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작성일 : 02-06-22 22:29
The Story of Sang Hyun Chae
 글쓴이 : 조동호
조회 : 12,523  
originally written for Christian Standard in 1958 with the title
"Hundred Patches Teacher")

By Yoon Kwon Chae

The people called him "Hundred Patches Teacher," but his real name was Sang Hyun Chae(Choi). My father, Sang Hyun Chae was a graduate of the Theological School of Yonhee University (about 1912) and a graduate of the Enkin University of China (about 1920). He did many things in his life, from selling fish to governing a country, but the Bible never left his hand and the pulpit was never free from his preaching. Until 1936, when an American missionary, John T. Chase, arrived to Korea, father had been the pastor of a Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea.

His encounter with Brother Chase was, like so many wonderful things that happen in l1fe, purely coincidental. He knocked on the door of Mr. Chase, seeking someone who wasn't there. He sought for another Mr. Chae,  but instead he was met by Mr. Chase. This disappointment, however, turned out to be God's appointment. My father took out from his pocket one of his books concerning the book of Revelation, and Mr. Chase took out from his pocket the Word of God. They began a discussion that went on until the world was turned over to the moon, and for many moons thereafter. After that night, however, it was not merely a discussion. It was a serious and earnest study of the Word of God.

As a natural consequence to an earnest seeker of the truth, my father asked to be baptized in the form that Christ Himself was baptized. In the baptismal water, he also lost his job with the Methodist Church. Bro. Chase asked him why he lost his job. His answer was, "Because of my preaching." "What did you preach?" asked Bro. Chase. "Exactly what you taught me through the Word of God!" Then the family of my father started a new ministry - a ministry of God and His Word, and nothing but His word; a ministry full of joy and yet full of thorns.

After he gave up his salary with the Methodist Church, father devoted all of his time, sweat, and blood to the new church of Christ. He faced increasingly serious persecution by the Oriental religions and even by "Christian" denominations. And the number of his family looking to him for support grew until the fingers of both hands couldn't count them.

The hardest adversity hit him and us when World War Ⅱ started. All the foreign missionaries were called back to their countries and the Japanese police started to persecute the Christians. I was a school boy then and I remember clearly some of those days. Even before the war, the three rice bowls were reduced to two bowls and finally to one, and the soup became thinner day by day until we could almost see the bottom of the bowl. We saved that one meal for lunch, and had worship services for breakfast and supper.

This was the time when the people began to call father "Hundred Patches Teacher." His only suit was covered with so many patches that he looked almost like a clown. Once he showed us how thick his suit was because of the patches and he said he was kept warm because he was actually wearing several coats (of patches).

But his lips were never covered with patches or otherwise. The church's place of worship had to be moved constantly to evade persecution by the Japanese police, but father never missed a Sunday of preaching.

Japanese police started to force the preachers to worship the shrine. They permitted Christian worship services only to those who visited the shrine at least once. For those christians who did not visit, they held forth only condemnation and destruction.

The force of persecution could not destroy the church, however, in its "underground" meeting places! Moreover, how could they destroy the church which was built deep in our hearts? No, the rifles and bayonets could not fight against it! The gates of Hades could not prevail against it!

The liberty finally came back to us when Japan was defeated and Korea was preparing for her own independent government. The missionaries, Mr. Chase and Mr. Hill, came back and again the songs of triumph were heard everywhere.

But the liberty did not stay with us long. In 1950 the North Korean communist army invaded South Korea in such a swift action and such a brutal manner that it took only one night for us to realize that we were under the rule of the communists. Thus began the most severe trials we had ever faced. Church buildings were forced to close for the use of the communist soldiers, and the Christian workers were picked up by the secret police one by one.

At first, they approached my father, asking him to be one of the leaders in a communistic Christian organization called "Christian League," which was nothing but a branch of the communist party. His answer to them was clear: "I cannot serve even two masters; how can I serve four masters, Christ; Marx, Lenin and Stalin?" As he refused the order, he knew clearly that he would soon have to serve his one Lord in prison cells. That is why, perhaps, he sent his wife and three small daughters and a son to the country.

I, a high school graduate then and an active worker in a church, was captured by the communists before father was captured and, therefore, I could not see the end of my father. According to my sisters story; however, two communist officers came into the house one evening and asked my father to accompany them. Father, knowing that the time had finally come, calmly stood up, took his coat, said good-by to his family, and followed them. My brother and sister, in a panic of fear, followed them, only to be chased back home by the soldiers.

This was the last time any of my family saw my father. But two days later, a former church member accidentally saw him being interrogated by the communist officers. He told us, later, how strange a scene it was. The communists were the investigators and my father was the accused one. Yet, the smile of triumph was on my father's face, while the anger and frustration were on the faces of the investigators. I can almost hear what Scriptures my father was preaching then: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." A couple of months later, an envelope came to my family. It was from my father. It had no letter in it, but it contained two hundred Whan (about twenty cents). Perhaps it was all the money he had in his pocket and he felt that he didn't need it anymore.

When the United Nations Army chased the communists out of Seoul and gave us the liberty once more, I started to search out what happened to my father. I met a man who, in Westgate Prison, saw my father still talking to the fellow prisoners about the love of God.

I found the trace of thousands of prisoners who had been bound together and taken to North Korea, and I also found that most of them were shot to death on the way. On a vast field near the town called Ujungboo I found hundreds of corpses that had been shot and burned to black. I looked into everyone of those faces to see if anyone was my father. I didn't find him. I couldn't identify the faces. However, I saw many other Christians besides me looking for the members of their families. They gathered together and started to sing the hymn, "In the Sweet By and By." I joined them. In the beginning everybody was crying, but after we sang the hymn twenty or thirty times, I found that nobody was crying. We were no more looking at those black burned bodies, but were looking up to Heaven where we could see the members of our families singing and praising the glory of God. We will never cry again for our beloved ones. For Him that was born of Spirit, there is no sadness, there is no death. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"