The Words The Kwak Family

World Missions from the stage of proclaiming God's word to national level restoration

Chung Hwan Kwak
May 1983


The month of May marks the eighth anniversary of world missions in the Unification Church. Of course, Father had previously sent out missionaries to Japan, the United States and Europe; that was the first step toward world mission. But in 1975, the real, substantial world mission began.

Heavenly Father's main process of restoration is carried out by our True Parents, who are the model or ideal of God's heart and substance. Since the process of creation involved various stages and since the dispensation of restoration has progressed through stages, Father has developed the worldwide missionary movement through stages as well.

The ultimate goal of our world missions is the restoration of all mankind under the one all-encompassing will of God. But this is not accomplished in one giant leap. Father began his 21-year course by establishing the individual-level and then the family-level victory foundation. Throughout this course, he has fought with Satan by tears, sweat and blood; some of the struggles were very bloody. Through the same kind of process, he established the national-level victory foundation.

After successfully completing his first and second 7-year courses, Father started the substantial world mission activity in 1975. Feeling a great sense of urgency, centering on the American movement, he planned many important rallies and activities. Also at that time he had to send out missionaries to the whole world. For this task, he selected experienced members of the German, Japanese and American families, sacrificing the movement in those countries. This indemnity condition became part of the foundation for world-wide victory. Through these missionaries, he had to proclaim to all mankind Heavenly Father's dispensation of the last days.

In the late 1950's Father had sent missionaries to Japan and the United States, and in the mid-1960's missionaries went to Europe. Thus, by 1975, in more than 30 countries at least a pioneer-level foundation had been established. These efforts laid the base to begin world missions.

The first seven years after 1975 became the formation stage of world missions. The missionaries' efforts during this era have much significance; their hard work, the persecution they endured, and the sacrifices they made allowed them to join with True Parents in laying the indemnity conditions for the worldwide victory foundation.

From 1981 to 1988, we are in the growth stage of world missions. It seems to me that after victory in the growth stage of world missions, the rally in Moscow will take place. Then we can start the completion stage of world missions.

Highlights of the history of world missions

Many times before 1975, Father talked to church leaders about the significance of world missions. Then in early February 1975, he directed Japanese, American and German leaders to send missionaries throughout the world before May 1. As you know, May 1 marks the anniversary of the founding of our church in Korea, so Father wanted to link the victory foundation in his country with the whole world by that date.

The German family sent out 82 missionaries on April 30. The American family sent prepared 85 missionaries; 12 arrived in their designated nations by May 1 and most of the remaining missionaries by May 19. Ninety-six Japanese missionaries were assigned, but their departure was delayed a little because of the time required to prepare their mission funds.

All the Japanese missionaries were brothers from the 1800-couple Blessing. Most of the American missionaries were also from that Blessing, but some were sisters and some brothers. The majority of the German missionaries were sisters; most were not yet blessed and they were often quite young spiritually and physically.

In most cases, three missionaries were sent to each country. However, nine countries were assigned only two missionaries and another nine only one. The total number of mission countries in 1975 was 96.

At that time, there were Unification Church members in about 40 countries. Of these, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Iran, South Africa, Israel, Argentina, Mexico, Kenya, and Trinidad also received new missionaries. Thus, by 1975, our church's world-wide effort involved 127 countries.

In Japan Father personally selected the missionaries and assigned them to their mission countries. Father chose some American missionaries, but most volunteered and indicated their preferences of countries; Father reviewed the list and made the final decisions. In order to reach the goal of 82 missionaries, the German family sent out almost all of the German-born members who were in Germany at the time. Father spoke many times to the missionaries as they were attending training sessions in Japan and the United States, giving them direct guidance.

At the beginning, there was no world mission headquarters and not much official support for the missionaries. The missionaries faced many challenges from society and government.

Arriving and getting established

The first obstacle many missionaries faced was obtaining a visa. Some missionaries could not enter their countries; problems often persisted even after a couple of years. Many missionaries were kicked out but continued trying to re-enter their assigned country. Even now, one country's missionary still has to leave each month and obtain a new tourist visa in order to return, because the country gives no permit to Christian missionaries. The only kind of visa available to him is a one-month tourist visa.

There were many interesting stories about how the three missionaries met each other. In most cases, there was no foundation or no contact person in the country. Often they were not free to give the name of our church or identify themselves as missionaries. Since countries set varying conditions for issuing visas, depending on the nationality of the applicant, the three missionaries could not all arrive at the same time or make an appointment to meet on a certain date.

Moreover, before the missionaries left their home countries, there was almost no horizontal communication among the different nationalities. Even if it had been encouraged, language differences would have been a barrier. Missionaries had only each other's names, no photographs or other information.

Sometimes it took a few weeks for missionaries to locate each other. They ran into each other on the street, at the post office, in a restaurant -- or, in some cases, at the police department. Others met as they were being expelled.

Anyhow, once the missionaries arrived and found each other, getting established was not always easy. Since the early days of our church, the international communist movement, centering on North Korea, has been trying in so many ways to destroy our movement. In the early 1970's, North Korea extended its connections to the third world, establishing diplomatic and trade relations. They used this kind of foundation against our missionaries, especially in East Africa.

Adjusting to new cultures and environments

The second challenge the missionaries faced was the new environment, culture and tradition of their mission countries. How were they going to digest these different elements? Japan, the United States, and Germany are first-class countries; and in their daily mission life, citizens of these countries had to digest the completely different environments and realities of these third-world countries.

The less-developed countries and more closed Islamic societies were especially different from the missionaries' home countries. Also, in some countries, it takes more than one month for a letter from headquarters to reach our missionary. This is still the case in some places. Many countries did not have adequate medical facilities. Some missionaries fell ill in the difficult surroundings; many African missionaries have endured more than ten malaria attacks. Some missionaries have suffered physical injuries.

Language barriers

The third challenge to the missionaries was the new language. Most American and German missionaries were able to resolve this problem within a year of their arrival. But it remained a serious obstacle for many of the Japanese.

Government opposition

In many countries our church is not legalized, so our members have no legal protection as missionaries. Especially in countries where Christian churches are not permitted, their position may be precarious. Even where Christian churches are permitted, our missionaries have not always been accorded the same rights as representatives of other churches.

Many missionaries went to jail. In some communist countries, they have attempted to brainwash our missionaries with drugs. Women missionaries have been raped. Many painful situations have occurred.

Some missionaries received threatening letters and telephone calls. Terrorists have attacked our centers, occasionally with machine guns. Sometimes our churches have been closed for no stated reason.

In Tanzania, Mr. Sasamoto was murdered. In Eastern Europe, many kinds of sacrifices have taken place which even now we cannot announce.

All these are examples of the serious history of restoration by sweat, tears and blood. Even now, our members in communist countries live under constant tension; their life is filled with tears.

One missionary in an iron-curtain country mentioned to me that his greatest desire is to witness loudly about Heavenly Father and True Parents. He is longing for this kind of opportunity.

Internal challenges

The fifth type of challenge to missionaries is internal. They have almost no opportunity to meet Father directly; they cannot listen to his words. Standing on the front line in far-flung areas, they have to remain faithful and loving, generating from within themselves the power to witness.

Furthermore, since Father's ideal is for all mankind to live in harmony as brothers and sisters, he sent out three missionaries -- one Japanese, one American, one German -- as representatives of enemy nations. It is not easy for them to spend 24 hours a day working, eating, sleeping in the same place.

Father's original idea was for the Japanese brother to become the central figure, since he was often older than the two other missionaries. But the reality did not turn out this way. The character of the Japanese missionaries was generally not as open as that of the Western missionaries. Also, they were not as positive and aggressive in their expression. Furthermore, they had a language problem, so they could not express themselves so freely and guide the others.

Internally they felt, "I am the elder brother," or "I know the correct, traditional way better than they do." The American missionaries generally felt, "We are the number one country in the world, the number one people in the world." They felt a certain pride and arrogance, especially towards the Japanese. The German missionaries were spiritually and physically young, so they were usually willing to follow the others; but being young, they also had many practical problems.

The combination of an American sister and a Japanese brother seemed to be especially difficult. I cannot say if this is just a difference between East and West. Such an inter- missionary relationship is not simple because many historical factors come to play, in addition to the East-West and male-female differences. This kind of situation was in itself a very heavy burden on the missionaries.

Father already knew the potential for this kind of problem. But he expected the missionaries to solve it and make substantial unity among themselves.

Headquarters did not appoint a central figure for each country until 1978, because Father expected that through their experience in living together a central figure would naturally emerge.

I am sympathetic towards them. Differences in traditions, personalities, and culture converged in one situation and confronted them 24 hours a day. So often misunderstandings arose. Many facets of their characters did not match well with each other, and because of language problems the gaps became bigger.

When I visited Japan recently to speak at the 120-day workshop for Japanese missionaries, I listened to the testimony of one Japanese brother. For the first three or four years he struggled to build harmony with the other missionaries. Then his wife arrived. Because of the foreign environment as well as the expectations the other missionaries and members had for them as a couple, they struggled for two or three more years in their husband-wife relationship. Then when children began to be born, part of his mind was occupied with concern for his children. As he reflected on his eight years of missionary experience, he said he was so ashamed in front of God and 'lime Parents.

I am not telling this story to accuse this missionary. I really appreciate him because he could share his mind and heart with us. His situation is fairly typical.

In whatever environment we find ourselves, we have to realize and establish God's highest ideal. This the duty and inevitable course of all Unification Church members, not just the overseas missionaries. This missionary went through many wonderful experiences, created harmony, and established a certain foundation in his country. This is an amazing victory foundation.

No one can easily judge a missionary unless he has gone through this kind of experience. The only thing I want to emphasize here, in front of Heavenly Father and True Parents, is that even though we have a public mission, the reality is that we spend most of our time, energy, and ability in overcoming ourselves -- not in fulfilling our public mission. This is a general point of shame.

Amazing heartle development

The external result of our missionaries' efforts has not been as much as it should be, but in their heartle world, there has been so much development. The missionaries gained amazing experiences, the kind of experience which no power, money, knowledge or anything else could buy. Most of our missionaries have achieved harmony with each other and have laid a good heartle foundation in their mission countries. Many have already digested the local language, traditions, habits and culture. Also, they have pretty much adapted to and overcome the external environment. Furthermore, many have already established blessed families and have given birth to blessed children in their mission countries.

When I meet Japanese, German or American missionaries, the feeling I get from them is completely distinct from what I get from other Japanese, German and American members. Their worldview, their understanding of God's providence, their feeling for God and True Parents are completely different -- probably more than they themselves realize.

It is amazing that such first-level world citizens can go to third world countries and overcome so many challenges. In sometimes threatening environments, they started their families centered on God's love. Still, they joyfully carry on their daily life. Who could erase or belittle their achievements and effort? History has to take pride in them.

Furthermore, in many mission countries, there are blessed couples among the local members, fruits of the missionaries' sacrificial foundation and effort. Now God can work freely in mission countries, because of the foundation of these new blessed couples. That is another reason why I called this seven-year period the foundation stage of world mission.

Personal guidance to the missionaries

Since July 1977, I have been executive director of our church's world missions. Gradually I have been setting up an official system. In 1978, I began special 40-day training programs for missionaries and their members, and later 120-day training. Presently 90 percent of the missionaries have graduated from this 120-day training. Regions were organized in 1978; initially mission countries were divided into 10 regions; now there are 17.

In 1976, Joo Chan Choi, Chong Goo Park, Byung Ho Kim, Moon Kyu Song, and Chang Seong Ahn were selected as worldwide itinerant workers. They visited each country. Last year, a new group of itinerant workers was appointed: Chung Kyun Kim, Chang Seong Ahn, Gwan Hae Kim, Jong Yung Yoo, Jin Hee Yoo, and Jin Moon Kim. Presently, most of these itinerant workers are regional directors in the United States. Later they will return to their worldwide mission.

I myself have tried to visit each country, in order to be able to direct each country's situation and personally guide and educate the missionaries and local members.

The current mission situation

Our missionaries have been working in 133 countries, including seven communist countries. There are a couple of countries in which the missionaries have been unable to remain; they have been staying in nearby countries, and local members have been carrying on the work. Two countries are not yet completely independent, but we have sent missionaries there.

Of the original Japanese missionaries, 80 percent remain overseas. Of the original German missionaries, 50 percent remain, and of the original American missionaries, 33 percent remain. Because of correspondent or business assignments, many missionaries have changed missions. Also, many of the original women missionaries have joined their husbands and established their families. In addition, some local members have been selected as missionaries.

At the coming Day of All Things, I plan to award prizes for the conclusion of eight years of mission work:

First prize goes to Brazil, under the guidance of Rev. Hyun Tae Kim.

Second prize goes to Zaire, under the guidance of Gregory Novalis.

Third prize goes to the Philippines, under the guidance of Yoshinobu Murotani.

Fourth prize goes to the Ivory Coast, under the guidance of Kathy Rigney.

These prizes include substantial amounts of money to support their national headquarters, training centers, and many local projects.


Brazil now has a national headquarters and 24 state headquarters. Local churches, including pioneer churches, number 85. This brings the total number of churches in the nation to 109. Established home churches total 1,080. There are 687 witnessing and center members. In all, 34,560 people have attended two-day Principle workshops.

The International Relief and Friendship Foundation, Professors' World Peace Academy, VOC, CARP, Interfaith, IOWC and various other projects have been developed. They also have a strong financial foundation, including various businesses and farming activities. Their training center system is very well organized. They have recently formed three IOWC teams.


In Zaire there are eight state churches, in addition to the national headquarters. The capital city, Kinshasa, has 24 branch churches. The 33 churches in all have 355 full-time members. There are thousands of home members, two farms, training centers, an Ecoprof school for educating young people (current enrollment: 316), a mamas' group and a papas' group, as well as a business foundation. In this country, home church activities are especially exemplary.


There are 21 churches in the Philippines, on various islands. The CARP movement is especially exemplary there and has been bringing wonderful results. They recently bought a beautiful training center. Their financial foundation and PWPA movement are also noteworthy. There are 191 witnessers and full-time members in the Philippines and about a thousand home members.

Ivory Coast

There are more than 120 witnessers and full-time members in the Ivory Coast. They have their own IOWC team. A garage and a photography business have helped them lay a strong business foundation. This country is exemplary for the harmonious relationships that exist among the missionaries. They have recently begun a large farming project.

Other countries with potential

Many other countries have much potential. Zambia has already started an agricultural-technical school, other agricultural programs, a medical clinic, and an educational program. The government supports our church's efforts there in many ways. They have developed a strong business foundation with their sausage factory.

In Peru, there is good harmony and a faithful foundation. They have established a kindergarten and primary school. Uganda has a strong, faithful foundation.

Australia is well developed; they are now building a good training center and will soon start a farming project.

Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria -- there are many countries with good potential.

World mission headquarters future plans

Modern civilization connects the whole world in a kind of global village. In one day, you can go anywhere on the globe; electronic communications bring us instant news of events on another hemisphere. Whether mankind wants to or not, all of us have to live in one family relationship, as one village, according to God's dispensation. Mankind cannot escape this kind of direction by God.

"One peaceful world under God" is all mankind's hope, because it is God's original desire the goal of His providence. To achieve this goal mankind needs to adopt a world- embracing ideal and transcend the differences between nations, cultures, habits, religions, etc. Our world mission effort can substantially bring this about.

The following are a few of our plans for the fulfillment of this world mission:

Advance from level of proclaiming God's word to national restoration

God's will cannot be fulfilled merely on the individual or family level; it needs a national scope. During the 7-year world mission foundation course which began in 1975, we have been proclaiming the Principle, God's new message. Since this foundation stage is over and we are in the growth stage, we have to establish a restored country. Already a couple of countries have a potential foundation. Many leaders are searching for an idea or movement which can guide their country. Some are doing careful research into our movement.

For this purpose, we need many kinds of horizontal and vertical support. Organizations such as IRFF, Minority Alliance International, the Summit Club, the International Justice Association, etc., will support such efforts for world peace.

I am expecting our missionaries and members, through their exemplary activities, to demonstrate God's love and truth and a serving attitude; in this way, we can build an ideal country. According to Father's teaching, all missionaries and members should establish a record of serving a country and its people.

Augmenting the number of missionaries

I have been considering the age and family situation of the present missionaries and am planning to choose more missionaries, averaging maybe 24 years of age. I will educate these new missionaries and then send them out.

The present missionaries have established a heartle tradition in each country, centering on their families. Each country absolutely needs their experience and heartle foundation.

From now on, headquarters will educate the new missionaries in Principle, heart, language, and details of the national situation; we aim to give them a professional preparation. Graduates of these programs will go to the front line and be encouraged to work very hard. This will be a wonderful opportunity for young leaders from more developed countries to gain many experiences that will enrich their own lives as well as the country that sent them.

I don't think that each mission country needs many missionaries; rather, they need local leaders. The new missionaries will stay for a certain term, perhaps four or seven years. After local leaders are raised up, a few missionaries will stay on in an advisory role, to give members guidance and pass on their heartle foundation.

Education and support

We will continue to offer educational programs, expanding especially our international 40-day workshops in mission countries. Through such educational programs, as well as direct guidance by itinerant workers, we want to raise our members so that regardless of their country, all will share a common Principle education and standard.

Principle has already been translated into many languages. We want to expand the number of translations, as well as produce more videotaped lectures. Level 5 of Principle is in preparation, as well as books of Father's speeches and traditions.

We also want to increase the quality and quantity of Today's World magazine as a vehicle for educating our members. Missionary testimonies will also be compiled and published.

There are plans to publish and translate significant books by scholars in various fields.

We will make movies in various languages to introduce people to Father, our church, and our worldwide movement.

Financial foundation

In this growth-stage period, we have to establish an economic foundation for our missionary work. Through headquarters, we can help develop a foundation to support mission countries. Some examples of practical projects which have already been started are farming, animal husbandry, repair shops, simple machinery factories, photography work, restaurants, ocean missions, and language schools. According to the local needs, we can help countries develop such programs.

Agriculture is an especially important area of focus in the third world. Through such programs, we can help feed the hungry people of the world. We need to train and educate local members in such practical skills. Furthermore, land and nature are so pure, honest, and truthful. If someone invests his sweat and hard work, nature and the land will return his efforts. Our members can learn God's will and truth through agricultural activities. Nature and land never lie, never deny, never reject activities of goodness.

Guidance for blessed couples

There are now blessed couples throughout the world; international families are being started under the ideal of world brotherhood. This is unprecedented in history. All Unification Church members can be proud of our international blessed couples.

Interracial and intercultural couples have to overcome many barriers, such as those between East and West and developed and less-developed countries. They confront differences of history, race, culture and traditions. We don't expect harmony to come about easily.

Our entire church leadership has to guide and support these interracial blessed couples. Also, we have to consider the financial foundation for their families. At headquarters, we have begun this on a regional basis, according to the situation.

Support from the world mission headquarters

Every year we have experienced an increase in the number of international visitors and VIP guests who come to the World Mission Center in New York. We are now preparing a plan to improve our reception of such guests. We want to create on the fourth floor of the World Mission Center a "briefing room," where we can show movies, videotapes and slides of our movement and our True Parents, in many different languages.

We also want to make a museum on the fourth floor to display information on the history of our church. Much of this material is currently in Korea, but we are assembling what is available in the United States and making preparations.

IOWC work has begun in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia; we will be focusing more on this type of effort and hope to expand it to other regions. Research is being done to develop a world mission plan for each region. We also want to expand IRFF activities to support our mission work.

Because of our True Parents' victory foundation, each country is now at a different stage than before. I have confidence that we can gain amazing results, compared with the past. So all missionaries, please have confidence and focus on this mission. 

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