The Crazy, Handsome Man by the Well

When we built the mud-walled house in Beom-net-gol and began the church, there were just three people to hear me preach. I didn't consider, though, that I was talking to just three people. I told myself that, though they could not be seen, I was preaching to thousands and tens of thousands ~ even that all humanity was sitting before me - and conveyed the words of the Principle in a loud, booming voice.

There was a well in front of our house, and a rumor began to circulate among the people who came to take water from that well that a crazy man lived in the house with mud walls. I was dressed in wretched clothing, and they could hear me inside a house that looked as though it might be haunted speaking as if I were shouting commands to the whole world. So it was only natural that people would whisper among themselves this way. Once I began saying that heaven and earth would be turned upside down and Korea would unite the world, the rumors about me spread all the way to the bottom of the hill. Perhaps because of such rumors, people started coming out of curiosity to see the crazy man living next to the well. A group of students from a certain seminary came, and a group ol professors from Ewha Woman's University came as well. The rumors were embellished to say that I was a handsome man with good stature, and so middle-aged women started climbing up the hill to see me as a way to pass the time.

On the day that I finished writing Wolli Wonbon, I put down my pencil and prayed: "Now it is time for me to evangelize, so please send to me saints to whom I can give witness." Then, I went out to the well. It was May 10, and the season was late spring. I was wearing traditional Korean trousers with cotton inline, and an old jacket, so I was sweating. I caught sight of a young woman, wiping the sweat from her brow as she made her way up the hill toward the well.

I spoke to her, saying, "God has been giving you tremendous love for the past seven years." She jumped backward in surprise. It had been seven years since she had decided to dedicate her life to God's work.

"My name is Hyun Shil Kang," she said, "and I am an evangelist at the Beom Cheon Church in the neighborhood at the bottom of this hill. I heard there was a crazy man living here, so I came here to witness to him."

This was how she greeted me. I invited her into the house. She looked around the squalid room with a look on her face that showed she found it to be very strange. Setting her eyes on my desk, she said, "Why do you have so many pencils?"

"Until this morning," I replied, "I was writing a book that reveals the principles of the universe. I think God has sent you here so that you can hear me tell you about those principles."

"What are you talking about," she said. "I came here, because I heard there was someone near the well who needed to be witnessed to." I handed her a cushion to sit on, and I sat down as well. Spring water

made a trickling sound as it flowed beneath us.

"Korea in the future will play the role of the pinnacle of the world," I said. "People will regret that they could not be born as Koreans*

Her expression told me she thought I Was talking nonsense.

"Just as Elijah appeared as John the Baptist," I continued, "Jesus will come in the flesh to Korea"

This made her angry.

Tm sure Jesus will have better places to come than a place so wretched as Korea," she retorted.

Then she said, "Have you even read the Book of Revelation? I.. .* I interrupted her in midsentence,

"You want to say you have studied at the Goryo Theological Seminary?"

"How did you know that?" she demanded.

"Do you think I would have waited for you without knowing even that about you? You said you came here to witness to me. So go ahead. Teach me.

Hyun Shil Kang spoke like a person who had studied theology, quoting Bible texts one after another to attack me. She kept challenging me so strongly, and kept me busy responding to her challenges with a loud voice. Our debate continued until it began to grow dark outside, so I stood up and cooked dinner. The only thing we had for side dishes was some kimchi that had turned completely sour, but we sat in that room with the sound of the trickling water and shared this food before resuming our debate. She came back the next day, and the day after that to debate with me. In the end, she left he Beom Cheon Church, and became a member  of our church.  

On windy day in November, my wife came to see me at the hut in Beom-net-gol. She brought with her a seven-year-old boy. My son, who ad been born in the year I left home to go get some rice, but went to ongyang instead, had grown into a young boy. I couldn't bring myself look at him in the eye. Nor could I stroke his face and embrace him in I just stood there like a stone statue, without saying a word. Without her even telling me, I could easily imagine the suffering this mother and child must have experienced in the midst of the war. I actually already knew before this visit where they were living and what their situation was. I was not yet at the point, however, where I could take care of my family. If she would, as I asked her several times before our marriage, trust me and wait just a little longer, I would have gone to get them. That time had not yet come, however. The hut was small and shabby, but it was our church. A number of members ate there and lived there with me, and we were studying God's word. I could not bring my family there. My wife took a look around at the hut, and expressed great disappointment. She then returned down the steep path.