Jung Myung Seok

Vietnam War

Vietnam Wars Stories

Pastor Jung Myung Seok was enlisted for military operations in the Vietnam war on Feb 22, 1966. In the war, despite many dangerous encounters, he struggled to keep the word of God of not killing while protecting his own life. Throughout the war, he experienced first-hand, the precious value of life and the love of Heaven through countless life and death encounters. He saw with his own eyes the painful suffering of war, and experienced deeply the meaninglessness of life, and realized how precious it is to be alive. Because he valued not only his own, but also his enemies’ lives, God protected him from countless deadly situations during the war. 

  • The P.O.W. who became my spiritual friend

    After saving the life of a Prisoner of War (P.O.W) at the expense of mine, I brought him back to our base camp. However, the Vietcong was eventually killed by my platoon leader. I was completely heartbroken and devastated! How can someone take away the life of someone else’s life so easily, a precious gift given by God?

    As I prayed for the late P.O.W., I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. If I had been there with him, he wouldn’t have been killed. I regretted entering the cave to catch the other Vietcong, because I ended up leaving him alone. I cried and cried overnight. 

    He was a Catholic. I felt a deep affection for him because we owed the lives of each other, and we were both Christians after all. I’d grieved over my beloved brother’s death for weeks. He was always in my prayer and he became my spiritual friend. In 20 years since the military discharge. I tried to find my war buddy. Yoo, Kun Tae. I’d searched for him all over South Korea for four years, but he was nowhere to be found.

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    Pastor Jung Myung Seok and his Vietnam War Comrades

    His irresistible love for alcohol, tobacco and women finally took him to another world. Also, I looked for the then-platoon leader, Son. I found out that he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. One winter day, he and his family – his wife, a son and a daughter – died in sleep from briquette gas poisoning. He was only in his 40’s, the prime of his life. Not loving brothers and ruthless killing of enemies brought calamity upon him and his family. I wrote this testimony of how God worked in this episode because neither the dead nor those unseen can testify His works.

    Remember only love can save our body and soul/spirit.

  • “Love” saves my life and others

    This episode happened sometime when I was in Tuy Hoa area when I was 22. My unit was urgently dispatched to the edge of Mt. Cai during the wee hours. We knew that  the Vietcong would come down to a town via this area for provisions. My unit ambushed in a line. The tropical heat was so oppressive that we felt like we were steamed in a cooker. All day long, we had to lie on our stomachs in ambush, taking aim with a rifle in the scorching heat. At about 4pm, a couple of enemies began to appear. We watched warily as their numbers increased up to 17. They were cautiously approached toward us, carrying their weapons on their sides. Over the next one and a half hours, they finally reached a point only 30m away from us. Our plan was to shoot them simultaneously when they were 25m away.

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    My heart went out to them – they were naively headed for an execution ground. I was greatly troubled as if it was me out there walking toward death. I thought of their family members, sweethearts, and special ones. Just as my mother and other family members would eagerly pray for my life and safety, theirs would do the same. Killing them meant more than just getting rid of enemies, at the same time, it also made the lives of their loved ones hell. It was too cruel and sorrowful.

    Saving Lives

    I pleaded with God and the Lord to save their lives. Then, an inspiration hit me,

    “Do I kill them? It’s you who kill them. Why do you ask me to save them?”

    Upon hearing that, I realized that whether they were saved or killed was up to me. The Vietcong continued approaching us stealthily, but they moved slowly because they were looking out in all directions. It was as if they sensed a gloomy foreboding. We were on the brink of killing them at the platoon leader’s command. It dawned on me that I had to do something quickly to save them. Once I thought of them as my sweetheart, I couldn’t lose any second. I purposely coughed. The Vietcong, at once, lied on the ground. They were whispering to each other to verify what the sound was.

    Looking at their clueless behaviours, I grabbed a handful of tall grass in front of me and shook it. This time, they darted back to the way they’d come. Another miracle for saving lives took place in my heart. Such rescuing deeds saved the lives of my company – for one year, nobody in my company was injured despite the countless engagements.

    Meanwhile, my military duty was done, so I returned to Korea. Three months later, when I rejoined the same company, I could barely find any familiar faces for they had been killed. 

    On the day I arrived, some were killed, thus the atmosphere of the company was like that of a house in mourning. Even the company commander was crying. During the period of three months of my absence, the casualties were nine times higher than during the one year I was there despite our involvement in more numerous, dangerous operations then. Once again, I realized how God protected my war buddies’ lives while I was with them for I valued the lives of the enemies as if they were mine. Without me, the rampart that protected their lives fell.

    Be aware that by the condition you saved others’ lives, God will protect yours accordingly. Love is intense as fire and stronger than hatred. It produces great miracles.

    I could save the lives of the 17 foes in that operation alone because I loved them. Such deeds also freed their loved ones from possible dreadfulness. Since I treasure all lives, a meaningful life of saving mankind was bestowed upon me.

  • You will surely return alive!

    I went to Vietnam for the first time at the age of 21. It was 1966, and I had been dispatched to Vietnam during the Second Indochina War.  When we first landed, the unexpected tropical sunlight and burning heat – it was over 40°C – welcomed us. We soldiers suffered from breathing difficulties and heatstroke. Under these circumstances, we had to lie in ambush and carry out military operations in mountain areas. 

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    During the war, I was fearful of war and death, questioning, “Can I really return to my country alive from this scorching hot weather, fierce battles and hellish surroundings?” I kept praying to God that I really want to survive this war and return to Korea safely. One day, I pledged to God, “If I can return to Korea in one piece, I’ll devote my life to God and the world.” While praying sincerely, I shed hot tears and felt that the sky looked much clearer and brighter than ordinary days. Then, a voice in my mind said to me: “You will surely return alive!”

    As the voice had promised, I was discharged from service without hurting a finger despite scores of precarious incidents during hundreds of ambush, searching operations in mountains, and countless battles. My prayers saved my life during the war.

    After returning home. I kept my pledge to God: I diligently trained my spirit and body like pure gold to be His better tool, continuously prayed and received the Word of life in Mount. Daedum and caves near my hometown. At the age of 34, I began ministry by preaching the new Word and curing the sick with various diseases like deafness, mental illness, cancer, tuberculosis, etc, by praying. And in some cases, even the physically-dead returned to life again. Such encounters are countless, and I couldn’t

    explain everything to every single person during a gathering. If I were to speak about all of it, it would have taken a few days. Furthermore, the spiritually sick were cured and those whose faith was dead were resurrected. All these miracles made through prayer are too many to record. Whoever prays, big and small wonders will take place because God is with his or her’s prayer.