40 Years in America

Gerhard Peemoeller

Boat builders pose with Rev. Moon during the construction of Sea Hope 1.

When I was asked to do security at East Garden and then became Fatherís bodyguard, it was my mission to escort Father, and go with him many times to the water. It was my mission as security to go with him on the boat.

So ever since 1974 I have been going to sea with Father. 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977. When I left East Garden in 1978 he told me to go tuna fishing but he didnít come. He was not there then; he went to England.

We did tuna fishing without Father, and in 1979 we did it again. It became my tradition. When Father was tuna fishing, Gerhard had to be there. So I spent three months in Gloucester every summer. Then in 1980, I went tuna fishing again at Fatherís request. I was working security in the World Mission Center at that time. In February of that year, Daikan came. He always went fishing with Father. He was Fatherís fishing guide. When he wanted to go fishing, he took Daikan. Daikan is now in spirit world.

We were busy all spring and then in summer we went tuna fishing. Father was talking about the founding of Ocean Church. He called it the Mako mission. The brand name of the boat Father bought was Mako. When I came to America in 1973, Father liked to go fishing. He went with a rod and reel on the Hudson River, in Barrytown. He liked to go casting from the land. Not fly fishing but casting. He liked to fish in Korea at Chung Pyung Lake. Many times he got a small boat and an outboard motor and fished on Chung Pyung Lake. They built a boat once in Korea under Fatherís direction. A Mr. Eu (not President Eu) became the captain. Father was on a condition to only eat what the boat would produce. Sometimes the catch was miserable. There was nothing to eat. Mother was pregnant with Ye Jin Nim then. One day there were just two fish, only two small fish for Father. The cook only had a little rice and kim chi, and the cook said, "Iím sorry Father, but Mother needs the calcium to help the baby." Father growled but he gave half the fish to Mother.

Father only ate what the boat would produce. It was very difficult. Those stories are not discussed much any more, but it was a very difficult time. The boat was a 50 foot, wooden fishing boat. Father came to America December 18, 1971. He left everything behind in Korea. In 1974 Father bought the New Hope, a 48-foot Pace Maker for deep-sea fishing. Then he bought The Flying Phoenix for river fishing, which is a 24-foot Well Craft speedboat. It can go as fast as a car can go. He went on the Hudson River with it.

The problems of the world and America, and the problems of the Messiah were solved at sea. He went out for 18 hours or more at a time, then went home to sleep for a couple of hours and then, heíd say, lets go back out again. Thatís how he got spiritual victory. He would go out and pray. Thatís why the New Hope is such a precious boat. He really saved America on that boat. He solved the problems on the water.

Father goes to sea because it is the purest place in creation. Thereís nothing fallen around him, just the driver, and a crewman or two. Itís a pure atmosphere. Jesus went to the desert to pray where no one else was. When Father is at sea he doesnít talk much. He can come closest to God there. He meditates and does some fishing. He sits on top of the boat and meditates. So Father had the boats. Father wanted to have 3000 members then. Father had a Japanese team centered on Mr. Kamiyama in New York. Mr. Werner and the German team were sent to Los Angeles. It was very difficult. Father wanted 3,000 to join in New York, and 3000 in LA. We did not deliver the number. The goal was never reached.

Twice the 3,000-member goal was not met. Later on Father was asking the church membership to get 30,000 members. If we had gotten 30,000 members, I feel quite sure that the trial and the inquiry into Father would not have happened. We were such a small group.

Then Donald Frasier investigated Father and Col. Bo Hi Pak was called and they wanted to subpoena Father. Hours before that Father left to do the home church providence in England. They delivered the subpoena, but Father wasnít there, so Bo Hi Pak dealt with it.

Father never gave up on the 30,000-member idea. He wondered how we could reach it. He thought maybe we could use some sort of method to attract more people. He wanted to design a beautiful boat that could attract people. He hoped for a floodgate, and he thought it might be Ocean Church.

The idea was that since the land church couldnít bring the 30,000, maybe Ocean Church could. He wanted to build 300 boats to bring people. He built many boats. We had written down the points of Fatherís speeches. We actually accomplished all the points except one point: One boat, five people. If you get more people, you get more boats. So the most important point was to get five people per boat.

If you have 10 Good Go boats, then you get an ocean trawler.

What were we supposed to do with the boats then? Maybe that answer wasnít clear. But the idea was that one boat would bring five people. Father said the boats would witness to the people. But people didnít really want to run after the boat and want to be on it. It wasnít like that. It wasnít easy to bring five people just because we had the boats. We did everything else that he asked us to do out of 36 points. Except bringing the five people per boat.

Later he said that we failed. We said, "We thought we did everything." He said, "You didnít bring the people." We didnít understand that that was the priority. Father wanted to fulfill the goal, and attract the people. We had 200 people in 1981 and 1982. We had some big programs, maybe 100 boats for Ocean Challenge. And 300 people participated. Then I trained about 300 people to become captains, and 1,000 people to become fishermen.

All these people knew nothing about boating, but we never had even one major accident during that time.

That was the idea behind it. So twenty years later, thatís how I see it. We couldnít really attract the people that the land church couldnít bring. Father scolded us and said we betrayed his hope. We sat there so sadly; what did we do wrong? We couldnít do what he hoped. We brought some members but sometimes when things were changed around, the spirit was lost.

Then Daikan was supposed to spearhead Ocean Church. He was so good attending Father while fishing. I was there too, but we had a language barrier. He had to translate everything in his head to talk to me. He could relate to Daikan so easily because the Japanese just flows out of him. It was so easy for him to relate to the Japanese. He was so comfortable and close to Daikan. I was very close to Father like no one else, but there was no way to converse. I lived in his sphere and had been with him day and night, but that close and comfortable feeling like Father had with Daikan was rare. It was like a natural attraction, the Adam and Eve nations. You could feel how close they were, naturally closer. Even if you tried your absolute best, as a member of the archangel nation you couldnít be as close to him. Adam and Eve are naturally closer.

Father said that I should be the head of Ocean Church. I had been security on New Hope, and for Morning Garden and Gloucester. Then someone called me on the walkie-talkie and said, you have been assigned to Norfolk for Ocean Church. I couldnít say anything I had been with Father for so many years. They said, "Did you hear me? You have been assigned to Norfolk, to Ocean Church!"

Then October 1st, he picked seminarians, and then he assigned teams of three people, with captains. Seminarians became the Ocean Church leaders. Some people didnít get boats, some people got no people. Some places got just a seminarian to pioneer. We were faced with so many ideas that Father gave us.

That is how I got chosen for Ocean Church. When I was Fatherís bodyguard during 1975, 1976, 1977 -- that was the peak of persecution. It was unreal. Whenever they found out who we were, they said, "Moonie!" Such an evil force behind their voices, "MOONIE." All your hair stood up. There was so much negativity then.

During Yankee Stadium persecution was at its height. There were 1,000 threats on Fatherís life. Now if people call up and say, "Iím going to blow up this school," the police go crazy. But there were 1,000 threats on Fatherís life at Yankee Stadium. Can you believe it?

More than anyone could imagine. We kept a record in the World Mission Center. I read the book they kept, and I read the first 100 threats. Afterward there was so many more. There were phone calls, letters, someone would try to come in the building screaming, "Iím gonna kill Rev. Moon." Some were written like ransom notes, with words cut out from the newspaper glued on paper. Anonymous letters. It makes you think. There were so many people who were negative. Some supported Father, but at Yankee Stadium it seemed like no one was supporting him.

In the spring of 1980, we bought Cardinal Cushingís villa in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It became Morning Garden. It has over twenty rooms. Itís a big mansion, the pride of Gloucester. Aiden Barry had a friend who bought it, and then he sold it to us. That made Gloucester mad. All the young people went to this bar and restaurant by the water; maybe 1,000 people came every night in the summer. It was called Bobís Clam Shack. It was a magnet where all the young people went, and Father bought it, and bought a marina that had about 30 boats in it. Then those people got nasty.

Every single day there were people demonstrating in front of the restaurant. In the beginning without fail, there were hundreds every day. Six months later it was about 20 people, but they kept it up. They were so negative. It looked like Father was buying up Gloucester.

They had signs, "Honk if You Blah Blah Blah...." Some people doing security at night got shot at -- stones were thrown at us. Gloucester became the center of anti-moonie madness in America, the soul of the anti-moonie sentiment. Then we started tuna fishing. They knew our cars, they knew our boats. They knew everything. There were some bars on the main street, and they had lookouts. If they saw a moonie car, they would yell, "Moonie car!!!" They had rocks prepared and they would come running out and throw rocks and would yell and scream at us. They threw stuff at the boats, yelling and screaming. It seemed to be the entire town of Gloucester. The overall feeling was outrage. What we had to go through!

The people who went to sea in Gloucester were the most vulgar you can imagine. The big thing to do was to "moon" us. They would drive and pull their pants down and show us their butts.

They would yell, "Moonie sucks!" They would yell that all season long: "Moonie sucks!" They would yell that again and again. Father was sick of it. We were all sick of it. Father said to us, "Youíre dead moons. They just call you all kinds of names and you donít respond. You donít yell back!" There was one brother who was kind of a bad dude before the church. He was from the Bronx. He knew how to answer. He said, "When they say, Moonie sucks, you say, ĎYour mother sucks!í or ĎYour sister sucks!í "

So those people kept saying, "Moonie sucks!" We had been taking it for months, all this building up inside. So we yelled back, "Your mother sucks!!!" And they would yell back, "my mother????" and it would escalate.

Weíd keep screaming, "Your mother sucks! Your sister sucks! Your wife sucks!" They got so mad. Every day, the entire fleet was so negative. We were so outnumbered. We caught tuna and the rest of them caught nothing. We hooked up and caught tuna every day. Godís blessing came to us no matter what they did to us. We caught tuna and they didnít. That made them madder.

Once Father was anchored and a negative guy came along and said, "Move! Move!" and Father said right back, with the same intensity, "Donít move!!" to the brother driving. Our brother was quiet, but Father said, "Donít move!"

Then of course we had fights on the ocean. One time I caught the biggest fish I ever caught. Then the nasty guys picked a fight with me. At that moment I hooked a fish. Then we took off and they picked a fight with someone else. Then they picked a fight with little Joseph. They were throwing chum at each other. He decided to crash into their boat. He turned around and crashed into them.

In 1981, it intensified. They were ready to kill us. There were anchor lines cut, and an anchor was lost. The fleet was so negative. I was the head of our fleet that summer. Father wasnít there. It was like the old west, with Custer surrounded by Indians. The New Hope cranked up. Daikan was on it and said, "Gerhard, youíre in charge." I sat and watched to see what was developing.

One of the seminarians called on the radio, "Maybe we should call the Coast Guard." And that stopped them. The Coast Guard is the police of the ocean. If people tried to lynch the moonies, and someone called the Coast Guard, they would interfere with it, and might press charges. They backed down, but made an appointment to meet us at a restaurant at night. The Seagull Restaurant. All the fishermen gathered there, to talk it out. The problem of the moons. A couple hundred Gloucester people. And us. The media came, and the next day it was in the paper. All the yelling and screaming. We did talk with some of them, but some crazy ones really screamed. They said, "You do this and this and this...." We just took it and swallowed it.

Once that meeting was finished, we went home. We stopped the car and someone said, "Look at all the fluid under the car." It turned out they had cut the brake lines. They tried to kill us that way. That is how Gloucester treated us.

Things died down little by little. I hated it there and never wanted to go back. In 1982 I went back and I was so sick of it. During that season we could only catch one fish a week. Daikan went to Father and said, "Gerhard doesnít want to come this summer." And Father said, "Itís not necessary this summer because weíre only catching one fish a week."

But I had to go back in 1983. Our program got bigger and bigger and bigger. All the fishermen knew us from Maine to Long Island. Everyone knew us along the whole coast. In 1984 and 1985 we still fished during the tuna season. We had a great season in 1985. Father went to prison in 1984. Towards the end of the season in 1985 he was able to come and fish with us and he caught one tuna. I was on the New Hope then, the head of the fleet. I taught them fishing in Fatherís tradition. Mr. Sugiyama came and asked me to teach all of Fatherís tradition, like a 200-year-old tradition. So I prayed all night long about what to teach them. I made lectures, many kinds of lectures. I taught the content of Fatherís content. When Father came from Danbury to go fishing, he said to Mr. Sugiyama that it looked like Ocean Church was inheriting Fatherís tradition. So that was the best season. We caught more tuna than any other season, even when Father was spearheading everything himself.

Afterwards the program became bigger with more people and more boats, but the year of 1985 we caught the most fish. There were about 20 seminarians who came regularly to help us. We had some people who joined the church during that time. Mary Lou and Frank Zochol worked with me, and Mary Lou witnessed and brought some people. I liked her. It was so sad she passed away.

There were seminarians helping. Tom Carter had an idea to do something like Outward Bound, only on the ocean. So we made Ocean Challenge. Through endurance they could have a great experience. Not just enduring the elements but also catching a tuna fish. By going out and fishing all day they could have a great experience winning over the odds. At first we had just our church members come to participate, very few outside people. Sometimes another group came, but the money involved was too much. Most people were not so eager to do it. It wasnít such an attraction to outside people. Outward Bound has less of an experience than Ocean Challenge in my opinion. Fight the waves and the elements, from morning to night, and into the night. A typical day of Ocean Challenge, we left the dock at 4 am which was Fatherís tradition. The first day everyone is really hot. Everyone wants to go out at 4 oíclock.

But after two or three days with no end in sight, people are not so hot to go out again. The first day everyone is hot and all the boats leave on time. Ocean Challenge became our members -- Karen, Frank, and Sugiyama. And members usually thought they needed morning service, and then breakfast, and then leave at 4 oíclock. It was maybe a 1 or 1 1/2 hour-ride to the spot. Then you find the anchor spot, bait the hook, set the lines and start the work of fishing with a prayer. Then chumming, cut the fish and throw the fish in and fight the sharks. Then you cut up the fish and they make the line dull. Then if you get lucky someone gets a strike. On a normal day nothing happens. Sometimes at 6 p.m. we head back. We go out and come back in a V formation. It looks really incredible, 100 boats in formation. I have that on video; it looks great.

Sometimes if youíre not used to the elements, motion sickness comes, and then you see your breakfast and youíre fighting with yourself. After someone throws up they want to go to sleep. You can see the outline of the boats and people completely flattened out. Father doesnít like that; he doesnít like people giving in to seasickness. He wants people to fight against it. Itís hard to be seasick and have no rest. Then the sun is so bright, and the reflection is so intense. Even with sunscreen the sunburn is really bad. Sometimes you get scrapes or cuts and get fish juice in it and bacteria gets in it and you get fish poison where your hand swells up and you canít move it. Itís numb. The fish poison, intense sun with no shade in sight -- the boat itself, thereís so much spray, so unless you have rubber clothes and rubber boots you get soaking wet. If youíre not prepared, you get completely wet, and fighting the dogfish, and then rain, and you get completely soaked. Your skin becomes like prunes.

Wrinkles. You have to deal with all that. Then the tide is changing so you constantly have to adjust the lines and check if the bait is there, and fight the seagulls and chase the sharks away. You get rid of sharks by cutting one up and throwing it among them and hope it scares them away. But sometimes theyíre so thick they just eat their own guts. They eat anything, their own meat, anything.

You just keep working. If thereís nothing on the hook, you wonít catch a tuna fish. If another boat comes close to you, you have to deal with that.

You have to deal with the insanities and difficulties of the other fishermen. You can hear so easily. They can hear you sneeze. Sometimes there are two or three people on a boat. One year Father asked me to go out alone. I had to do everything myself. He didnít give me a mate. Then he gave me a broken-down boat. It took me four weeks to fix it. But he said, Gerhard will catch the most fish.

And of course, on the boat, the bathroom is a bucket. And that is another experience. For brothers itís not as difficult, when itís just brothers. It is not as easy with sisters on the boat too. In the beginning it was only brothers on the boats. Then when the first sister came, I didnít want it at first because it wasnít easy. I didnít want to relieve myself in front of a sister. So I talked to Joseph about it. He said he would ask the sister to go to the bow of the boat and look out that way. And he would go to the back of the boat and use a bucket, and when he was finished he would say, "now you can turn around." That became the standard. And the same way with the sisters.

You had number 1, number 2 or diarrhea. One time there was this wonderful sister named Brenda Svenson. She is married to a Japanese brother. One time I had terrible diarrhea. I had to say, "Brenda, look over there." And it was awful. I had to dump everything overboard. In the beginning it was hard to use the bucket. I resisted using it. Even with brothers. But with diarrhea I couldnít stop it. I asked one brother to please drive in circles outside Gloucester harbor. I couldnít wait any more. We had at that time a visiting baby whale that followed the boat. He followed the boat, and swam around the boat constantly. Then I had to dump the bucket into the water, and the whale saw it and aimed for it and began to jump through it -- his head was halfway through -- then the whale smelled it and he stopped and backed up the way he came. He didnít continue, he went backwards!

One day Father was faced with the same thing on the Flying Phoenix. No toilet on the boat. He needed to urinate. He had to stand and make sure the wind wasnít blowing back. He tried it one time and knew it wasnít quite right. So he got a bucket after that. Its awful going number 2 on the water. Many people have a hard time doing that. We told Father that people have a hard time going to the toilet in a bucket on the boat. He said that there are so many people in the spirit world who would love to come back to earth, -- they would give a fortune -- even if the only thing that they were allowed to do was go to the toilet in a bucket on Fatherís boat. So itís like a holy act to go to the toilet on Fatherís boat. Father encouraged members not to complain. I took some sisters on the Flying Phoenix and it had a little cabin. You were in there, but your head stuck out of the top. But the Good Go boats donít have a cabin. Youíre just out in the open.

After working all day, your fingers are prunes, youíre soaking wet or sunburned, you canít live and canít die...for some people they thought it was a miracle to have solid ground under their feet again. Then you need to get chum, bait, ice, fuel and food for the next day. You need to fix your fishing equipment, and wash the boat down. Then you can have dinner, and then it is about 8:00 or 8:30 pm. Sometimes we would have an inspirational talk or I would speak, or there would be testimonies.

There was room for 200 people in the room but there would be 300 people there. All the windows were open and sometimes people outside would be listening. One time I got angry at people. People took it so easily. It was the best year fishing, and no one knew how hard the foundation had come, what people had gone through until then. I was so angry and I scolded them. They were so scared, the wrath of Gerhard came upon them.

The place we used for meetings, holy meetings, pledge and everything was Bobís Clam Shack where the disco had been. The sleeping space was difficult. Some slept on the boat. Sometimes we had Japanese guests and they got the best sleeping rooms and nicest sleeping bags. They were given the best accommodations. People slept everywhere, Chung Pyung style. I slept on the boat all the time. Ocean Challenge lasted 70 days. People got so tired after a while. It was hard to challenge them and inspire them to do better. It was one group at a time and it lasted 70 days. Some people tried to escape the pressure and avoided going out. Once one sister got tired of going out; it was boring, enduring the work and the difficulty.

So one day, she didnít go out. And that day her captain caught a tuna. So she missed the one day of getting the tuna. Some people liked to escape the pressure and that bothered me. I had to push myself all the time too. I never get up easily. I think the times I woke up my wife for pledge service I can count on one hand. I am not the one that can wake up easily. My wife always wakes me up. Even threatening! Ha ha. But during that tuna season, to get up every morning to leave the dock at 4 am was really hard.

In the evening people liked to enjoy each other. They would get excited late at night, but no one was excited in the morning. There was activity there until midnight sometimes. On my boat I didnít let anyone sleep and I didnít sleep myself, but sometimes people slept on the boats. They werenít supposed to, though. Sometimes I got cramps in my legs. That can be a sign of overwork. I had that every morning, fighting with the cramps.

When there was really bad weather, it was so welcome because it meant we werenít going out. Everyone went back to sleep until 10:00 oíclock. People had breakfast, wrote letters, went to town, just enjoyed themselves. It was a wonderful relief not to go out. We were so grateful for a rough day. Sometimes we went to other ports too, not only Gloucester. We would go to a restaurant and mingle with the townspeople. Ocean Church was an experience that everyone will remember who did it.

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