The Words The Kwak Family

A Missionary Prison Testimony from Africa

Chung Hwan Kwak
July 1989

Sun Myung Moon and Takeru Kamiyama walking between buildings at Danbury.

A uniformed policeman had come to the center and requested that I show my passport at the Central Police Station; they just wanted to make a routine check. Okay. I went quickly so as to be back in time for my afternoon classes at the university. It was a normal unassuming winter day.

Instead of checking my passport they took me to the Office of the Interior, served me with deportation papers and locked me up in the central police cells. It was June 8, 1976.

No! There must be some mistake! No! It's not true! Those were my first thoughts. This was completely unexpected. I had never been in such a dingy animal cage before. Removed of all rights, reduced from a normal man to an unwanted dog in just a few hours' time. The filthy walls were covered with obscenities. The huge bars were strong enough to hold an elephant. The clicking of keys in locks. Stinking blankets on stinking mattresses. Calloused policemen, criminals and drunkards as cell mates. It took a while to get over the shock.

The Office of the Interior told me that if I left voluntarily and paid my own ticket, I would have another chance to enter the country. Otherwise, they would put me in prison for three months and the government would pay my flight back to America, but I would have no chance to return in the future.

The lack of freedom, my chain smoking cell mates, never being allowed to be alone; it was all so oppressive. But even beyond that my concern was how to clear my record so that I could get back to my mission. I could have had much deeper prayers if I had been alone. As it was, the only privacy

I could get was to put a blanket over my head. But the cigarette smoke still came through. I didn't want to attract unnecessary attention that might spoil my chances to get another visa. Thus it was difficult to pray during the day. At night it was easier after the others had gone to sleep. I prayed and prayed and prayed. At 5 a.m. I also woke to pray.

It was uncanny that two of the three weeks I was in jail were bitterly cold, the coldest it has been in ten years. There was no furniture in the cells so we sat on the floor. Whoever welded the bars on the windows didn't care enough to do it so that the windows could close. Thus a continual wind whipped through. We just sat there all day, huddled in our blankets. The black prisoners were kept one floor below us. The food they got compared to the food we got was appalling. I also heard they were very overcrowded. But in the long evenings you could hear them singing melancholy choruses from sad, broken hearts. They were made to clean all cell blocks in the jail. I felt compassion for them and extended fruit and sweets that I asked our members to bring for them. Then they began to expect my gifts, even demand them. One day when I was downstairs with visitors, they robbed me while they were cleaning the cell.

A Time of Intense Prayer

I was on edge all of the time. I had books to read, but I couldn't concentrate very much on them. All I could do was pray, pray, pray and wait for our member who was negotiating on my behalf. Many times tears streamed down my face as I thought of the mission and the young brothers and sisters, even more when I reflected upon Heavenly Father's heart, and especially about True Father's heart when he was in prison. I tried my best to hide my tears and not to make any noise so the others would know. But several times at night I heard grown men crying in the other cells; their broken hearts just couldn't hold it anymore. During the day they played the tough nothing-can-get-me-down role, but at night when they hoped no one was listening they sobbed. I guess if one has never been in prison, one could say those are tears of self-pity. Perhaps those tears are also for mankind; in jail you realize how bitter the cold breath of Satan really is. People outside think life is warm, friendly, and pleasant. But behind bars you begin to understand the deathly cruel nature of Satan. Suddenly you know how he has tortured mankind from the beginning of history.

Then your heart overflows for all prisoners who have ever suffered and are at present suffering at the hands of Satan, and you cannot hold back the tears. Crying was like a prayer; it was a breaking point where you can't stand Satan's cold breath anymore. Although it becomes unbearable to you, you defy it and commit yourself to the victory of God and His children, our True Parents.

One incident: I was standing at the main desk downstairs waiting for a guard to take me back to my cell (sometimes you could stand for an hour in the cold wind until one of the rookie policemen finished his casual conversation and took you up. A man was brought down by a plainclothesman and signed out. He was young, had no shoes, and held his oversized trousers with one hand in front (they take away your belt when you check in).

Our eyes met. And then I knew he was going away to be interrogated. I saw him going away the day before in just the same manner. With the attitude these policemen had toward black prisoners, I didn't want to imagine how they got their information. I saw the eyes of a man who was just fighting for the right to exist, to survive. It's eyes like those that you recall later, and your heart can't hold all the emotions anymore.

Simultaneous with all these events, riots broke out on June 16, 1976. The police station was alive with feverish activity. Policemen in riot gear, camouflage suits and automatic rifles were running in all directions. Immediately I felt there was a connection between the riots and my rejection by the government. We represented the True Parents in our countries, therefore, if this country rejected the representative of True Parents, then Satan could strike it. And Satan struck hard. I believe the riots didn't start until June 16th, even though I was jailed on the 8th, because there was still hope that the Special Branch wouldn't reject me. 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library