The Words of the Faerber Family
The three missionaries dispatched to Zambia in 1975 celebrate Children's Day that year; Left to right: Robert Williamson, Eiju Majima and Rudolf Faerber
In 1975, Father instructed that trinities of one member each from Japan, the United States and Germany be sent to work as missionaries in foreign countries. Ultimately, these men and women worked in some ninety- five nations. Rudolf Faerber was a young member when he left for his assigned country in southern Africa. He is still there today. This is his story.
The assignment of overseas missionaries happened in early 1975. In Germany, the late Rev. Paul Werner delegated the mission countries at a meeting in the Camberg training center. I was assigned to Zambia. I was quite young and inexperienced; I had been in the movement for just over a year.
I arrived, as a representative of True Parents, on April 25, in Lusaka, Zambia's capital. It was evening and the sun had already set, as it does quickly in the subtropics. Since I had nowhere else to go, I booked into a hotel. It was my first night of countless others, and I pledged myself to Heavenly Father. Many thoughts were running through my mind. When will the other missionaries come? Where should I start? Can I openly witness? How can I raise funds for the mission? Where can I stay?
In the morning, while exploring the surroundings, I asked a man of Indian origin for directions to the German embassy. After asking where I had come from, and what I was here for, he invited me to stay with him for a few days. I was surprised at the spontaneous offer. I felt God's guidance and took my luggage to his apartment.
Since I arrived with a three-month tourist visa, I needed to quickly find a way to extend it to a three-year work permit, because we were told our mission would last that long. Thirty-six years have now passed -- a long time, yet it has gone by very fast. God and True Parents helped me through, though I often only realized it in retrospect. I was equipped with the Divine Principle and great enthusiasm, yet I was inexperienced. I did not know anything about Zambia; it was all new to me. Moreover, my resources were limited.
Everything was interesting. The people were friendly and patient; they had difficulties understanding my accent, but admired my pronunciation. The weather was hot and I learned it would not rain for the next six months. Zambia is a huge, beautiful country with largely untouched nature. It had a relatively small population then of less than ten million people. The major religions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Animism. Copper mining provides the main income for the country; most of the people living in villages depend on farming.
I left messages at the Japanese, American and German embassies for the other two missionaries. I knew only their names and nationalities. I explored the downtown area and visited the immigration authorities; I asked how to extend my stay and learned that I would have to form an organization first and then submit an application.
Every week I reported by letter to Rev. Werner. After about a week, I received a message that Robert Williamson, my fellow missionary from America, had arrived. Happily, we met and shared our first meal together of cheese and bread. It was good to have a person to speak openly with.
Robert was born in Zambia. He'd spent his childhood here; his parents had worked in the copper mines. For him, it was like homecoming. He knew the city well. I was impressed by how well prepared he was; he had many speeches and audio tapes of True Parents, which were rare and precious. Good preparation secures a strong foundation.
Initially, I took malaria prevention tablets, but since my stay would be long, I discontinued taking them because of possible side effects. Even now, malaria is the cause of the most serious health and economic problems in Africa, even though it can largely be prevented by managing the environment. Many children die from it, mainly when they don't get proper food and their bodies are weak. Over the years, we suffered from it. Things were hard in the beginning. After only a few months, I thought, How can I survive three years?
To start our mission work, Robert and I began attending church services at the Anglican cathedral, the main house of Christian worship, where we made friends. After the service, tea and cookies were offered to those who wanted fellowship. People generally were open and welcoming, so we developed contacts in the local and expatriate communities. David was one, a student of hotel management whose parents helped us on some occasions and invited us for meals and social gatherings.
Having gotten to know several young people, Robert and I set up an athletic club, the Lusaka Striders, and we recruited students interested in training. Sports are good for young people. They teach discipline, a sense of belonging and confidence, among other virtues. The most important objective for us was to introduce young Zambians in due course to Divine Principle lectures. George, a high school student, was a good athlete. Because we were not yet able to open a center, friends of George's whom he had introduced us to became home members.
One day we learned that Mr. Eiju Majima, the Japanese missionary, from the 1,800-couple blessing, was waiting for us at our new leave houses in Kabulonga, just outside Lusaka. The three of us were together now, representing three cultures, three different worlds, but with the same mission and the same True Parents; so God's plan was complete. We discussed plans for future church registration, farming, and so on. Eiju obtained a journalist's permit to work for our Japanese newspaper. Robert was able to renew his old residence permit, but I would only be able to stay for three months with my tourist visa.
A friendly lawyer helped us register our own company. We named it Twikatane African Art Limited. Twikatane means "unity" in Bemba, one of the local languages. The registrar of companies accepted the name and issued a certificate. I then submitted my work permit application to the immigration headquarters.
According to Zambian law, I had to wait outside the country for the outcome of my submission. Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Zaire were all experiencing civil wars. Malawi, on Zambia's eastern border, was the best option. I stayed at the house of our missionaries there. During my stay, I made effort to be useful, doing some gardening, painting the landlord's house and doing other everyday jobs. It was a time for reflecting on my recent experiences and for making plans for the future.
One day, however, disaster struck. We read in a local newspaper that Unification Church members in Tanzania, a socialist country at that time, had been imprisoned. Sure enough, a few days later, the police arrested and interrogated us and then immediately deported us; Malawi's government then was very conservative and dictatorial. Because I could not yet return to Zambia, I flew from Malawi to Rhodesia, where I had the address of the missionaries in Salisbury (now Harare).
After the incident in Malawi, I did not have much hope of getting a permit for Zambia, but I continued to pray. A few weeks later my prayers were answered; my permit arrived by mail and I could prepare to return. I travelled by train overnight to Bulawayo and crossed the border to Francistown, Botswana, because the Rhodesian -- Zambian frontier was closed. The intensifying liberation war in Rhodesia greatly affected Zambia.
When I arrived back in Lusaka in September 1975, we knew we had to decide how to set up our mission. We still had to establish the church and train new members. We had contacts from witnessing, but neither a permanent residence nor an adequate income. Robert began teaching English to a Japanese businessman, and I started teaching German to a small class. Eiju continued working as a journalist.
Meanwhile, we had developed a good relationship with the deaconesses of the Anglican cathedral. She was from Jamaica and was the driving force of the church. I sometimes accompanied her to church meetings and taught her German, since she had been invited to visit Germany for a church conference. One day when I arrived for a lesson, she looked concerned and showed me a one-page, scathing article about our church in a newspaper from the United Kingdom. News spread quickly and people suddenly stopped associating with us; other churches did not want to see us, and from the pulpit, ministers warned "their sheep" about the presence of "wolves."
Before we arrived in the mission field, God had already been working there, preparing certain situations, certain people. It was up to us to find them and engage them responsibly. That was my conviction. God had surely prepared a foundation through the Christian churches for True Parents' work. But after this setback I had a strong feeling in my prayer that things would now take much longer.
We needed to rebuild our foundation, because many of our acquaintances and friends were distancing themselves from us. What should we do next? Someone suggested, Why don't you try making traditional German sausages? After hesitating, I agreed and tried my luck in the kitchen. To my delight, some friends found what we produced delicious and encouraged us to continue. In fact, as a boy, I had occasionally helped my Father make sausages for a restaurant he'd owned in Germany.
Our startup capital amounted to less than twenty U.S. dollars, plus an old car, but within a couple of weeks, we were delivering homemade smoked sausages to prestigious hotels such as the InterContinental and the Ridgeway. The income helped us rent a small farm on the western outskirts of Lusaka. With the recent controversy, being out of the center of things for a while was good.
We were cooking the sausages in a big galvanized tin tub over a charcoal fire, with just a thermometer by which to observe and control the temperature. If they had known that at the hotels... In the beginning, we had to improvise everything.
Through experimenting and occasional errors, I continued production. Robert managed the sales, and the business expanded, so we had to employ some helpers. We had no electrical machinery, only a few refrigerators. We made everything by hand. In fact, it was more than a year before we could afford to buy our first electric appliance, a small meat-mincing machine. Somehow, making sausages seemed a strange thing for missionaries to do. People knew we were a bit different. We were three or four brothers staying together in a house with no women around. I heard people called us "the monks who make sausages." Only later would I understand God's wisdom behind our sausage efforts.
Uwe Schneider, the German missionary to Kenya, who could not renew his permit there, joined us in Zambia. He was soon inspired to start a piggery, because getting pigs was difficult and the demand for our sausages was increasing. The piggery is still in operation today, more than thirty years later, and still helps supply the pork for our sausages. Alongside his journalism, Eiju ventured into rearing chickens and selling eggs. Many women bought them for their small businesses. Small scale trading is still the main source of income for many families. Women or girls selling a few vegetables, fruit or other goods on the roadside are still a common sights today. If there were more vocational training, "to teach a man how to catch fish," it would permanently change the lives of many families for the better.
Registering a church from which to witness and teach the Divine Principle was difficult, so we registered as the Cultural Foundation, a limited company. We invited neighbors to a weekly afternoon Bible study group, where we explained the Bible based on Divine Principle. We could now meet and teach lawfully. The athletics club continued and we participated in some school competitions.
One way or another, we managed to stay together as missionaries and tried our best to fulfill the conditions of unity that True Parents wanted us to accomplish at that time. In February 1978, Lady Dr. Kim was on an assessment tour through Africa. As a South Korean, she could not enter Zambia, which had close connections with North Korea. We attended a regional missionary meeting, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). We quickly mobilized members to look after everything. I left a stock of sausages so that the members would have an income while we were out of the country.
After hearing our report, Lady Dr. Kim told us that we should focus on witnessing. "Pigs don't have spirits," she said, "and the three years will soon be up. Who will continue the mission?"
Taking this advice seriously, we decided to close the factory and concentrate on witnessing. It was a spiritual struggle for all of us, but soon we had many guests joining our three-day workshops. Our first members became active, made up their minds and moved in. We had center activity and the church was growing.
Sometimes on weekends, the house was congested with around thirty workshop guests. We had visitors sleeping on tables because of the lack of space. Usually they were young people, some still going to school, but they wanted to do something for God and True Parents, and their parents permitted them to stay with us. We gave them time to do their homework and they helped with chores. They witnessed to their friends. We also witnessed on the university campus.
Our living room became too small for the growing Sunday services, so we worshipped outside, in the shade of the beautiful trees in front of the house, where there is now a holy ground. We sold pigs and chickens, which we still raised, to cover our expenses.
Among the parents of missionaries, many had concerns when we left for our mission countries at such young ages. Over time, however, parents often became proud of how their son or daughter had matured, learned new languages, and so forth.
One day we received the news that Robert's father had been hospitalized in Scotland. On Robert's way back from visiting him, he stayed at Lancaster Gate, the United Kingdom's church headquarters, in London, where True Father was then residing. Hearing that a missionary from Africa was in the building, Father asked Robert to give his testimony. Father was interested to hear more about the sausage factory, and I was called to London. We were asked to make a report on what we had done. We waited for three days for an audience with True Father. It was the first time I met Father and I was rather nervous. Robert and I gave our report and Father said he wanted us to continue the project and even to expand into other countries. It was clear to us that we would have to continue beyond the original three years that the mission had been expected to last. Perhaps an official notification was sent out to all missions to carry on, but I don't remember one. In any event, our foundation was not strong enough after the three years; and the main concern was to leave a foundation that local members could continue to develop on their own.
Father mentioned that we would have to learn different skills -- plumbing, bricklaying, welding and so on, to build new facilities. We did a lot of work by ourselves, making building plans, making concrete blocks, doing electrical installations, starting a repair shop for cars, a carpentry shop and so on. This was good training, of course, and saved money.
Father knew that many people in Africa were lacking even adequate food. He wanted to feed the people and provide them training to improve their lives. He looked at a map and gave details and plans to help Africa. He told us to buy a certain number of pigs and make a certain amount of product. This was written down and Father signed it. We have kept that as the founding document of our company.
This meeting left a deep impression on me,. Later, I often reflected on it. Father could sense my thoughts. He saw me clearly. A Blessing Ceremony had been held in London just before that Father asked me why I was not yet blessed. When I said it was because we were out in the wilderness, Father laughed.
Back in Zambia, we reopened the factory, and sausage making recommenced with new zeal. We trained several of the new members. We imported machines from Germany and expanded the variety of our products. Now we were producing different types of sausages -- polonies, salamis, and so on. Father had spoken about fish sausage; I made several tests with fish sausage and smoked fish with good results, but since Zambia is a landlocked country, we could not get the type of fish needed for regular production.
In 1981, I visited Kinshasa, Zaire; Douala and Yaounde in Cameroon; and Lagos, Nigeria to do feasibility studies for new sausage factories in West Africa. I found it quite promising.
Over a short time, nearly twenty brothers from various countries -- Zaire, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Tunisia arrived for training at our sausage factory.
It became an international training camp! All brothers worked responsibly and learned various production and management skills. During their free time, they witnessed. Our products became known nationwide, because they were the best. Our policy was to represent True Parents to the best of our ability in all aspects of life.
In June 1987, we opened a small factory in Kampala, Uganda. From Kampala, I went to Kinshasa with a brother who had also completed his training. We arranged everything in a rented building. Under Mr. Abdel Mesbah, who was in charge of businesses there, members began to build a good company. The products sold easily. I returned from Kinshasa with an attitude of repentance and reflection on True Father's vision for Africa. I felt I could not do enough to meet Father's expectations.
In the following years, a factory in Douala, Cameroon, and Bangui, Central African Republic, opened. One of my responsibilities was to visit and advise the new sausage factories, so I travelled once or twice a year and held seminars for further business education.
The late seventies were quite tumultuous with liberation wars going on in Rhodesia and South Africa, fierce civil wars in Angola and Mozambique, and political instability in Zaire. Zambia did not actively participate in these conflicts but hosted many freedom fighters, which operated from camps here. The country also became the home of many refugees. Prominent freedom fighters stayed in our neighborhood in Lusaka West; at times jet fighters screamed overhead and bombed training camps, and machine-gun fire could be heard. The situation was extremely tense. In this confusion, I was once arrested as a suspected South African spy. I spent a night in a prison cell.
With the end of the civil war in Zimbabwe, in 1979, the situation improved, though armed robberies still made the country dangerous for several more years.
In February 1980, the Holy Spirit Association was approved and registered. The Unification Church of Zambia was finally born. We opened more witnessing centers and held regular workshops, so our church expanded. From about twenty members, we increased rapidly to thirty. The witnessing centers financed themselves through a delivery service of our meat products to homes, offices, banks and so on. It was also a means to train the members to survive financially. Over time, we set up a number of other projects, including a clinic, cattle ranching, gardening, light engineering and baking. is relatively young, and families have many children. It is not easy to make a living and many young people are inactive, which is a great loss.
The missionaries were invited to attend the celebration of Father's sixtieth birthday on February 21, 1980. Immediately after that, I attended my first forty-day workshop, in New York City. It was an unforgettable experience; we visited the Belvedere training center for Sunday Pledge Services, where Father usually addressed the congregation. Through the lectures, testimonies and living with other missionaries, we were able to broaden our horizons and gain greater vision and new inspiration for our mission work.
In December that same year, we received the shocking news that our brother Masaki Sasamoto was dead. At that time, Chieko, his wife, was staying with us in Zambia, waiting to join her husband in Tanzania. We prayed into the night, and then left together for Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital. Japanese embassy officials met us there. Other brothers and relatives arrived. Mr. Sasamoto was laid to rest in Kinondoni Cemetery. True Father declared him a Unification Church martyr. It was a painful loss for all of us.
At the end of that same month, Robert Williamson was matched to Heidrun Manger from Germany, and Ito Hildegard Gross from Austria. A new stage in our lives began. We attended the 6,000-couple Blessing Ceremony in 1982.
In 1984, we launched and financed Barlastone Park School as a project to provide education for underprivileged orphans. It soon became so popular in the area that we offered education to the general public. It became a fee-paying school, while still enrolling disadvantaged children free of charge. For genuine development, training and education are needed. Zambia today
At our Peace Embassy, with the support of brothers and sisters, Gen. Malimba Masheke, chairman of IIFWP and of the Peace Council in Zambia, we have focused on educational seminars for young people, clergymen and ambassadors for peace from all backgrounds. We have held seminars -- at which we have welcomed many government ministers as guests of honor -- on peaceful elections, good governance, overcoming corruption and other useful topics.
We are teaching True Family Values to clergy members and introducing them to Divine Principle lectures. To balance views of different faiths, we have both Christian ministers and the secretary of the Islamic Council on our IIFWP Peace Council. The Women's Federation feeds malnourished children with soya meal and educates mothers at several clinics around Lusaka.
Some years ago, I was elected chairman of Lusaka West Farmers' Association and organized meetings with farmers, government officials and so on. I was more recently invited to sit on the Lusaka City Council's district development committee. These have been avenues to meet new people and to serve Zambia.
As national leader -- a position I slipped into in May 2007 when our leader resigned -- I have to be a pastor, which means taking care of people's spiritual lives. I focus on Sunday service, on faith and on understanding people and their problems more deeply. Couples, especially those with spouses of different nationalities, may have conflicting viewpoints, and families face difficulties, financial demands and other stressors. As a church leader, many of the issues I deal with are internal ones.
Whereas in years past we focused on ambassadors for peace, we now put greater emphasis on witnessing. In this manner, we are looking to the future. After all, the future leadership of our church will come from its core membership. Our witnessing results have recently improved. For example, some brothers from our education department recently spent a month pioneering the city of Ndola, a mining town in the copper belt. Five of those they witnessed to have attended seven-day workshops in Lusaka; from that workshop, one brother from Ndola and two from Lusaka joined. This past weekend, we had nine guests at the weekend workshop.
Scientists call Africa the cradle of human civilization. The deeply religious nature of the people gives them a sense of God's existence and of man's dependence on Him. In Africa, we need to take responsibility for ourselves, experience the true heart of God and walk the way of restoration with attention and care.