The Words of the Park Family
Born on February 9, 1939, Rev. Chong Goo Park joined our church on January 20, 1956, during his second year of high school, and was blessed in 1961 among the 36 couples. His early missions in the church included serving as itinerary worker for a province and witnessing leader at the headquarters church in Seoul. In 1964, he set up a school to teach English and other subjects, receiving an award for his efforts from the Korean Ministry of Education five years later. In 1968, Father presented him with an award for outstanding work during the first seven-year course and six years later gave him the title of Rev. Park. During 1976 and 1977, he served as an itinerary worker for world missions in Asia, and from 1977 until his death of cancer in 1982, he worked tirelessly to build up CARP throughout the United States and, most recently, in Europe.
The following tributes to Rev. Chong Goo ("Tiger") Park were written by two CARP leaders who worked closely with him. Gerhard Bessell represented German CARP at the funeral service for Rev. Park held in Korea.
Dan Fefferman, editor of the World Student Times, writes about effect of "Tiger" Park on the lives of American CARP members.
Rev. Yung Suk Choi, formerly head of IFVC in Korea, will lead the American CARP movement, and Rev. Sung Soo Lee, formerly from the News World, will be the itinerary worker. In Europe, Rev. Byung Ho Kim from England will take charge of CARP.
"On April 3, 1982, Rev. Chong Goo Park went to the spirit world to begin a new life. We may weep because we have emotional ties to him and feel deep appreciation for him, but actually, in view of the Principle, this is not a sad occasion. Rev. Park had dedicated his entire life to the establishment of the kingdom of heaven. He never thought of his own benefit but always followed heaven's will unconditionally. He was a true example of loyalty to our True Parents. We can gain strength from his life and will follow him as our older brother."
With these words, Rev. Jae Suk Lee, president of the Korean Unification Church, paid tribute to Rev. Chong Goo Park (known as "Tiger" Park) at a funeral service attended by more than 600 leaders and older church members gathered in the courtyard of the Su Taek Ri training center in Korea.
There was deep dignity and solemn spirit among the congregation gathered together that morning of April 5.
The service opened with a brief account of Rev. Park's life. Everyone felt deep admiration and gratitude for his outstanding example as a religious leader. Mr. Hwang Hwan Chai, former president of Korean CARP, gave his acclaim to Tiger Park in the form of an ode entitled, "He fought against Satan and won."
To show Rev. Park's outstanding position as an international Abel, representatives from Japan, the United States and Germany gave short reports.
"When he first came to the United States," Michael Smith, of American CARP, reported, "we did not know that he would change our lives. But in the three providential years of 1979-81, he not only remolded our lives but also turned the tide of the young peoples' movement in America.
He slept not only with us but often the same room with our workshop guests. Even the son of a Mafia boss and members of 'Hell's Angels' came to trust him. In this way, he gave us an example of humility and God's unconditional love. We can never repay him or Korea for giving us her son."
Many were moved to tears upon hearing Michael Smith's words of appreciation and praise. Truly American CARP inherited heavenly tradition through Rev. Park's life. Visiting each one of the more than 40 centers more than four times a year, he not only became the true globetrotter but also exemplified his credo: "M," members are my God." Rev. Park was not only an outstanding leader and teacher; he truly showed us Father's unconditional love. One day in December -- we now know how bad his health was at the time -- he had to cancel a CARP leaders' meeting because of high fever. When some of the leaders arrived at the training center in the afternoon, presuming to find Rev. Park in bed -- they were so moved to see him play soccer with us in the yard.
The mission Rev. Park carried out in Germany was probably the shortest of his life: only four months. But this was certainly the most mature and accomplished time. We feel deeply blessed to have spent this period together. Through Rev. Park we know the path which lies ahead of us. We will try our very best to live like him and carry out our mission.
Burning incense, singing songs, and offering a prayer concluded the ceremony. According to our church tradition, Rev. Park's body was buried on our holy land that Father dedicated. There, in company with older brothers from the 36 blessed couples, former president of HSA-UWC, Mr. Hyo Won Eu, and Mr. Ki Suk Lee, he rests after such a life of struggle for God. Standing on that hillside, I felt so deeply how much beauty and dignity his life commanded.
Rev. Park leaves his wife, Kum Soon Choi, and nine children (seven sons and two daughters), ages one through 17. His oldest son, Jin Han, said, "All his life, he gave me unconditional love; how can I be a filial son now?" Rev. Park had told us that once his family conducted a "democratic" election to see who was Abel. At that time, Jin Han, rather than Rev. Park himself, was chosen. Truly, we can say that Rev. Park left his best heritage through his life, his wife and his children. May God bless them.
And Elijah said to Elisha, Wait for me here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan. And he said, As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you. And they two went on.
And 50 men of the sons of the prophets went and stood to watch from afar; and they two stood by the Jordan.
Then Elijah took his mantle and wrapped it together and struck the waters of the Jordan, and they were divided half hither and half thither, so that they two crossed on dry ground.
And when they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken away from you. And Elisha said, Let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.
And he said, You have asked too much; nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so to you; but if not, it shall not be so.
And it came to pass, as they still went on and talked, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and separated the two; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
And Elisha saw it and he cried, saying, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof! And he saw him no more; and he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into pieces.
Then he took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan;
And he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the waters and said, O Lord the God of my lord Elijah! And when he also had struck the waters of the Jordan, they parted half hither and half thither; and Elisha went over.
And when the sons of the prophets who
came to watch at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah
rests on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to
the ground before him.
II Kings 2:6-15
For the U.S. Unification movement, the death of Rev. Chong Goo ("Tiger") Park is a sobering occurrence. We are not strictly a young people's movement any more.
Yet at the same time, this realization gives us an added sense of responsibility and inspiration to take up where Rev. Park left off.
An instructive Biblical reference is found in the attitude of the prophet Elijah's disciple and protégé, Elisha, at the time of Elijah's passing into the spirit world. Three times Elijah bade Elisha to remain while Elijah continued on his journey toward the river Jordan. Three times Elisha refused to leave his master's side, and thus made an important condition to inherit Elijah's mission.
Thus, when Elijah granted his disciple a final request, his reply was, "Let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." That wish was granted, and Elisha went on to become one of the greatest prophets in Israel's history.
To the members of CARP and all Unificationists who were moved by Rev. Park's example, this relationship is instructive. We in the CARP movement knew that Tiger Park had cancer and that the chances of his recovery were slight. Yet we never prayed for his recovery. Instead, we prayed, ''God, thy will be done." And we felt a personal responsibility to make conditions through which the Tiger spirit could work through us.
In this sense, we can see Rev. Park's passing into the spiritual world as a great challenge and opportunity. Tiger Park set such a strong example of passion, energy and front-line commitment while he was on earth. He showed us personally how to fight against communism with confidence and life- risking courage. He was never content t sit back and "lead" from a desk. Instead, he led through action and example.
As CARP developed, its members began to inherit this tradition. However, we were still somewhat in awe of this fireball "reverend" with the nickname of "Tiger," who threw caution to the wind and charged bravely (some might say recklessly) forward every time he saw red.
Through several CARP festival/demonstration tours and the establishment of seven major regional campus centers, the Tiger drove us out to the front line, then ran ahead of us to show the fighting spirit God wanted each one of us to inherit. He was a Joshua, leading us toward Jericho; or he was an Elijah, standing alone with his God against hundreds of the false prophets of communism.
As CARP expanded in America, Father directed Rev. Park to begin the "March to Moscow" by confronting the ideological enemy in Europe, specifically Germany. The confrontation took place as around 120 CARP members led by Tiger Park set up their banners and placards in the midst of an expected crowd of 200,000 leftist peace demonstrators in Bonn, in October 1981.
From the providential point of view, this "peace" demonstration's origins were in the realm of Cain. Even though it took place in West Germany, the confrontation represented our first foray into the East; the destruction of the spiritual Berlin Wall. The members showed great courage, some of them suffering severe beatings by the "peace" demonstrators. But they emerged victorious with even more zeal and determination than ever before.
It was at this point, I believe, that Tiger Park had reached the limit of his earthly mission. CARP had proliferated to 90 campuses in America. These was no way he could personally stand on the front line on all 90 campuses, especially when he was supposed to spend a third to a half of his time in Germany. Nevertheless, he tried, as he used to say, "all my best," and managed to get into several car accidents as he rushed from center to center, trying to be in 90 places at the same time.
It was beautiful, in a sense, to see this no-longer-young man literally burning himself out as he relied on the energy of God alone to sustain him while he passionately inspired the members with his yelling, laughing, singing, preaching, whispering and crying until the early hours of the morning -- only to get up before dawn and drive at full speed to the next town, where he would repeat the process.
We suspected that his health was faltering. He did too, but he steadfastly refused to see a doctor, even walking out of one appointment on the pretext of going to the bathroom, leaving a bewildered sister seated for hours in the waiting room.
He was not superstitious, and he was certainly nobody's fool, but he seemed to sense somehow that his life and death were in God's hands alone, and he continued to strive unceasingly to stay on the front line with the members until the final moment.
Just before he finally did go the doctor to face his fate, Tiger Park gathered the CARP directors together at his home in California. For long hours he listened to their tedious, detailed reports, embracing and sympathizing with them. He was in obvious pain, coughing deeply and often, and blinking his eyes because of severe headaches.
Finally it was his turn to speak. For several hours he spoke at his full volume, the ends of his sentences often choked off by the coughing.
He told us that no matter what the obstacles, he would stay on the front line with God, relying on His spirit to sustain him, even though his body may not be able to continue.
Then he paused and said, "Now I am going to tell each one of you your weak point, so that you may strive to overcome it and become great leaders." To one leader he said, "You must keep a higher public standard." To another, "You have to organize better." To a third, "You must learn to communicate with Americans." And around the room he went: "You must dedicate yourself now, not later," "You have to become more broad-minded," "You should talk less and listen to your members more," "You have to keep going, even if you get depressed," "You need to give more inspiration," "You must become more manly," and so on.
Afterward he took us out and bought us suits. It was the first time he had ever given any substantial material gift to the leaders. But his spiritual advice and his front line example is what all of us will always remember.
During his painful struggle against the cancer that had now infested his entire body, all CARP members kept a daily prayer vigil. At first we were confused and worried, but as time passed we felt that if God called Rev. Park to the spirit world, it would be to a higher mission in which we, too, could participate though still on earth. Thus we prayed for Rev. Park's family and told God, "Don't worry about us. We are ready to continue in Tiger Park's tradition, no matter what."
When the news of his death came, we all felt a sense of both loss and relief that his struggle was over. He died on the same day that Father's trial began, a few days after the incredible victory for democracy in El Salvador, and just as the rumors of Brezhnev's serious illness became public.
In conclusion, we see Rev. Park's "death" not as something tragic. We believe that his spirit will be more free to lead us now than when he was on earth and limited by time, space and his physical body. His example of passionate devotion to Father and Mother will live forever.
Finally, it is about time that American members grow up and begin to take responsibility for their country. Father always wanted this, but he needs someone to show the way. Tiger Park became a bridge between Father and the American members. Now it is up to all of us, like so many Elishas, to take up his mantle and inherit a double portion of his Tiger spirit.