After attending 40-day and 120-day workshops in Barrytown, our training center in Irvington, NY, I was sent out as a missionary to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Completely alone, I had to find a place to stay, buy product (with $20 seed money), fundraise and witness. After two or three months, I was steadily moving along, when an itinerary called me to return to NY. She said that True Father wanted to gather and evaluate members from across the country who had musical ability. Although I generally love to sing, I was not enthusiastic about leaving my mission. The emergency of saving the world from communism weighed heavily upon my mind and heart; witnessing was the most important mission possible. What if I were chosen for a musical assignment? I would have to obey, but how could I leave the front line- to sing!!
My last name starts with an ‘A’ and I was the first person of about 100 members to perform. I decided on “Pong Song Hwa” a famous Korean song that I had learned from my brother-in-law’s US Army handbook. If I had known how sad it was - and how very heartistic Koreans are- I never would have sung it, but it was the only song I knew in Korean. I sang a second one also: ‘Cockeyed Optimist’ from South Pacific. Although it is a light-hearted, cheerful song I felt like a thousand pounds were weighing down upon me as I stood before True Father. (Col. Pak later approached me and told me he liked the song, most likely Pong Song Hwa).
Many hours passed as everyone performed. Then dinner was served. . Afterwards, True Father gave fascinating remarks about many of the performances. One brother, DE, who was a professionally trained musician, was extremely enthusiastic and astonished at True Father’s insights. Quite a few members were given new missions. True Father wanted to start an ongoing witnessing program at the New Yorker called ‘Down Home Inn’ that would require entertainment.
At the very end of a long day, he said, “Some people have missions that are too important to leave.” I wanted to cry with joy; it was as though he read my mind and then spoke my thoughts, word for word.
Later I learned what a significant song Pong Song Hwa was, embodying Koreans’ angst at Japan’s brutal occupation. Pong song hwa is a flower that represents Korea in the song. I decided to write an English translation and a slightly modified version with a more hopeful ending. The oppressive ‘wall’ signifies Communism in North Korea and ‘love’s pure light’ in the last verse indicates that God will inspire many good people from around the world to come to Korea and support its peaceful reunification. Love’s pure light is also the Divine Principle.
Pong Song Hwa
adapted English translation
What flower lies here In withering sleep
Beneath this wall’s cold shadow deep
Once maidens danced so joyously
To find your blossoms’ great beauty
Though now you languish in the night
You soon will bloom in love’s pure light.