The Words of the Hyun Jin Moon
In February of this year, Hyun Jin Nim and several leaders visited Leda, a land situated next to the Paraguay River in the Chaco region of Paraguay where, eight years ago, Japanese brothers, directed by True Parents and headed by Reverend Kamiyama, pioneered. They built a tremendous foundation with their own hands, in temperatures ranging from 40 degrees in the winter to 120 degrees in the summer.
While riding some of the horses near the corrals, Hyun Jin Nim saw some of our cattle being herded to another part of the pastureland. He and several others joined in to help. During this short ride, he began formulating the idea of a major cattle drive from one part of the Chaco to Leda. But this was not just to enjoy ourselves or to actualize a childhood dream of being cowboys. He meant to bring young leaders from Paraguay who had never seen this part of the country, to participate, educating them for the future peace and unity of their nation and the region of South America as a whole.
Some of those young leaders he had met a few days before were so excited when they heard about the cattle drive that they instantly put aside their schedules and wanted to come. One of those leaders is a soccer legend in Paraguay who was very eager to participate. Another young leader, whose wife was expecting their first child any day, realized this event was so important that he came as well.
On June 18th, we all arrived at Fort Olimpo, the same town where True Parents stayed over ten years ago to spend forty days with the National Messiahs. The town was so excited about the cattle drive that they closed the schools; many of the town’s people came out for the opening ceremony that would launch the drive. After several local officials spoke and the priest gave the cattle drive his blessing, Hyun Jin Nim spoke, explaining his inspiration for the cattle drive and the hope for the future it would bring.
With the conclusion of the ceremony, the participants mounted their horses, and with Hyun Jin Nim and the soccer player carrying the national flag, rode through the streets of the town and onto the dirt road that would take them to the herd after two days of riding.
For many of the riders, this was their first time being on a horse at all. So, throughout the day, with the sun beaming on them and the trees, brush and water holes going past them, their muscles began to protest. Some riders realized they would be walking kind of funny at the end of the day.
Finally, near 3:00 or 4:00 pm, the riders arrived at their first camp of the trip. Mr. Sano from Leda, who did much of the preparation work for the drive, met everyone at the camp, which was now full of tents and the aroma of dinner cooking. With the sun setting on one end of the camp and the full moon rising on the other end, all the riders received their dinner and sat into the night around the camp fire, talking about the day’s ride and listening to Hyun Jin Nim’s advice about riding.
The next morning, we started at 7:00 am, with the sun already up, and began our ride of almost 40 kilometers. By car, it doesn’t take long to drive, but on horseback, under the hot sun, it took us until mid-afternoon. Hyun Jin Nim served dinner, and he and the participants continued to share their thoughts and vision.
The next morning, right after breakfast, some gauchos and another herd of cattle arrived at our camp. Together, with overcast clouds and a cold wind now covering us in the new morning, we started the cattle drive in earnest. The drive now was at a slow pace, for the cattle and horses would graze along the road and went at their own speed.
After many kilometers and at least two rest stops, we arrived at our next campsite. With the gauchos putting the herd in an area of pastureland for grazing, we again stretched our legs and prepared our tents for the night. Hyun Jin Nim, always trying to improve himself, practiced throwing the lasso.
During the next few days we continued the drive toward Leda, still under the cover of clouds and a cold wind. Around lunchtime, we came upon a very small group of houses. The women and children gave us a letter asking for help in improving their school. Hyun Jin Nim gave his lunch to the children, and the other riders did so as well. Hyun Jin Nim, who wanted to taste a real Paraguayan meal, asked, almost jokingly, if the women could cook a lunch for us. To his amazement, the women spent the next two hours preparing a lunch of fresh chicken for almost twenty of us. We all enjoyed the best meal we had had in several days.
On the morning of the last day of the drive, the participant whose wife was expecting, called him on his phone and told him that she would be having a C-section (the umbilical cord was loosely wrapped around the baby’s neck) that night to deliver their first child. Still convinced that this cattle drive as a great moment in the history of Paraguay, he wanted to finish the drive before going back to see his child.
We arrived around midday of the last day at the entrance to the property at Leda, where some Japanese members met us. With five kilometers to go, the cattle drive began its last leg to the finish line. Driving through a nest of mosquitoes and some rain, Hyun Jin Nim led the herd across the finish line.
At noon the next day, a celebration was held, with several dignitaries in attendance. After an opening prayer, the celebration cake was cut, and testimonies were given by several participants.
One testimony was by the person whose wife was giving birth. He was on the verge of tears. During the night, the doctors realized that a miracle was taking place. The umbilical cord loosened from the neck of the baby and his wife was able to give birth naturally the next morning. At 8;30 am, he became a proud father of a baby boy. His wife and son were doing well. He was smiling and tearful at the same time. Hyun Jin Nim told him now he will see the world and his life much differently.
Hyun Jin Nim spoke, again explaining his reasons for the cattle drive, and gave each participant a special gift and a memorial portrait.
Afterward, everyone went to the corral area, where ten cows were brought. Hyun Jin Nim donated these cows to the mayor of the nearest Indian village. The mayor was extremely grateful.
With a final group photo, the First International Cattle Drive for Peace and Unity was completed. God’s blessings for Paraguay and the region could truly begin with the victories of the cattle drive and the following week’s Global Peace Festival. For the participants, their lives were changed by Hyun Jin Nim’s vision for their country. For those of us older folks, we were rejuvenated to dream big again as we had when we first joined the movement many years ago. We may have taken longer to get on our horses than the younger folks and literally ached every inch of the way, but our hearts and minds are younger now and energized for the work ahead. We can’t wait for next year’s cattle drive.