Unification News for December 1998

Witnessing on the Global Level: Central Asia

by Dr. Thomas Walsh—Louisville, KY

Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak’s outreach to influential figures in Asia continued with his visit to three former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Arriving late at night on Oct. 30 in Almaty [formerly Alma-Ata], Kazakhstan, Rev. Kwak was welcomed by Mrs. Sang Sup Lee, wife of the Korean national messiah in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the local members. Following a brief welcome, we set off for Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. After a five-hour drive through the night, including frequent stops to clean a fuel-line clogged with dirt from inferior gasoline, we arrived in Bishkek around 4 am.

As the sun rose on that Oct. 31 morning, we could see the beautiful snow-capped mountains which surround Bishkek. After a brief rest, Rev. Kwak met with Rev. Sang Sup Lee to discuss the day’s schedule. The first meeting was with the chairwoman of the Federation of Women’s Organizations in Kyrgyzstan, Ms. Tashybekova, a very powerful, well-connected woman who has been instrumental in helping with and promoting the work of FFWPUI and the Blessing.

Rev. Kwak’s translator (from Korean to Russian) was a Kyrgyz citizen of Korean descent. There are many Korean people living in Central Asia—many of whom were of Korean families who fled to Russia during the time of Japanese occupation, whereupon, according to Stalinist policies, they were later forcefully relocated throughout the Soviet Union. These people of Korean descent all speak fluent Russian, the basic language spoken in Central Asia at the present time, as well as Korean.

Rev. Kwak spoke directly to Ms. Tashybekova of FFWPUI’s true family ideal, stressing the importance of monogamy, fidelity in marriage, and the need for children to remain sexually pure prior to marriage. He spoke passionately of how children never want to see their parents divorce. Rev. Kwak even mentioned candidly that, on some occasions with his grandchildren, he will call attention to their sexual organ by saying, "This is very precious."

In the afternoon of the same day, Rev. Kwak met with the local Kyrgyz members. About 30 people gathered—a wide range of elder members, relatively new blessed members, and some just beginning their Unification life—in a small room. Rev. Kwak’s message emphasized the quality of Father’s relationship with God, noting that this factor was of greater import than any external result or effort. Rev. Kwak shared aspects of his own testimony, his time as a law school student, his religious life prior to meeting True Parents, and his relationship to his own parents who, living amidst poverty and post-war chaos had sacrificed so much for his education, only to see him apparently abandon them in favor of Father’s teaching. He also shared a story of one very strong Christian woman who always assumed she would be highly placed in heaven. She had a dream, however, in which she was at heaven’s gate, but not permitted entry, while others filed through the gates. When she inquired, she was informed that heaven is for couples and families. Father’s teachings are so precious, because they unlock secrets of the spirit world, one of the most significant being the familial nature of life in God’s Kingdom of Heaven.

Following the meeting with the local members, Rev. Kwak went immediately to meet with a group of high-level contacts over dinner. The schedule remained mercilessly full with every spare moment devoted to meetings which called for Rev. Kwak to be ever center-stage. And, he always came through, despite lack of sleep and continual meeting with people from diverse cultures and languages.

Nov. 1 began with a simple pledge service in Rev. Kwak’s room, followed by time to develop and practice his speech to members of the Kyrgyz Parliament. There was also some time to share the delicious fruit grown in the Kyrgyz Republic—apples, grapes and pomegranates. Later that morning, Rev. Lee took us to his humble apartment for a wonderful Korean breakfast his wife had prepared. We sat around a small table, along with the Lees’ three sons.

Since it proved difficult to schedule meetings on Sunday morning, after breakfast we loaded into a car to drive up to the nearby mountains. After a drive of only about 40 minutes we were in the foothills of some spectacular mountains. We could see why Kyrgyzstan is often described as "the Switzerland of Central Asia." As we got out of the car to hike into the mountains, we found the air so pure and the mountain streams beside our path rushing with clear, snow-fed waters. The sun was shining and the mountain peaks sparkled. A beautiful day and a well-deserved break for Rev. Kwak!

On Nov. 2, Rev. Kwak met with the chairman of the Kyrgyz Parliament, Chairman Erkebaev, and several members of Parliament. Rev. Kwak’s address emphasized the importance of The Washington Times and the need to solve the problems of alienated youth and family breakdown. At the conclusion, Chairman Erkebaev reflected fondly on the time he met Father in Washington, DC, when a group of former Soviet Parliamentarians were brought to the United States and visited The Washington Times.

That afternoon, Rev. Kwak met with a group of 30 PWPA professors at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, headed by Dr. Lelevkin. Dr. Lelevkin had recently returned from a PWPA meeting in Moscow organized by Dr. Gordon Anderson, and he was clearly inspired by his experience. Rev. Kwak spoke about the history of PWPA, as well as about organizations and federations founded by Father. He then invited the assembled professors to report on their activities. Each, in turn, introduced themselves and spoke of their research and how it related to the vision of PWPA.

That evening of our final day in Kyrgyzstan, there was a farewell banquet with several members of Parliament, Ms. Tashybekova, and some of the professors. Rev. Kwak spoke at the banquet, never ceasing to take the opportunity to share Father’s vision of the true family ideal. After Rev. Kwak’s presentation, each guest rose, one by one, to make a special toast in appreciation for Rev. Kwak’s words and the work of FFWPU in Kyrgyzstan.

At the close of dinner we bade farewell and immediately began our long-night journey back to Almaty. We arrived at about 4 am Nov. 3. After a brief rest on the floor of the church center, we rose at 6 am to prepare for a 7 am meeting with the local members from Kazakhstan. Rev. Kwak spoke to the 40 members gathered, emphasizing sexual purity and the need to study about the spirit world, our ultimate destiny. He said there are many arrival points in spirit world and it can be very confusing. What address are we looking for there? How do we travel when we get there? Are we looking for a specific gate to enter? Rev. Kwak spoke to the members for two hours that morning, leaving about ten minutes for a hurried breakfast and an immediate departure for the airport and a flight to Uzbekistan.

On our arrival in Tashkent we were welcomed by the national messiah, Rev. Ki Young Kim. We proceeded to the new Parliament building for a meeting with several ministers in the Uzbekistan government, then straight-away to a meeting with the vice-prime minister, Dicbar Gulamova.

That evening there was a banquet in honor of Rev. Kwak. Over one hundred government ministers, journalists, scholars, artists and civic leaders were in attendance. Rev. Kwak delivered an inspired address on the FFWPU true family vision. The content was quite strong and direct. Rev. Kwak himself described his speech as an "atomic bomb," so direct and bold was its content on the youth problem and sexual morality. However, upon polling the various guests, they were all generally in full agreement with Rev. Kwak’s message.

The next day again included a full slate of meetings with various government ministers. In the late afternoon, there was a special program at the headquarters of the FFWPU with about 400 guests in attendance to hear Rev. Kwak’s speech and to enjoy a lovely cultural program. Then, in the evening, there was a gathering of the full-time members for a farewell dinner with a joyous send-off for Rev. Kwak. Our flight back to Seoul departed at 2 am. After the eight-hour flight from Tashkent to Seoul, Rev. Kwak was met by the airport by a half-dozen department leaders, each with a set of pressing issues for him to address.

Central Asia—Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan—made a beautiful offering for Rev. Kwak’s visit. In each country there is a thriving and growing movement and that part of the world itself shows signs of great vitality and development. Rev. Kwak’s visit was indeed a great blessing to this region, bringing inspiration and stimulation for the work of our movement there.

Reprinted from Today’s World magazine.

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