Our father, Kang Eun Sup, 강은섭 (姜鈱燮) was born in 1930 in Wonsan, 안변군(安邊郡) area of what is now called North Korea.
His life was changed when his uncle (叔叔, 母方の叔父, 외삼촌), traveled from Seoul to my dad’s village and brought dad’s family to South Korea.
As a teenager, he found a job at a Japanese leather factory, he learned a skill and Japanese language. By the time Japanese left in 1945 he was an owner of a home formerly owned by a Japanese manager.
When he was 20 years old, the Korean War started and he was called into service and was engaged in major battles from Busan up to his old home in the Wonsan area. By the end of the war he and his friend were the only ones not injured or killed in 18 months of battle, in his battalion. He was also captured by the North Korean army 3 times and each time when they heard him talk, they knew he was originally from the North and treated him even harsher.
On his 36th year, he left for Vietnam and worked in Da Nang area. Because the work was in a country at war, the compensation allowed the family to break out of lingering effects of poverty. He had a chance to stop over in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Kyushu during home leave. His interest in overseas living was piqued.
My father, When he met missionaries in Inchon, he invited them home. He was not interested in the message but my mother was. We were baptized as a family in May 1971.
In 1974, in 44th year of his life, after considering Australia, Brazil, and Canada, he moved the family to Washington DC area to start yet another phase of his life.
My father retired and joined us in Utah in 2010.
Words of David Brooks well describes my father
“The humble person understands that experience is a better teacher than pure reason. He understands that wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom emerges out of a collection of intellectual virtues. It is knowing how to behave when perfect knowledge is lacking.”
We are grateful to my father for providing and protecting us during growing up years and continues to nourish us and provide wisdom in his last years.
My hope is that we can remember the goodness of our father and echo the words of Prophet Nephi,
“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.”
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