Don C. Jones
Don C. Jones joined the United States Army in 1946 to continue his education under the G.I. Bill Benefit. During childhood, he found himself very involved in music. This drew him to play instruments such as the clarinet and later the bassoon. In the United States Army, he served in the 7th Infantry Division Band in Korea, using the musical skills he had learned as a child. During his time in Korea, Don C. Jones was inspired to become a Christian missionary and continued his education to pursue seminary school. He later returned to Korea and lived there for 36 years.
Understanding the Communist Perspective
Don C. Jones arrived in Korea in 1947. He describes the political situation between North and South Korea at that time. He describes how reunification was promoted although it never happened. He elaborates seeing signs intimating reunification would never happen, spurred by the Soviet presence backing the North Koreans. He also describes a conversation he had with a Communist late at night, attempting to understand the other perspective.
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Korea Reborn from the Ashes
Don C. Jones has seen the Korean peninsula transition from before the onset of the Korean War through the present day. He witnessed it through his service in the Army and his work as a Christian missionary. He describes how when he first arrived in Korea majority of the people were illiterate and in poverty, while detailing this is not the case today.
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Korea as a Symbol of the Cold War
Don C. Jones discusses what he believes the Korean War symbolizes. He details prior events that took place and led up to the conflict in Korea between Communist and Capitalist nations. He elaborates how Korea was a part of that greater conflict in the Cold War.
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[Beginning of Recorded Material]
Well, what I was going to start with was
D: I finished high school in 1946 and I wanted to go to college. And my parents did not have enough money to send me to college.
D: So, at that time, there was an ad in the newspaper, that said if you join before September 1,
D: the mil-, the military, you will get the same GI bill of rights
I: Uh huh.
D: that people got during the war.
And, the, I read a little more and found if I joined for two years, they would give me a month for each year of service plus 12 months. That’s 36 months, divided by f-, well, make it, cut it down to nine months per school year. Divide by four and you’ve got four years of college out of two years of military service.
I: That’s good deal, isn’t it?
D: So, yeah, so I joined the Army on August 1, 1946. And since I had
been in a band, since junior high days,
D: they classified me as a bandsman and sent me to Fort Lee, Virginia for basic training and band training. And then, after that, I did not know where I would go, but then they sent me to Korea where I became a member of 7th Infantry Division Band. I was 18 years old by the time I arrived
there. I arrived there on, a, I believe, February 3rd, in Inchon Harbor.
I: When, 1940?
I: And you said April?
D: No, February.
D: February 3rd.
D: It was very cold and when we got out on deck, we found out was snowing and a chaplain
came to visit us, he was wearing a parka with a big hood. He had a beard and he had snow all over his beard. So, I thought, boy this is a cold place. [laughs]
I: Yeah, it is.
D: So, they, they took us off the ship and sent us to a replacement depot where they – do you want me to go into d-detail
I: Sure, sure.
D: like this? – a replacement depot, they called it repl depot, in Inchon.
I: Can you spell that? Repl?
D: Well, that’s a sub, that’s a shortening of
D: So, it’s repl,
D: And we went there and there were maybe a couple of thousand men standing and just walking around outside and they had fires here and there where you could get up and warm your hands. And what you were supposed to do is just, they fed us one meal, I think, and then they said you just stand, stand there until they call your name and then you’ll
get on you truck and go to your unit. So, I was there for all afternoon and didn’t get to my unit until maybe 10:30 or 11:00 that night. We road in the back of a truck and got off and, in the middle of the night and arrived at our new destination. We lived in barracks, somewhere, I think in,
somewhere close to 8th Army Headquarters,
D: but we were in old Japanese style barracks.
I: Must been Seoul, right?
D: In Seoul, yes. Japanese style barracks. A-and we had no, the heat we had, we had had, coal, cook, coal oil stoves, which were made out of old oil drums,
D: with a carburetor
I: Yeah, yeah, yeah,
I: I know.
D: You saw those?
I: Yeah, yeah.
D: And, so, we did not have running water, except for water stored in a storage tank. Unfortunately, that was frozen solid. [laughs] So, we couldn’t take a bath.
I: You had tons of ice cubes. [laughs]
D: [laughs] Oh, yeah, that’s right. So, what we did, if we wanted to wash our face or shave, we’d take wash pan outside, fill it with snow, fill it with snow and then
come in, put it on the stove and melt it. And that’s the way we got our wash water. So, in my unit were probably 70 men and we all lived in two great big rooms. And, not separate rooms, but the spaces where we had double deck beds. And, so that was a new environment for me, huh?
I: Mm-hmm. Must be. But let me stop you here.
I: Why don’t you introduce yourself.
I: Your name, where you born, about your family and schools, and so on.
D: Ok. Well, I was born in Galveston, Texas.
I: Uh huh.
D: My father at that time worked for Sante Fe Railroad.
D: But then, by, by the time I was probably two years old, it was during the, America’s Depression.
I: When was it? When you born? 19?
D: November 13, 1928.
I: So, one year before the Great Depression.
D: Oh, yeah. So, the, by the time I was one or two years old, the Depression was on. My father was laid off from the railroad.
D: So, moved from Texas back to his mother’s home, for the first time back in Yukon, Oklahoma. And, they we moved to a house in Oklahoma City. But he was
working for very little pay.
D: He worked at a grocery warehouse, and yo-, onl-, worked six days a week, earned only $12 a week. So, he would come home wearing overalls in the evening and we would, my sister was one year younger than I. We would run to meet him and sometimes he would have a piece of candy or maybe some nuts in his pocket, so
we’d go see what kind of prize he had for us in his pocket. And so, we were poor, but we were very, you know, very happy.
D: And we, of course, we had a radio, there was no such thing as TV in those days. But my father would sometimes read to us at night,
D: read to us stories, so that, our family jus shared in those things. Ok, so I guess I should
I: So what school did you go? Where?
D: What did we where?
I: School did you go
D: Elementary school, I went to three different elementary schools because we didn’t, we moved two or three times. I went to Emerson, first, Elementary. Washington second and Lee third.
I: In Galveston, Texas.
D: Oklahoma City.
I: Oklahoma City, yes right.
D: Yeah. In the Capital Hill area
D: of Oklahoma City. And then when I finished junior high there also,
Capital Hill Junior High. And when I finished junior high, then my father had a chance to transfer in the post office back to Galveston, Texas.
D: Which is where he wanted to be. So, I left all my friends and had to make new friends in Galveston, Texas. And, so I, and we were active in church, so we got into the First Baptist Church
of Galveston. And, so, while I was still in Galveston, I had a feeling that God wanted, had a special task for me, but I did not know what that task was, but I said okay, I will do it. Uh huh? So, when I, when I entered the Army, they had an option then –
by the way, I finished at Ball High School,
D: Galveston, Texas. If, if you entered for three years, they said you could chose your branch of service and also choose your location.
D: If you entered for two years, you did not choose, you just went where they sent you. But I didn’t want to go three years, I chose to go two years. So, I didn’t know where I was going but they sent me to Korea. But funny thing is
when I arrived in Korea, most of the people had joined for three years, and specified Europe
I: [laughs] So,
D: but ended up in Korea.
I: so, no matter what, you enlisted for three years and you specified the location you wanted to stay, you might end up in Korea again.
D: Which is what they did.
I: Oh, my goodness.
D: Now, so since I arrived there in February, it was cold,
and life was sort of dull just in our Army unit, so I wanted to get out, but I did not get out very much until spring came.
D: And when I saw all the green grass and the flowers, I decided it was time to get out.
I: I have few questions about your high school days
I: and your, your, your faith.
I: You said that you felt that you have special kind of calling
I: How did you g-get it and tell me about you know, ma-, there are many atheists in the contemporary U.S., and all everywhere,
D: Not as much then
I: you believe in God
D: as there are now.
I: I know. You believe in God
D: Of course.
I: and what is your message to those people who believes that he was evolved out of one specific cell.
D: Well, I say to them, the reason they don’t believe in
God is because they believe in, they believe that science is their god, maybe. And, if you cannot see God, if you cannot measure Him, then they do not believe in Him. But I said, I would say, hey, there is a spiritual world as well as a physical world, and there are spiritual realities as well as physical realties.
D: For example, qualities
like love, you can’t see love, you can’t touch it, but is it real? What about life, you can, you cannot even say what life is, except you know when a person is alive and when he’s dead. And I, I read a book two or three years ago called The Language of God, written by a scientist, Dr. Frances Collins, who was the head of the genome
project, which did the DNA studies. And he said when he was a young man, wanting to become a scien-, a doctor, a scientist, he, people would ask him, he’d say he was an atheist, he said he didn’t know why, but he just thought that’s what scientists were supposed to be. But, he said as he studied science, he kept finding beautiful patterns in this world, flowers, trees, sky,
so many things are beautiful. Why would they be beautiful? And they seemed to have a pattern of intelligence and an intelligence that reached out toward man, huh? So, he said he went to see a pastor of a church and said, tell me, why, why should I believe in God? So, the sci-, the pastor referred him to the writings of C.S. Lewis.
D: And he said he made an immediate connection with C.S. Lewis
writings and therefore he has been a Christian now for many years. And, he says even in studying the genomes, they are so beautiful and it’s so logical that he could not imagine that they could have come into being without a plan, and without a planner, huh?
D: So, that’s the ki-, that’s the way I look at it. And if someone says they don’t believe in God because they can’t see Him, I, I say them
well, you may not believe in him now, but when you die, supposing you come face to face with God,
D: what are you going to say then? If I die, and find that that it is now true, what have I lost? If you die and find that God is there, and that He will hold you responsible for your evil
deeds if you did not accept salvation, then what are you going to say?
D: Too late.
I: That’s right.
D: So, that’s the way I look at it.
I: Tell me about enlisting into the military at the time that you are high school graduate.
I: Was it popular to join the military and why, why?
D: Well, I, my father,
my father and mother had to sign papers to allow me to join. And, funny thing is, he rather wished that I could go to A & M, because they have a military cadet corps but they didn’t have the money to send me, so he said, so he said i-if this is what he wants, le-, let’s let him do it. In my case, it was primarily because I was I felt that
it was up to me to do something for my education
D: And I knew that there was a possibility of different influences coming into your life
I: From the military.
D: from the military.
D: And so, even though I was just 17 when I went into the Army
D: I decided that even though I had had things like my family and my church to kind of keep me stabilized at
home, I would not have them with me in the military, so I said I must become a more disciplined Christian, in order to be able to continue being a Christian in the military. So, I bought a num-, quite a few Christian books and I started reading my bible regularly and attending worship services and where ever I could. And,
they first sent me to Fort Lee, Virginia.
I: Before, when did you enlist do you remember?
D: August 1
D: 1949, ’48.
I: Wow, you have such a good memory.
D: [laughs] Well, for some things, yes. And, so they sent me to Camp Lee, Virginia, which is near Petersburg, which is not far from Richmond.
And, the reason being that in addition to basic training, I could also get U.S. Army band training at the same place
I: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
D: ‘Course, they wouldn’t let people in band school unless you already had band experience.
D: So, I went through basic training and I did not enjoy basic training, it was very tough. [laughs]
I: [laughs] Yeah.
D: The funny thing is, they asked me at the end of it if I would like to become a
D: Cadre. Means a, a leader for basic training. And I said, no, no, I don’t think so. [laughs]
D: But the reason why I had been in high school ROTC.
I: Uh huh.
D: Reserve Officer Training Corps.
I: I know, but do they have ROTC in high school too.
D: They did. I’m not sure if they still do.
I: I don’t think so.
D: Anyway, I had, I had,
that was one of the things I participated in, therefore I knew most of the things about military life already. And, s-, my main con-, concentration in basic training was don’t make mistakes, don’t get in trouble.
D: But even so, I got in trouble one day.
D: One day we were out marching in the hot sun in Virginia. And they, they were drilling us, you know, one direction,
by the right flank, march, column right, march, column left, and I made a mistake and went the opposite direction one time. And my sergeant started swearing at me. And I had been so conscientious in trying to do everything right, and trying to be grown up, huh? I just cried, when he balled me out, I just cried.
And he says, aw, Jones, I didn’t mean to make you cry, get back in ranks. [laughs] So, that was over quickly,
D: and the funny thing is that they asked me to become a member of Cadre at the end of it, but I went on to band school, which was much more pleasant than the basic training.
I: What instrument did you play?
D: Well, I began even in elementary school, studying and playing clarinet.
I: Uh huh.
D: But when in junior
high, I started on clarinet, but I found our high school had two advanced bands and one beginner band.
D: Two advanced orchestra and one beginning orchestra.
D: So, I landed in the second advanced band, with the clarinet. But, but, I did not get a uniform in second advanced band, but our director needed someone to play, to play the bassoon. So, he said, if any of you clarinets are willing
to take on bassoon, well you can go immediately to first advanced band and get a uniform and all. So, I said okay, I’ll do it. [laughs] So, from then on, about two years of junior high school, and three years of high school
I: You learned frro-, you learning from the scratch, the bassoon?
D: Yes, well, the fingering is similar,
D: you just had to learn a few
I: Right, right, right.
D: differences. And, of course I had to learn double reed instead of a mouth piece. But, all they gave, I didn’t get
special lessons in bassoon, they just showed me a fingering chart and I worked with a fingering chart. And there was another bassoonist who had more experience than I. I would just ask questions and learn that way.
I: Have you heard anything about Korea around 1940s when you were in high school?
D: [shakes head no]
I: Before you leave
D: I did not,
I: for Korea?
D: no. I had, in high school, junior school, or high school, I remember writing
a paper one time about China? And writing a paper about Japan. But our books did not say much about Korea.
I: Did say anything about Korea actually?
D: I don’t know.
I: I don’t think so.
D: I don’t remember anything. So, when I was told I was heading for Korea, I said where is Korea? They said, well it’s near Japan and near China. So, I got to look, to see the maps before I got there, but it was a new thing to me.
I: So, Korea has to be always associated with either China or Japan?
D: Maybe so.
D: Yeah. And I, of course, since then, I read a lot about Korea, and I realize now, for example, that the independence movement in 1919, came right about the time that President Wilson was annunciating 14 po-
D: -one of which was the right of small nations to independence. And then, so when the independence movement came they were simply trying to catch the attention
D: of the rest of the world and say, okay, here, we, we’re one of those small nations, we want our independence. But, they didn’t get it, so many Koreans were imprisoned or killed or died in prison, maybe. And, or burned up
in a church fire, or something, you know.
I: I think we’ll link the dot between your unawareness of Korea,
I: but you end up in Korea,
I: and with a special mission. I
D: Oh, yeah.
I: think you got a calling from God.
I: How do you link that up? I mean, I want you to be sure on this, and then we will talk more about it as we
D: Oh. Okay, How, how does it get linked up? Okay. Well, when
I: Like as a conclusion, after looking back
all those years.
D: Okay. Well, that’s very, I have two web addresses to give you that you can check out two interviews with me if you want to.
D: They’re called Mission to Korea, part one and two.
I: Hold on, hold on. Mission?
D: Mission to Korea
I: Mm-hmm. Yep.
D: Part one and part two.
D: And, the website is www.
D: and then the number four
D: u, just the let-, just the letter u.
D: And that is a blog site.
I: Uh huh.
D: And so, a friend of mine interviewed me for that.
I: Uh huh.
D: So, when I first made that commitment, I said, we called it being called for special vocational service.
I: Before you left for Korea?
D: That’s when I was still in high school.
D: And, I thought that might mean becoming a pastor, it might mean becoming another type of church staff, music or education, or it might mean being missionary. I just left the door open on that. So, when I went to Korea, I did not immediately have the idea of being a missionary at that time. But,
after I went out and started exploring the city of Seoul, which I think had fewer than a million people at that time.
D: I wandered all over Seoul. And, I remember going to City Hall Plaza, seeing a sign leading towards (Chung Do Kampne Goha).
I: Mm-hmm. Chung Do.
D: Chung Do.
D: (Kampne Goha). And there was a sign said Youth For Christ on Saturday night.
D: Saturday night. So, I decided to go and it was a English language Youth For Christ and many of the speakers were either missionaries or chaplains. And many of the participants were either U.S. military young people, or Korean college young people, who spoke English and wanted, wanted to have fellowship with them. So, I had, I had
a really good time in Youth For Christ.
I: Do you remember any American missionary already there, name?
D: Yes, Bruce Hunt was one.
I: Bruce what?
D: Bruce Hunt.
D: He was orthodox Presbyterian and he lived, later at least, in Pusan, but he was actually a prisoner of war during the Korean War.
D: And, then there was a Salvation Army person named,
To-, let’s see, I can’t quite call his name, but he was, maybe it was, maybe it was Townly Lord, or something like that.
D: But he also was a prisoner of war. And also, I, yes, I met some other missionaries because sometimes I attended Seoul Union Church. There was a Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Luntz, who were Presbyterian.
Sh-, he was agriculture and she was music. And, there was a Dr. Alice Appenzeller,
D: who was president of EY at that time.
D: And then, Horace Underwood, Sr. and Jr., were both there.
I: I’m from Yonsei University,
D: Are you
I: that’s my alma mater, so
I: we know Underwood.
D: Okay. And when were you there?
I: Oh, it’s 1980s.
D: 1980. Okay. Well,
and I met this Korean pastor named Chi Song, Chi Song Do maybe
D: and he had several children. Later, he gave, he called me his adopted son.
D: And his, his other children’s name were (Trehe, Trehe Chong, Trehe Suk), the two twin girls, (Trehe Myong, Trehe Yun and Trehe Dong).
D: So, he
gave me the name of (Trehe Jun).
D: So, funny thing i-, and, they had an older son who was away, I did not meet. But, one time I sang at his church and he introduced me as his third son. But he already had three there, so number three had to become number four. [laughs]
D: [laughs] So, that was really, really.
I: So, going back to how do you link?
The oldest daughter, (Trehe Suk), was 28 years old. She was married to a husband who was studying in America at the time at Asbury Seminary. So, when I met her, I was 18, she was 28. But she was kind of like an older sister, huh? And they invited me, I was in their home several times, every week after I finally got acquainted with them.
D: And, like I say, he called me his adopted son. But she told me, you will go back to America, you will study college seminary, then you will come back to Korea a missionary. She said that several times. Every time she said that, I would say, no, no, no, no that will not happen, huh? And I think I was sort of dealing with the situation, but I was seeing being a missionary
as a very isolated life.
I: Was Chi Song Do the pastor of the Chungdong Church?
D: Pastor, no, he’s pastor of
I: Union Church?
D: (Puk Ayhan)
D: (Puk Ayhan)
I: (Puk Ayhan)
D: (Son gyo kyo an)
I: Oh, so you attend the Puk Ayhan when you there?
D: I really did not, except for when he especially invited me. Usually I attended either a Army chapel service, or what they called the International
Church, which met across the street from the capital building, at a place called Capital Club.
I: Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.
D: So, I sang in their choir. Their choir was directed by Mrs. Luntz, who was a missionary.
D: So, she had a lot of influence in my life. But even when I went back to America, I still had not connected the dots. I still said, as a matter of fact, I really did not want to be a missionary.
D: I said, I would say Lord, I will do anything you want, except I hope not missionary. And, but why, why did I not want to be a missionary? Because, well it’s, it’s just too hard. [laughs] I thought it’s hard to learn somebody else’s language.
I: Language, cultural, you have the –
D: It’s hard to get used to eating always the food of a different country and learning their customs, and
living under their laws. And living maybe with some inconveniences, like when we first lived in Tanjan, we only had water coming in two hours per day. And, and the house was a Japanese style house, rather poorly i-insulated, many sliding doors. Tatami floors.
D: So, it’s kind of cold and warm only next to the stove.
So, why I thought surely there must be an easier way to serve God. [laughs]
D: So, during my first two years of college, I was struggling with that.
I: Hold on, so you came back to the States when?
D: June 2nd
D: 1948. No no, no no, 1949.
I: ’49 yes.
D: Yeah. Oh, beg your pardon, I believe it was, yeah,
it was, okay, I take it back. I, I joined the Army August ’46, so I went home
I: August ’46.
D: Is when I joined the Army, August 1, ’46.
D: And I went home May 29 at actually we got my discharge on June 2nd of 1948.
D: ’46 to ’48 in other words.
I: Hold on, um
Um, you said that you arrived in Inchon February of 1948.
D: That’s right.
I: And then you went back to State?
D: May 29th, well actually there’s, we had to leave earlier because we were on a ship.
I: Yeah, May 29 of ’49?
D: That’s right. See I joined in, no, no, no, it, it was ’48. No, no.
I: You, you were in
Korea just for three months, no?
D: No, no, no, okay, I went in to Kor-, I joined the Army in ’46. I arrived in Korea February
D: ’47 and then left May 29, ’48.
D: Does that make sense?
I: That make sense now.
D: And actually, I w-, you’d say, why, I didn’t stay in a full two years, because I had that much furlough accrued,
so, they gave me credit for that.
I: Okay, so, you arrived in Inchon, February 3rd of 1947 and you left Korea May 29th of 1948.
I: Yeah, yeah.
D: And that’s two years, roughly, since I joined in ’46.
D: And actually, I saw President Rhee Syngman
D: drive by in a car one time.
I didn’t meet him, but I saw him at that time. And, so I arrived home in June, started to college in September.
D: I went to Howard Payne College, which is now Howard Payne University, from September ’46 to spring of ’52.
I: September ’48?
D: To spring graduation, probably June of ’52.
I: So, you were there for four years.
D: And during that time, I married, also.
D: My, I met my, matter of fact, I wrote something on Facebook, two days ago, bec- on Saturday, the 8th, I wr-, b-, that, I said Saturday the 9th was exactly
10 years after my wife’s death.
D: My wife and I were married 53 years.
D: But then I decided, I just like to write something that described her contribution to the mission work in Korea. So, I wrote quite a long-
I: What was her name?
D: Her name was Juanita, actually we called her Nita for short.
I: Uh huh.
D: And she had a Korean
name, (Am Trehe Jun). Somebody picked out a name that’s not appropriate for a husband and wife, (Am Trehe Shin).
I: Uh huh.
D: And la-, later she became a music missionary.
D: And, she actually taught some, some courses at Yongsan.
D: In children’s music. That’s when (Treshe Wan) was head of church music department
D: at Yongsan.
(Treshe Wan) was a good friend of ours.
I: I see.
D: But, so, the, the two years that I was struggling with that, I, it, it would seem that it would keep coming back to me, about being a missionary.
I: What did you study in the college? What was your major?
D: Well I maj-, I had to majors. I majored in English, no, no, I majored in bible and also, I majored in voice
D: And then I minored in English. And, not, not everybody gets a double major, but I thought, hey, if it’s being paid for already, why not go ahead a do a double major. So, you might say, I was about the, my study opportunity like I am about eating. I like to eat, right, so I decided to go ahead and study both, you know.
I: Was part of GI bill
I: Uh huh. Could you tell me about that support? How much did you get?
D: Okay, now, they paid my basic, they paid my tuition including voice lessons. And they also, they gave me s-since I was married, I received about $110 month.
I: How much was the tuition?
was about $500 a semester. Plus, the voice lessons would have been more than that.
I: Uh huh. So, and you were paid for your stipend including housing and so on, so $110 you said?
D: Roughly $110.
I: So, we talking about $12,000 per year, no, $1,400 per year for the living and then tuition for semester $500 more, right?
D: Well, per semester, yeah.
roughly about $2,500 per year.
D: Probably so.
I: For how long?
D: Four years.
I: Four years.
I: That’s nice deal, huh?
D: Nice deal, yes it was. And my wife was on a music scholarship, so my parents didn’t pay anything for my college and her parents didn’t pay anything for her college.
I: Where did you live? It, was it apartment?
D: We lived in a small apartment. Just a two room apartment.
I: How much did you pay for the rent? You know, it gives you
D: That’s a long time ago. [laughs]
I: [laughs] It’s a, it gives you some kind of ideas to the young generation who watch you interview
D: Oh yeah.
I: how was the life there, what was price, that kind of stuff.
D: Okay. We lived in a, in large apartment houses, big double two story house, or maybe even, I think it was two stories. But, we had, there was a kind of a op-, a
open area at the, kind of a lobby like thing at the front and then just one big room and then what used to be the back porch they had built walls around it. That became the kitchen.
D: So, it was very, not much room in it and my wife had piano, so we asked permission to leave the permission to leave the piano in the entrance room, which was not technically ours, but they allowed her to do that.
I: Mmmm. Do you remember how
much was the rent?
D: How much was the rent. Okay, I’m thinking it was about between $30 and $40 a month.
I: I wish I could live there.
D: [laughs] And I had a, I did not get a car until my second year in college, but the, about that time I started becoming a pastor of a little country church.
I: Oh, you become
I: So, you were anointed?
D: I was ordained, yeah.
I: Ordained, yes.
D: Yes, uh huh.
D: Well, I was technically speaking, when I started to college, my pastor knew that I was preparing for some kind of Christian service, so he suggested that their church license me, license is a step before ordination. And that just means, we believe in this young man and we are behind him, huh?
I: Tell me what is the name of the church that you attended throughout whole?
D: Well, my home church in Dallas,
D: my parents were in Dallas by then.
D: was called North Dallas Baptist Church.
I: And the church that licensed you?
D: That’s the same one.
I: Same one.
D: Uh huh. And then, when the country church invited me to be their pastor, then my home church in Dallas also did the ordination. So, I was pretty young when I was ordained and,
and the church I pastored, I only preached there twice a month. They had a, it was in a meeting in an old country school house
D: and two Sundays a month, they had a Methodist pastor, and two Sundays a month they had a Baptist pastor.
I: I see.
D: So, they actually had two congregations meeting together
I: Uh huh.
D: and each one paying the salary of their pastor.
D: And I didn’t get very much. I think I got $20 each time I went.
Barley enough to buy gasoline, huh? So,
D: I was there a year or so at that church and then I became associate pastor at a large church, which was 30 some miles from, my college was in the City of Brownwood.
D: So, I drove 34 miles from Brownwood to a place call Goldthwaite, where I was a minister of music and associate pastor.
Okay, I-I’ll go ahead and give you the details, here, if you, if you’d like. So, I was still wishy-washy about what my ultimate
I: Mission, and calling
D: Mission would be. But one Sunday in January 1951, so I’m remembering that date specifically. We were, my wife and I were driving from Brownwood to Goldthwaite. And I just decide to get, throw her a trial question.
I said, have you ever thought that God might possibly want us to be missionaries. She said, didn’t you know? I surrendered to be a missionary when I was nine years old.
D: I said, no, I didn’t know that. Why did you marry me? She said, well, she felt that God was leading her in both and she thought God had the power to bring them together. So, I was, well, I was astounded, huh?
And then that very same morning, we had a guest preacher in Goldthwaite who was a missionary from South America.
D: He had his doctors degree, he was planning to teach in a seminary in Cali, Columbia, South America. I, I was so impressed with him, and after he preached, I went forward at the end of the service and I said, I did not say I feel called to be a missionary, I said I think God is dealing with
me and it may be that he wants me to be a missionary and I would just asked everyone to please pray for me that I will fully understand what God wants me to do. So that was January. Okay, my wife and I were both in the music department at, at the college, and the week before Easter, we had been invited by another friend in the music department,
who was leading music at a Methodist Church in Coleman, Texas, about 25 miles away. And, he invited us to be the soloist for Easter music. And that Easter music was a, a, a pi-, a, a cantana that our college choir had already done, but I was going to be the Baritone Soloist, my wife would be the Contralto Soloist. What I did not know
was that they were having a revival meeting in that church.
D: So, we went on a Friday and the preacher was a Methodist bishop from Dallas. Bishop, Bishop William Harton. And he preached a message that had, he didn’t mention the word missions, but he preached a message about the temptations of Jesus and how we are, should be very grateful that Jesus was faithful in
temptation, because otherwise we would not have salvation. Okay, the thing I forgot to tell you was, earlier that same week, we had word that the missionary I had heard speak in January had been killed in a plane wreck in South America.
D: Well, that simply crushed me, huh? I thought, how could, how could it be possible that someone who was so well qualified, so dedicated, so talented,
how could it be that such a person would be killed in a plane wreck. So, I just went around under a dark cloud, all week long. And, well, somehow the, the, the death of that missionary was weigh on my heart and the application of that preacher’s sermon, he said, when he said, we should be so
thankful that Jesus was so faithful in temptation. I thought that it applied to me too.
D: I thought, well, I think God has been talking to me about missions for a long time and I have been pretending not to hear. In other words, maybe I had been playing games with God. And it may be though, that there is somebody, somewhere on a mission field who is waiting for me to come
and tell me. If I do not, I think God will forgive me, but if I do not, I have to live with the fact that some people will go into eternity without knowing God, just because I did not obey.
D: That was too much for me to bear. So, at the close of the service, they invited people to come forward if they had a decision. I went ou-, down out of the choir and, what, I didn’t say anything to my wife,
but when I looked, she was sitting by my side. And I said, well, I’m surrendering to be a missionary tonight. Now the way that affected me, I had a, a feeling like this. I, it was as, as though I, see, I’d been troubled all week about the death of that missionary.
D: And I felt like, it’s like driving a car through a thick fog, and you could just see a very short distance, and everything else is inv-, not visible to your sight.
And suddenly the sun melts away the fog and you can see the whole valley, huh? See all of the trees, and the flowers, and the tr- and the houses and things, that’s the way I suddenly felt. Because, I’d been walking more or less in a fog or under a dark cloud, and when I said yes to God, suddenly, that which I had dreaded for those several years,
suddenly became the one thing I wanted to do. I think God changed my, my ambition at that moment when I said yes. He did not force me to say yes, but it’s like changing a thermostat at a house. He just changed my, my direction and my aim. So, from that moment on, I wanted to be a missionary.
When I approached our international mission board, they said where do you want to go. I said, I want to go to Korea.
D: Well, because I already had some emotional ties to Korea for one thing. The friends that I had made, that pastor and his family, had made a deep impression on me and I had, I was, I had made the comment at that time, you know, that’s, that was pre-war, but Korea was very poor at that time. And I thought
this contrast that I found, I said the Korean people in general very poor, and yet the Christians I had met, seemed to be the happiest Christians that I had met anywhere. So, in the midst of poverty, they have joy in their hearts. I said that is good, that’s great. And, so, the board asked me, well, if you can’t go there,
would you go somewhere else. Yes, I would go somewhere else if I can’t go there, but I’d like to go there. Just about that time, our K-Korea Baptist Mission opened so we were able to be appointed to Korea.
I: Uh huh.
D: So, I think it was all God’s plan.
I: Let us go back to the first experience in, in Korea.
I: You said it was, obviously it was poor,
everything was not really comfortable, but any other kind of ideas or,
D: Well, I
I: feelings and so on?
D: I, I wanted to show you something.
D: When I was there at that time, I got this little New Testament, which looks pretty worn now.
D: Not because I read it, because I couldn’t read it.
I: Yeah. Just show it to me, through the camera.
D: Okay, I’ll
I: Is that?
D: It’s, it’s in, a New Testament in Korean
I: In Korean?
D: Yeah. And, it is published in 1948.
I: Hold it like that, hold it.
D: Oh, 1947.
I: Hold on. 1947. Says, (Ku ju kang sen in chen kubek sasachea senyop yok da yonop song so kungha paday).
D: Anyway, I thought I would just show you that.
I: Wow, this is real antique.
D: Real antique, yes.
I: Huh? Real antique, for Christian especially.
D: Oh yeah.
I: So, this is old, New Testament.
D: Only the new testament.
D: But, I th-, I think I had two of these and one of them was given to me by
a Korean friend that I met at Youth For Christ. His name was Chai Yl.
I: Chai Yl?
D: And, he, he made this kind of statement to me. He said, in the future we may be separated by geographical distance, but we will always be united in our faith in Christ.
I: And through Holy Spirit.
D: Yes. So, I thought that was a very precious thing to say.
D: And, and I brought these,
I don’t know, I am really not sure when I got these. But, little carved figures.
I: Traditional Korean man and woman.
D: Yes. And I, I lo-, Is, I’m su-, I feel confident these were hand carved.
I: Where did you get it?
D: I, I don’t know. Whether somebody gave it to me, or whether I bought it in Seoul.
D: But, I
I could have bought it because they, I always loved to see hand made products. And these are good faces and everything.
I: Mmmm. Wow.
D: Yeah. Yeah, I have two or three pictures from my Army time. I just have two on this page.
From the Army time.
D: One is showing me next to a gong outside of our band building
D: and the other is showing me with two friends.
D: Okay. And I’ve got one or two other pictures, some, maybe another page or so over. That, you can see that building,
that it’s a kind of old wooden building.
I: Band, you mean?
D: Band building.
I: Hold it like that. Yep.
D: So, ah, yes, I think right here are, well, one of those pictures shows me wearing Korean clothes and my Korean
brother [laughs] wearing my uniform.
I: Which one is that?
D: Which one you, on this page.
I: This one?
D: Yeah. Do you
I: I don’t
D: see a Korean wearing uniform and me wearing his clothes?
D: Okay, [inaudible]
I: Oh, right here.
D: Oh, yeah, that’s the one that fell off.
I: Let me s-, hold it, I, I need to zoom.
D: And he,
he was a little older than I, and he was attending CCC.
D: Chosun Christian College,
I: Uh, huh.
D: which later became Yonsei.
I: Huh. Remember his name?
D: Chai Yi Chong.
I: Chai Yi Chong.
D: And, he wrote me after I went back to America, he called me dear twin brother
I: Uh huh.
D: so, he elevated me to equal age.
I: Uh huh.
Got it. Thank you.
D: So, I wrote on the back, the Chai twins. And funny thing is when I became a freshman in my college, he wrote me, he said, dear twin brother, cherries are now ripe.
D: He said, I want a scholarship to America. Please get me a scholarship. And I thought, good night, I’m a, I’m just a freshman in college, what could, how can I get him a scholarship?
So, I went to see the dean of my college and I told him. And he said what does he want to major in? I said, well, he wants to major I think in mathematics and later I think some kind of science. And he said, well, we don’t have that many courses here, but he said the dean of University of Texas is a good friend of mine. So, he said, why don’t you get his transcript and I will add my letter to it. We’ll send it to the dean of the University of Texas, so they gave him a complete scholarship.
So, he finished his Bachelor’s degree there at UT and then he went on to University of Ohio, at Dayton, Ohio.
I: Chai Yi Chong?
D: Chai Yi Chong.
I: Wow, that’s a
D: And then he became doctor of mechanical engineering.
D: Then, I believe, Geor-, George Pak was at that time the president of Yonsei.
I: Uh huh.
D: And he wanted Yi Chong to come back.
D: So, he did. But, Yi Chong being a pastor’s son, was more frank speaking, he spoke more frankly than some people, so he expressed an opinion that one of the other professors did not like
D: so, when the other professor became of head of that section, he eliminated the course that he was teaching up, in so-, in, mechanical engineering, and reduced him to a mathematics teacher. And
did that two or three years and he said, well, he said, you know what, anybody can be a mathematics teacher, why, i-, why would I have a doctor’s degree if they won’t let me teach it. So, he decided he was not necessary to stay, so he went to University of Hawaii and taught mechanical engineering until his retirement at University of Hawaii.
I: So, he became the professor there?
D: Oh, yes.
I: Ah. That’s
amazing story, that you connected with Koreans and, and provided opportunity.
D: Well, I, I think that’s one thing missionaries do.
D: They’re enablers. They, even right now, we have a young lady who is a student at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, working on her doctor’s degree in organ performance, playing the organ. She was my
wife’s piano student for si-, about six years, when she was only a middle school student and,
D: but still paying for her father’s worship services. So, my wife gave her piano lessons for about six years, and when we got ready to leave Korea, she came to us, she said, my father cannot send me to college. Do you know any way to help me go to college? It so happened that the man who had been given a scholarship through our
mission in piano had come back and become a professor at (Tan Do Taokyo).
D: And his name is (An Uel). He is also a pastor’s son.
D: So, we went to see (An Uel), because he had received scholarship from our mission and we just, we considered him a friend. So, we said, is there any way that you could help her get a scholarship to Tan Do,
so he did. And he also gave her free piano lessons for four years.
D: Then she went through a Presbyterian Seminary in Seoul. Next thing I knew, she was phoning from Fort Worth, she was in the masters degree, in Oregon, program there. And by that time, my wife had died and she said, I would love to have the opportunity to play an organ in some church on Sunday. Can you help me
find a church? So, I, I’m a member of a singing group of 160 men, Singing Men of Texas,
D: which is mainly composed of people who are ministers of music in churches. So, I sent out a letter to all of them saying, do, which of your churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area still use their organ in worship, because I have a young lady who is a wonderful organist who would like to play. So, I
got a number of letters, in mainly Fort Worth. I, I decided Dallas was too far for her to go from Fort Worth. So, I said, okay, we’ll, we’ll consider, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, mainly. So, we, we spent two Saturdays, she and I, visiting those churches which expressed an interest. Then I asked her, which one you like best? She said, Grand Prairie First Baptist. So, they
took her on as their organist.
D: Everybody loved her, she was so wonderful organist. And I, she played on a program just recently but she’s now in a, in the doctorate program. And I wrote, when I wrote about my wife on Facebook the other night, I talked about how she had taught so many people, missionary kids, and also many Koreans.
D: And I said, even now, one of her former pupils is in the doctorate program.
D: The, named
Chang Su Yung.
D: And, so, after I wrote about her, the, Su Yung, herself, wrote about, let me show you.
D: Do you have time for it? Here’s the piece that I wrote,
D: that’s just the beginning of it. Pretty long, telling about my wife’s contribution through being missio-, music missionary, and I have had 145 people who indicated that they liked that
D: And then I’ve had about
70 people who made comments. And, one here is Jeff (Jaoong Yo Ung) – do you see the name there?
D: Now, he’s
D: he’s the son of a guy who worked for us when he was a boy.
D: And grew up really in our house. And Jeff is a very smart
young man and he went to University of Houston and is now a patent attorney in Houston. So, Jeff wrote on here, it is quite a story how young Don and Nita had a shared vision and devoted their life for His Kingdom and Korea. I am one of the beneficiaries of your hard work.
D: Thanks for sharing. One other was, well the one about,
here we go. Sung Yun Chan.
D: She says, Nita was one of my first piano teachers in Korea. She had strong influence not only on my music, but also on my faith. So, I am here to glorify God through my music and to share the Gospel to people as she did. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story Don.
And let me show you what she looks like. Okay. Alright. Well, here they are on a fishing pier I think, in Galveston, she and her husband. Can’t see them very good clearly, cause it shadow. But he’s now an associate pastor of a big Korean church in Atlanta, Georgia.
D: So, she’s not quite through with her degree but we believe that she will finish it alright. Um. I was going to try to show you a better picture. Okay, here we go. Oh yeah, here’s a s-, picture of their little daughter in a Tae Kwon Do uniform [laughs].
D: Here’s a picture of the whole family
in, in Tae Kwon Do costume.
I: Okay. Now when you were there in Korea from 1947 to ’48, how was the situation there? Did you see any sign about those in south conflict?
D: Okay, we
I: What was the critical situation there? How
D: Well, it was the time when they were trying to have peace talks,
and the time when, well maybe not peace talks, but unification talks.
D: So, there were many Russian diplomats and many Russian generals who came to Korea.
D: And our band would go to the airport, play when they were getting off the plane,
I: Uh huh huh.
D: or go to the train station when they were getting off the train,
D: and play for them, and they put up big signs everywhere about reunification and about
things like that. But it never came to anything. And, if you had asked any one of us, we would have said there will be a war.
I: Oh. Why did you feel that?
D: We just felt, you know, there is such a spirit between North and South and North is not going to compromise. They are backed by Russia, huh?
I: Were you able to feel that when you were there?
I: Oh, yeah, we were able to feel that. Matter of fact,
w-, the U.S. Army haired a bunch of Korean people to do certain jobs and we had a furnace in our, in our barracks and they would hire a guy just to tend that fire at night, huh?
D: And one of the guys who came was actually a young communist.
D: He was very friendly. But I remember talking with him about communism. And one night we sat up and
talked all night long. But, he, he just said if some people have things and other people do not, that’s not fair. We need to take things away from the rich people and give them to the poor people.
D: So, that just seemed like a reasonable thing to him.
D: And I talked to him about God, but he said, well he was not convinced there was a God. But, like I say, he was very friendly and I could talk with him.
I: Mm-hmm. Any other incidents or occasion where that you had some kind of see the signs of this civil war? What was the behavior or policy of the U.S. military occupation and Russian?
D: Well, course, they were, they were not trying to provoke anything. They were trying to just, actually, there were about, I don’t know
exactly how many. We were considered an, an occupation army and we were there from 1945 to ’50, was the occupation army.
I: Yeah, ’49, you all withdraw. Yeah.
D: Yeah. And, but, in other words, the occupation army, is no longer occupation army w-, after June 25, 1950.
D: Because, when North Korea attacked, you were in a state of war.
And so, the U.S. military who were there, tried to do the best they could, you know. But, they almost immediately were shoved clear down almost to Pusan. And fortunately, President Truman made the right decision.
D: And fortunately, the United Nations also sent help. Of course, some of ’em didn’t send much help. But they, I think the Turks sent about 200 men.
I: Oh, more than that. Turkey sent a lot.
D: You think that was all?
I: Oh, yeah.
D: Oh, you think it was more?
I: More, much more.
D: Well, they were, they had a tough reputation, that’s for sure.
I: I know, yeah. So, your mission was basically to play in the band?
D: That’s right.
D: Whatever the band did, I did. We had one American general who died during that period, and so we had a big parade all through the whole city of Seoul, playing f-funeral type music.
D: So, but, I, in the meantime, I was associating with the missionary community.
D: And with some Americans who worked at the U.S. Embassy.
D: I met them when I was singing in the international choir. ‘Cause some of them were also singing in the same choir.
I: Th-, were there international choir?
D: Oh, yes. This was, this was
I: In, in Seoul?
D: Yes, it met at a U.S. service club. And it was directed by a lady who was a missionary.
D: Mrs. Luntz. Not only
that, because we were in that choir, on Christmas, 1947, they had a citywide performance of Messiah, w-which united a number of Korean college choirs
D: and our choir was in there too, so we got to sing in the citywide performance of Messiah
D: at that time.
I: So, you went back to Korea in 1950-
I: Seven. As a missionary?
I: Full missionary?
D: Now, when you say full missionary, I was still a language student. And we had to be on the field one year before we had voting privileges in our mission.
D: But still, I was trying to learn as fast as I could and do whatever I could. But, I had, tho-, if you read those two interviews, I was asked, for
example, what did I go to do in Korea? And, the answer is, I was initially told I would be working with churches. But, I taught for a couple of years at s-, the Korean seminary. I was, served as the treasurer of the Korean mission for about five years. I became the head of the publication work for about 10 years. I was in the mission staff as a planner for about another 10 years and then I was the administrator of the mission for
the final six years.
I: So, how did you lon-, how long did you stay in Korea?
D: 36 years.
I: 36 years?
I: So, you been there since 1957?
D: 1957 to ’93.
I: 2003? No, no, no.
D: Nine, 1993
D: So, actually, seven thirty to six, but my first year of appointment,
I was still in the USA doing language study up in New Haven, Connecticut.
D: So, I was appointed in October ’56, but didn’t arrive in Korea until October ’57.
I: Thirty-, how’s-
D: So, actually, 36 years.
I: 36 years in Korea?
D: So, Korea was very poor when we first got there.
D: Four years after the war.
I: Give me a before and after picture.
I: In your
I: Tell me, bring your-
D: You mean, about what it was like in 1957, for example?
I: No, I mean f-, you have clear picture from 1947 to ‘8.
D: Oh, oh
I: And then you have, you been seeing how Korea’s been changing. So, give me that kind of before and after picture contrast.
D: Well, I think there was, Korea was not a
highly literate nation, because Japanese would not allow Koreans to study the Korean language, or Korean history. They studied Japanese language. And Japanese history. And I think Japanese just considered them an extension of Japan. Second class extension of Japan. And I think the percentage of Christians was much small in that earlier time. I think maybe
five percent of the population. And there are varied estimates now, but I think I’ve seen them, even in a, in an almanac, as much as 40 percent Christian at this point.
I: Yeah, about that. 30-
I: 30 to 40, yeah.
D: Yeah. And, so, w-, we lived initially in (Tajon). We had a seminary there,
but it was in very, the dormitory in the seminary was a old former hotel in downtown (Tajon), which was very poor, and very hold. And, all of our seminary students, there were about 100 students at that time. Of them, nobody had an automobile. In fact, we had no Baptist pastors at all with an automobile. I think some of the big churches, Methodist and Presbyterian,
some the pastors had automobiles. But, we had, of all the seminary students, maybe two or three had bicycles. The rest just walked and rode the bus.
I: Mmm. So, compared to the pictures in 1940s and ’50s and you were there until 1993, what do you see the change there?
D: Well, it, it was one of the, I think maybe one of the poorest nations in the world to start, and now we,
I think number 10 in the whole world in financial power. Isn’t that right?
I: About that, yeah 11, 12, whatever.
D: Somewhere, yeah.
I: Yeah somewhere there. [laughs]
D: Yeah, and also, the city of Seoul, I think, less than a million people, maybe as small as 500,000 when, when I was there
D: in the Army.
D: But, through the years, it just kept building up. The last figure I had was about 12 million in the pro-, Seoul proper, and about 20 million if you consider the satellite cities.
D: So that’s changed.
D: And w-, also, the, at night, there were no bright lights when we first got there. It was kind of a dim and dark place. In fact, even when we came through Japan on the way to Korea
D: in 1957, we thought Japan was very dark. And, then when we went back through Japan at the end of five years to go to America on furlough, we thought, oh, how
much brighter Japan had become. Well, it had. And it was still brighter than Korea at that time. But now Korea is very bright. I guess you’ve seen the photograph, haven’t you, from a satellite?
D: Showing dark
I: North and South.
I: Yeah, yeah.
D: Korea, bright South Korea.
I: That’s right.
D: So, we have a good relationship in our Korean Veterans Association with the Korean association in Dallas, of Korean people.
D: And they have, they sometimes special dinners that they invite us to. And, I re-, the thing I remember was, one man made a speech and he said, you’ve heard Korea referred to as the forgotten war, but we want to tell you that we Koreans will never forget
D: the war and the fact that America came to their aid. And, they said, y-you may have heard that the Korean War was the war that nobody won, it just ended in truce. They said,
there’s a very easy way to find out who won. Take a look at North Korea,
D: then take a look at South Korea, and you can tell who won.
D: So, I thought those were good words.
D: And, one, one time when Jimmy Carter was President, his sister came to Korea.
D: She was making religious visit.
D: But the Korean politicians
All thought that she had a message from Jimmy Carter. So, we were inter-, we, I had, I was invited to be her personal interpreter. Not at the public meetings, but just travel with her through the days.
D: And, whenever she met somebody, w-, I would be her interpreter.
D: So, we were invited by all of the major government officials to meals, and she would say whatever she wanted
D: and give a testimony or whatever, and they would have a meal, then they would say, well, I guess you really don’t have a message from your brother. [laughs] And, she had a special trip up to Pan Mun Jung. And there was one general who wanted to see her. And, but we th-, I was in on the, that when she was
conversing with him, and she thought she didn’t have time to stop on that day, it was such a busy day,
D: and she was going to speak again in the evening. So, said no, and you know, generals don’t like for people to say no.
D: So, we had a, a, a car from the U.S. Embassy, that took us, I went to the DMZ with her. And, on the way back there was a car parked in the middle of the road that stopped us. And then two
Korean military people came, opened the back door, and said, come with us. And we think that the driver from, of our car knew about this in, in advance, ’cause he didn’t make any kind of resistance, you know. And she did, she was very totally afraid, you know, when that happened.
I: Must be.
D: But we got in that car and she said, she had a southern accent, she came from Georgia. She said, are we goin’ north or south? [laughs]
D: They said, we’re going south, but where we went was to, do you remember where the, the big gate was with heavy concrete and everything at the north side of Seoul?
D: That they had closed that gate, at night
I: Yeah, right, yeah.
D: and if a tank tried to come, they
I: Yeah, yeah.
D: would have a hard time getting through.
D: And even the building there was solid concrete.
D: Well, that’s where we, where, where we went and that’s where the general was who wanted to see her.
when they ushered us in, without any kind of explanation where we were, we came into a place with all kind of pastries, and all kinds of fancy food that, that he had brought from one of the downtown hotels.
D: So, just s-, kind of refreshment time.
D: And then, he was joking and she put on his army hat and everything, and he said, then he called over and he said, I want to say
something to her and I want you to interpret for me, very carefully. She said, he said, we Koreans will never forget that America came to our aid in the Korean War. And he said, because of that, when the Vietnam War came, he said, I volunteered to lead a division of troops to Vietnam. And he said, because I feel
we have a (heoumai), a vow of blood
D: between our nations that will keep our nations always working together.
I: So, he went Vietnam?
D: Yes, he did, but he said I want you to tell your brother that I took a division of soldiers to Vietnam because we have that kind of vow and Korea still needs America’s help.
I: Mm-hmm. Wow, this
interview is very interesting and is much longer than anybody else’s. We been talking
D: Well, yeah, we have-
I: about many different issues.
D: We sure have.
I: Yeah, and, now, you were not officially Korean War Veteran, but you were in Korea before the Korean War broke out?
D: That’s right. So, actually, the way the bylaws read in the veterans organization, anybody who served there between 1945 and 1953 was considered
eligible to be a member.
I: [unintelligible], yes, yes, yeah. So, what is the importance of the Korean War to you and why do you think there was war, I mean, everything has to be under the providence of God, including any war they recorded in the Old Testament.
D: That’s true, and yet
I: What is
I: the message
I: from the God and
D: human de-,
I: and how?
D: human decisions figure into that too.
D: And so, some of the things which happen do not
happen because of, because God wanted them to happen.
D: They happened because He allowed them to happen because of man’s free will. Okay, back in 1945, the end of, about the en-, close to the end of the war,
D: they had a conference between Russia,
D: England and America.
D: The Yalta Conference.
D: And, I have been to Yalta.
I: Been to our Yalta. When?
D: Which is in Crimea.
D: I was there
in, in 2012.
I: So, you were not there when there was Yalta?
D: No, no, oh, no.
D: But I got to visit the Royal Palace which is the place where the Yalta conference
D: took place and they have many photographs of it.
D: And, what I feel, well, one of the decisions made at the Yalta Conference was to divide Germany into east and west.
D: To divide Berlin into east and west. To divide Korea
Into north and south. Now, the intention was for Korea to become an independent nation but, I think that was a concession that was made to Russia, that Russia would supervise the northern part and the USA the southern part, while they were trying to let the people in the country find their own government.
D: And, I taught a course in Korean history out in California, after
I came home.
D: And in the book, it said that between the end, actual end of the war and just a few months later, there were, they invited political parties to register and 45 political parties assembled.
I: Very activated.
D: Something like that.
D: And the communists also wanted to register. But the U.S. being in charge said, no, no, no, we not going to accept any
registration from communists. So, what the communists said was, okay, well Russia’s in charge of the north, so we’ll just go up there. So, that’s what they did, and, what, you ended up, and really Korea did not make that decision all by themselves, even when they started the war. They had, touch with Russia to see if, if Russia wants, be on their side if they attacked South Korea. So, Russia gave the word, go ahead,
you know. So, I think the ultimate significance of it was, it was really a confrontation of worldwide communism and worldwide freedom.
D: And that Russia intended not only for the communists to win in Korea, but they wanted that to be the beginning of their world domination.
I: Expansion, yes.
D: Don’t you think that’s right?
I: Oh yeah. That’s absolutely.
I: It was the signal
of the Kor-, cold war.
D: Yeah, so it, it became a very important thing, I’m not sure that Truman realized that at the time that he made that decision.
D: But we did have, we did have a, an agreement between Korea, well, that was later, that was later. After the Korean War,
D: there was a, a joint treaty
I: U.S. Alliance
I: Mut-Mutual Alliance.
D: But, I have just recently read the book written by a
Korean general, four star general?
I: (Axhan Yu)?
D: And he was on the team actually that went to the talks in, the, the Armistice talks and so forth. And he also made a special trip to America and asked to see the president.
D: And they didn’t want him to see him at first, but he told them, he said, listen, we have, we are different from other countries. You’ve just sen-, sent many of your soldiers to Korea, you’ve made a huge investment there
and I have something very important to say. So, he talked to the president, who was Eisenhower by then, and said we need to have a permanent treaty of alliance between Korea and America.
D: Mutual Defense Treaty.
I: Yeah. Yeah.
D: And so, that, I think that was a very important thing.
I: The Korean War Veterans Association of the United States was not formed until 19, in the middle of 1980s.
I: And, many Korean, most of the Korean War veterans didn’t want to talk about the war.
D: That’s right.
I: Wasn’t very pop-, was very unpopular. Why was it? Why was it like that and why didn’t want to talk about it until?
D: Well, actually, actually, war veterans in general say, for example from World War II, they didn’t want to talk about it either.
D: And part of it was, that they considered it kind of a dark time of their life.
D: That it was so different from their life after they came back.
D: And, they, peaceful people and they were not professional soldiers, and they were not used to killing people, but
D: but, if you had to shoot the enemy, that’s a, creates a memory in your mind that you’ve got to deal with the rest of your life, you know.
D: So, most of the, I, have you, you ought to read the book called The Greatest Generation.
I: Yeah. I know that.
D: And, it, Tom Brokaw, I believe, was the writer, wasn’t he? And he said
that, funny thing is that, once they wrote that book, many of the veterans became more willing to talk about it.
D: And, their children wanted them to talk about it too. And, so, it’s, it’s a more open thing now than it was then.
D: But the Korean War was the very next war right after
I: World War II.
D: World War II. And, I think maybe the same psychology
D: applied. Now see, if I go over to, to our Korean veterans
meeting, just a bunch of old guys kinda like me, huh?
I: Do you go to Chapter 270?
I: 215? Ahh.
D: In fact, it meets right in Grand Prairie, where I live. The reason is, that Grand Prairie has a building called the Veterans Event Center.
D: And we meet there free of charge. The city of Grand Prairie is willing to rent that building to other organizations,
D: but the rent the, the get from other organizations pays for all of the expenses of
D: the building,
I: Yeah, yeah.
D: and so, we use it free of charge.
D: But, any veterans organization can do that
D: and they also have a wonderful senior adult health center, exercise center so I, I think, I say that’s two good points for Grand Prairie.
D: They take care of their senior citizens and they take are of their veterans.
D: They appreciate their veterans.
you are in a very exceptional position to be able to say about this two country, U.S. and Korea. Korea was not known to Americans until the war.
D: That’s right.
I: And many people didn’t talk about it, and many Americans still are not really aware of Korea, where it is also. Only China or Japan. It was [inaudible]
D: I think, I think since recent days, we have things that happen in North Korea
that we see the map of Korea now more often.
I: Yeah. And, the female golfers from Korea [laughs]
I: make the Americans
D: Oh yeah.
I: aware of it.
D: Oh yeah.
I: From much bigger kind of greater perspective, what is the relationship do you see between these two countries and what is God’s vision in this alliance and friendship and trading and economy, all this relationship?
D: Okay, now God’s vision,
of course, I think would have a spiritual component. In other words, it would not be, I think world activities generally are driven by money, or by greed. And even greed is the cause of some wars. I think Russia right now trying to increase its strength and maybe its territory as well. So, it’s a definite crisis and I’m very concerned, because I have made two trips to Ukraine and have many friends there in Ukraine now,
as well. But, I tell you what a friend of mine said, fr-, who was co-worker for several years. His name was (Nocha Moo). And he was a great religious education promotor type, but also a pastor. He said to me one time, he said, Christianity came to Korea from America, it came, actually, it came to America
from Europe. So, basi-
I: Can-, Can-, Canada.
D: He said, basically the direction from Jerusalem in the beginning went west, through Europe,
D: and on across, through America, then across the Pacific and it came to, to the Orient
D: by way of the western nations.
D: But he said, I’m wondering, he said, if it is not God’s purpose for Koreans to pick up that
mantle and care it all the way back to Jerusalem,
D: through the nations that are between us and them. That’s what he said.
D: And I have heard about, back through Jerusalem movement.
D: China, also.
D: But I think it started in Korea.
I: Yeah. That’s right.
D: And, oh, as a matter of fact, we have one large church on Yeouido
D: called the, well, Yeouido Baptist Church. And, the pastor who
founded that church was a friend of mine and that church built up to about 20,000 members and before our denomination began sending missionaries, his church sent missionaries. I wish I’d brought that picture, but. There, they went to Kazakhstan, among other places. Kazakhstan has now about 60 Baptist churches in that big nation.
D: And a young lady, I met a young lady
at a missions class one night when the Korean students invited me to come to their missions class and tell them what Korea was like in 1957. And, actually, that church not only sent missionaries, but when they heard about her, very talented daughter of a pastor, they gave her a scholarship to come and study two years at Southwestern University.
D: So, she’s done some amazing work over there, sometimes going teaching in churches, riding
the trains 12 hours to, to go, huh? But so, what she said was I told her, Christianity came to the Kazakhstan from the Yeouido Baptist Church.
D: And I said, her name is Anya, Anya Volk. I said, Anya, I feel like in a sense I may be your spiritual grandfather. She said, well I think that’s so. She said because the Gospel came to
Korea through the brothers from America and now to Kazakhstan through the, she said through the brothers to Kazakhstan and now we have received the Gospel
D: as well. Do you see my picture on there?
I: You look different there.
D: I would say that, I tried my best through the years for, for, to have good relationship between our mission and the Korean Convention.
I Mmm. Go ahead.
D: We tried, we had many meetings together and sometimes those meetings were no- not very peaceful.
D: Do you know what I’m talking about?
I: I don’t know why.
D: Because, okay, I’d say our ultimate aim was the same. We wanted to be evangelistic and wanted people to become Christians. Secondly, we wanted to establish churches and help those churches to become strong. We agreed on that 100 percent. Trouble is, we had the
money, they did not. They felt like
I: They means Koreans?
D: That’s right, they means Koreans. And they kinda felt that if we were really good Christians, we would just give them the money.
I: Mmm. [laughs]
D: [laughs] But, our point of view about how to do the work was not always the same. And so, we would think in a Western way and they would think in a Korean way. What I tried to be was a peacemaker. And I tried to
to understand the Korean viewpoints.
I: Can you say in Korean with a blessing, you can do prayer, too
I: about the relationship between USA and Korea and that’s providence and what left out of Korean War and what is our future relationship.
D: I AM LEAVING THIS BIG SECTION EMPTY WHRE HE’S SPEAKING ONLY KOREAN, AS I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO GET IT RIGHT. PERHAPS THE FOUNDER OF THIS PROJECT CAN PUT THIS IN?
I: SPEAKING ONLY KOREAN
I: The Foundation has launched Korean War Veterans Youth Corps. It’s
like a peace corps.
D: Oh, how w-, about that. Wonderful.
I: Yeah, and we launched it in Washington, D.C. last year and we going to have annual convention every in Washington, D.C., from July 25th to 8th, to continue on the legacy of the Korean War Veterans for this two countries.
D: Good. That’s great.
I: So, thank you very much again
I: for, for your valuable time and many, many memories
D: Ah, yes.
I: and your service with God in Korea. It was for the God and to
glorify the God and
I: so great to have a pastor here.
I: Thanks again.
D: Thank you.
[End of Recorded Material]