conflicts that arise in the world, so it must put the world’s interests before the interests of one side or the other. It only leads to further conflict when a powerful country insists on its own way and uses force to pursue it. Unfortunately, the U.N. today is unable to do much about such situations.
In this light, I have proposed a restructuring of the United Nations as a bicameral institution. In addition to the General Assembly there would be a religious, or cultural, assembly or council. This body would consist of respected spiritual leaders in fields such as religion, culture, and education. The members of this interreligious assembly would need to demonstrate an ability to transcend the limited interests of particular religions and cultures and to speak for the spiritual and moral purposes of all humanity. I maintain that the two chambers, working together in mutual respect and cooperation, will be able to make great advances in ushering in a world of peace.
Some may oppose this, saying, “Why should religious people become involved in world affairs?” My answer is that the world today is in a period when the participation of religious people is crucial. Those who have achieved deep self-awareness through religious practice are needed now more than ever. It is only truly religious people who can stand up to the unrighteousness and evil of the world and practice true love. It is only when the knowledge and experience of political leaders are combined with the wisdom of interreligious leaders that the world will be able to find the path to true peace.
Again today I set out on my path with renewed determination to achieve that goal. My prayer is that every person on earth will be reborn as a peace-loving global citizen, transcending barriers of religion, ideology, and race.