Pastor Jung Myung Seok went overseas in 1999. Since that time, I’ve been able to see him on numerous occasions. When he was touring in Singapore in May 1999, I interpreted next to him. After that, I had the chance to interpret next to him in Germany, England, America (when he visited Hawaii), and New Zealand. During that time, he was holding peace assemblies. There was a time when he even went to Sri Lanka because of work.
For many years, from the time I saw Jung Myung Seok in 1994 to the first day he came to tour in America until the last time I saw him, he has always remained consistent.
What I mean by consistent is that he would always wake up early and dress very neatly. After that, he would come out to deliver the morning message, pray, and eat a simple breakfast. Then he’d go outside to exercise by managing his body while talking to others. During that time, he would take care of people and try to evangelize through sports, culture, and art.
What were some of the things Jung Myung Seok while touring abroad?
In places like Sri Lanka, Jung Myung Seok would carry a brown leather bag he dubbed the “007 bag.” It was pretty heavy because of the thick photo album inside. He would show people photos of how he was developing a recreation center for God to evangelize people.
One time, after meeting with some medical professionals, he wanted to evangelize a particular person. That person was an acupuncturist from Sri Lanka. So he spent two hours talking about God. So I was able to witness how he spoke for two hours just to save one life.
In Singapore, Jung Myung Seok taught toddlers about God and the great flood during Noah’s time. There were times it got really late while he was teaching. But that was how much time he invested in trying to save lives.
He did the same when he came to America. I was there to witness how he would always give lectures and proclaim the Word of life.
When he was holding events in Europe, Germany, and England, he always carried a first-aid kit with him. So when people got hurt while playing soccer and doing other things, he would be prepared. Sometimes, people got aggressive when playing sports and would fall or scathe their skin.
So when they would hurt themselves, he would apply ointments to their injuries. He did this for every time a person got hurt. Whenever someone sprained something or got hurt, he would tend to them on the spot.
What else helped you understand Jung Myung Seok’s character more?
Last year, I had to go to a New York courthouse as an interpreter. The plane ride there was five hours long, so I used that time to read a book. The author was Hui-nam Choi, who wrote the book while he was in a battlefield. He titled his book, “In the Vietnam War.”
I finished reading the entire book, from the first chapter to the last, while on the plane. But I cried a lot during that time. The people next to me might have wondered how I could cry like that from reading a book.
But the reason I cried was that the book contained a lot of the stories Jung Myung Seok spoke about when he was in the Vietnam War. The only difference was that the author telling the story was a third party.
The part of the book that left the deepest impression was how he could still smile when he spoke about God. Even though he was on the battlefield, when he spoke about God, he was optimistic.
So the author asked him, “Do you like God that much?”
Jung Myung Seok smiled without saying anything. But within that smile, the author felt that God was with this person. So he wrote about it in his book.
When you look at Jung Myung Seok’s deeds, his personality and sincerity, you can see how he has lived a genuine life. He’s not just genuine with his life of faith, but that’s how he has been living every day. And until now, he has not changed.
What is the thing that makes you respect Jung Myung Seok the most?
Personally, that is the thing that touches me the most about Jung Myung Seok.
His sincerity, even towards matters beyond faith and spirituality, it’s mind blowing. How has he been able to life with such integrity until now? It seems like he lives like every single day in a genuine way, with every ounce of his strength.
When he was in Hawaii, he gave me the manuscript to a message he wrote about salvation. He told me to transcribe it with a typewriter (this was before computers). So I started typing it out.
During that time, he went to go sit down. But when I turned to look at him, even though it felt like he had just sat down, he had fallen asleep. It was because of how utterly exhausted he was.
His back was hunched over in an arc, and you could see how fatigued he was. His head was lowered, and his face buried into his chest. He slept for about 10-15 minutes before awakening again. And from then on, he was working again.
Looking at all of the things Jung Myung Seok has done and considering his sincere life—honest and never changing—and listening to his messages, I am confident in my conviction that he is a good person.
Through seeing how he has lived his life personally, I have come to trust him. His character is really likeable, sincere, and pure. So that’s why I have continued to stay in Providence Church until now.