From childhood, my mind has always yearned for far away places. In my hometown, I would climb a mountain and yearn for the sea. When I arrived in Seoul, I wanted to go to Japan. I have always dreamed of going to places larger than where I was.
In 1965,1 embarked on my first trip around the world. My suitcase was filled with soil and stones from Korea. My plan was that, as I traveled around the world, I would plant Korea's soil and stones in each country. For ten months, I toured 40 countries, including Japan, the United States and Europe. On the day that I left Seoul, hundreds of our members rode in tens of buses to come see me off, and they filled the departure lounge at Kimpo Airport In those days, going overseas was a significant event. Our members thronged to the airport on that January day with a cold strong wind blowing out of the northwest. No one had told them to do this. They did as their hearts told them. I received their hearts with deep gratitude.
At that time, we were performing mission work in ten countries, and it was my plan to increase that to 40 countries within two years. It was to lay the foundation for this that I decided to visit 40 countries on my trip.
My first stop was Japan. I received a tremendous welcome in Japan. I put the following question to the Japanese members. "Are you 'of Japan', or have you transcended the state of being -of Japan'?"
"God doesn't want that which is 'of Japan'. He doesn't need that which is 'of Japan'. He needs people who transcend Japan. You need to go beyond the limitations of Japan to become Japanese people who love the world, if you are to be people who can be used by God." ft may not have been easy for them to hear this, but I made myself very clear.
My second destination was the United States. I entered the country through the airport in San Francisco, where I was met by our missionaries. From there, we toured the entire country. During the time I was touring America, I felt strongly, "This is the country that manages the whole world. The new culture that will be created in the future must rise up with America as its foundation"! set a plan then to purchase a facility for workshops in the United States that would hold 500 people. Of course, this would be an international facility that would receive people from over 100 countries. Race, nationality and religion make no difference. I believe that the world will develop better societies when people who have transcended race, nationality and religion and hold a wide variety of opinions come together and candidly discuss world peace.
During my tour of the United States, I visited every state except Alaska and Hawaii. We rented a station wagon and drove day and night. At times, the driver would be so tired that he would begin to doze off. "Listen here," I would wake him and say, "I know that you're tired, but I didn't come here for sightseeing. I'm here to do important work. We need to go quickly."
We didn't waste time sitting down to eat. If we had two slices of bread, a piece of sausage and some pickles, that was plenty of food for a meal. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner like this. We also slept in the car. The car was our lodging, it was our bed, and it was our restaurant. We ate, slept and prayed in that small car. There was nothing we couldn't do there. I had a particular purpose to accomplish, so it was easy for me to endure minor inconveniences to the physical body.
After the United States and Canada, I went to Central and South America, and then on to Europe. To my eyes, Europe was in the cultural sphere of the Vatican. Even the Alps, which were supposed to be so difficult to climb, seemed of little significance in comparison to the Vatican.
I went to the Vatican, where Europeans gather to pray, and prayed with such fervor that beads of sweat ran down my face. I prayed that religion, which had become divided among so many denominations and groups, could be unified quickly. God created one world, but people have divided it in ways convenient to themselves. I became more convinced than ever that these divisions must be erased and the world unified as one. From Europe, I went on to Egypt and the Middle East, and completed my tour after ten months.
When I returned to Seoul, my suitcase was full of soil and stones from 120 locations in 40 countries. When I planted the soil and stones I had taken from Korea, I took soil and stones from each location and brought them back to Korea. 1 connected Korea to these 40 countries in this way, to prepare for the day in the future when the world of peace would be realized centering on Korea. I began preparations to send missionaries to those 40 countries.
As I toured the world, no one knew that I was making plans to do business 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 to do business on a large scale in order to support these activities. As I toured 48 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 everyday. I checked the price of a cow. A cow that cost $25 in Miami cost $400 in New York. I also checked the price of tuna. Surprisingly, one tuna cost more than $4,000. Tuna, lay more than 1.5 million eggs at a time, while a cow will have only one calf at a time. It was clear that catching tuna would be a much better business than raising cattle.
One problem was that Americans did not eat meat taken from the sea. Japanese, however, are extremely fond of tuna. There were many Japanese living in the U.S. then, and expensive restaurants operated by Japanese sold raw tuna at a high price. Also, Americans who had learned 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 so has plenty offish. 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 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.
We purchased several boats in the United States. These were not the large ships that we might see in a photo album, but boats about 34 ft to 38 ft 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 Seattle, 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 famous university professors in the area were used as reference, but I went to those areas and lived there myself and checked them out. No data was more accurate than what we created.
We went to a lot of trouble to create this material, 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 made a significant impact on the U.S. fishing industry.
We then started another business. We entered the business of catching fish in the open sea. One ship goes out to sea, and catches fish for at least six months without returning to port. When the ship has all the fish it can carry, a transport ship goes out to it, takes its fish and supplies it with food and fuel The ship has refrigeration facilities where it can store fish for a long time.
The name of our ship is "New Hope," and it is well known for being able to catch many fish. I took that boat myself and caught tuna. People are often afraid of getting on boats. When I suggest to young people that they get on a boat, their first reaction was often one of fear. "I get sea sick," I often heard them say. "All I have to do is get on a boat, and I start getting oozy, and feel like I'm going to die."
So I got on the boat myself first. From that day, I never missed an opportunity to go out on a boat for seven years having hundreds of fishing experiences. Even now, when I am nearly 90 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 people follow. As a result, I have become well known as a tuna fisherman.
It would be of little use, however, if we only caught the tuna. We also need to be able to sell them 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. Yet, the U.S. has relatively few people to catch fish, and its fishing industry is relatively 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 10 percent of cost, on condition that purchasers use them for two and a half years, but few people took advantage of this. 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 many communities often prospered when 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 paths that others have not taken.
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 lower, 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 the ocean. 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 tears at the sail, and makes 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 make myself one with the boat, and we rise 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 a wonderful teacher for me in my life.