The Words of the Ota Family
Hirokasu Ota's Testimony On His Kidnapping In Paraguay
December 9, 2007
Mr. Ota is 777 blessed couples. He is a Japanese National Messiah to Paraguay who has been in the country for more than 10 years. He was kidnapped by a Paraguayan mafia gang in early April 2007 and held for ransom. The ransom was paid and he was released on April 20, 2007. The following is the extract of his testimony given on December 9, 2007, Sunday service at Sri Hartamas center, Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia.
I was in Paraguay for more than 10 years together with a Korean National Messiah Mr. Moon. Father bought more than 1 million hectares of lands in Paraguay and I was the general manager of the company taking care of this vast piece of property which provides pasture for more than 800 cattle.
Our Church possession of this vast property has induced serious jealousy from the Catholic Church which might have cooperated with the mafia to bring us trouble. Kidnapping in Paraguay is rampant and the National Messiah of Brazil had alerted me about the critical situation. I myself had always been cautious as far as this matter is concerned.
My experience of kidnapping has prompted Hollywood to buy my story. Kidnappers prefer foreigners and just a few days before my kidnapping incident, another Japanese man was kidnapped resulting in six of the kidnappers being shot to death.
On about 3.30pm on April 1, 2007, I was returning from my office at the Victoria Company, in my car driven by a Japanese sister. Our vehicle was stopped by two men in police uniforms wearing bullet proof vests, and holding machine guns. The police told my driver to stop the car's engine. My driver suspected that something was not right as police normally would not demand stopping the engine, and because there were many other cars passing by without being stopped.
She realized that we were specially targeted. As she intended to restart the engine, immediately the gunman pointed a pistol at her neck. Meanwhile there was another car whose passengers were local Paraguayans that stopped behind us. It happened that the driver was a police officer with his girl friend.
This police officer also suspected something fishy as he knew that time there was no police road block at this location. He called his department to inquire about the road block; but was discovered and brutally beaten by the mafia even though the officer was much bigger than the mafia guys. Four of us were then promptly driven off in another vehicle as the police department knew about the incident.
On the way to the hideout, the kidnappers told us that they wouldn't harm us as long as we paid them. The hideout was in a thick jungle. We were locked in a hut the whole day but were given good food. The kidnappers' leader was a Brazilian who was claimed to have killed more than 1000 people in 4 years.
He asked me how much money I could offer to pay for my freedom, and I said I only have $30,000.00. He laughed and wanted me to pay $150,000.00 by noon the next day, otherwise I would be killed, and my head would be chopped off and be sent to the police department. I told him I could pay the money but he must release the two ladies first; of course he rejected my condition.
I looked deep inside my mind for a source of money and I got the idea that my company's assistant Mr. Horsey, who is not a member but an Ambassador of Peace, has a brother who was a manager in a financial company, might be able to help.
The gang tied my hands, covered my eyes with black cloth, put me in the trunk of a car and drove me at high speed while I spoke to Mr. Horsey who kept asking me where I was. I told Horsey I needed his brother's help to pay for the ransom. Horsey contacted his brother and returned to me saying that his brother couldn't do anything for me.
My heart broke and I began to think of death. The thought that I might lose my head and that my body might be dumped in this deep jungle worried me. I thought that I might not be able to receive a Song Hwa ceremony without a head. I had heard that one of Father's brothers could only receive Song Hwa after his body was found.
My situation was critical and the deadline would arrive soon. As I prayed deeply, another idea came into my mind. I told the Brazilian leader that my company had 800 cattle and I wanted to ask Horsey to sell them off to pay the ransom. At that night, I was brought outside the hut with tied hands to make the call to Horsey.
Horsey did not return the call for a long time. As the deadline approached, the Brazilian came to me with a roaring voice, saying that Horsey was not my good friend as he didn't care about my life or death. Later on I found that Horsey couldn't sell the cattle because it was the weekend and there is no cattle trading on weekends.
The Brazilian covered my head with a bag with my hands tied. With the thought of death, I told the Brazilian that I knew another person who could help me. It was my wife who could sell off my house that worth more than $300,000.00. My wife was an incredibly strong woman. When Father matched me to her, He told me about her character and asked if it was okay for me. I said I wanted whoever Father chose.
The kidnapper immediately gave me the phone to call my wife in Japan. A lady who used to work with me in the mission field answered the call. She said my wife was in hiding due to my kidnapping. My hope to stay alive was shaken again. Out of desperation, I though perhaps I could borrow money from the Church and paid back in future by selling the house.
As I thought this, another worry came into my mind; borrowing from the Church means borrowing from True Father. Am I qualified to borrow anything from True Father? I asked myself if I have "absolute love, absolute faith, and absolute obedience?" Did I love my wife more than myself? Did I have enough spiritual children?
I wasn't able to answer all these questions with definite confident. Nevertheless, I called my house in Tokyo again to ask the sister to convey my request to the Church. She returned my call to say that it was only possible to borrow $3,000.00 from the Church. The Brazilian leader was so upset that he said he would kill us all one by one beginning with the kidnapped policeman until he got his money.
When Father was in Hungnam prison, he stayed alive by witnessing to 12 disciples; and Heung Jin Nim sacrificed his life to save the lives of the other two Blessed Children in his car. I also thought that I am a National Messiah of Paraguay and I cannot be killed in this country as the Israelite's killing of Jesus had resulted to the destruction of their nation.
Though I am not comparable to Jesus, Father had sent me here as a National Messiah. Therefore, I must stay alive; for if I am killed, Paraguay would have no future. Therefore I tried to keep myself healthy. There was no tooth paste or tooth brushes for us; therefore every morning I used my fingers to brush my teeth. I also felt deeply sorry for all the kidnapped people as it was because of me that they were this trouble. I also thought that if this Brazilian leader became our member how wonderful it would be.
The gang wanted to take the policeman out to be executed. I told the Brazilian leader to kill me instead of him, of course with the determination of not to be killed myself deep in my heart. But the policeman said he should be killed instead of me. I offered to give a massage the Brazilian leader. After the massage, he was so pleased that he fell asleep and the other gang members asked me to massage them too. They were all so pleased that even some of them begged the Brazilian leader to give me one more chance.
A few days later, a gang member reported that 500 police were surrounding the area we were in. In Paraguay, if crimes happen to ordinary civilians, the police normally don't work very hard on solving them. But this time they took it very seriously as another policeman was in danger of being killed by the mafia.
We were ordered to leave the hut immediately. The kidnapped policeman advised me to put my head down low and to protect it with my hands as we would be put in the trunk of the car and would be traveling at high speeds over the jungle's rugged roads. Our vehicles traveled at the speed of 120 km/hr (75 mph) but the Brazilian ordered them to go at 140 km/hr (85 mph)!
In Paraguay, police are the most untrustworthy people as many of them work secretly with the mafia. In our case, the gang received information about the police raid the positions of the police from an informer. So they could evade the police. While on the run, we stopped some place and two policemen came to shake hands with us. One of them was a senior official and the other a junior one. The senior one said that the operation cost them lot of money and next time we need to pay the daily rate for the police to look for us.
We arrived at another hideout, a better house with bathrooms. The gang told us to take bath, but many of us were so tired that we preferred to go to sleep. The gangs were very angry and ordered us to wash ourselves as that day was Easter, the day of Jesus ascension to Heaven.
In the hut in the jungle, there were no bathrooms or toilets. If we wanted to pass our bodily wastes, we just need to do it in front of very one, on a small vase. I told my Japanese sister that should the gang try to defile her, she should just avoided resistance and I would request that Father offer her Holy Wine after we were out of this situation. Later on the gang told me that they did not rape her.
There was a moment when I could speak to my wife in the phone. She said she had just come back to the house to pick up some belongings. She also leaked out something which she wasn't supposed to say. She had already prepared almost half of the $300,000.00. The reason that it was supposed to be confidential is because the Japanese government had advised her that the gang might want to increase the ransom after they received the money. Anyway I did not tell the gang about the money, but said that my wife was admitted to hospital due to the shock of this incident.
All together we changed our hideout eight times and there was no good news from Horsey, my wife, the Church, or the Japanese government. The gang was getting more and more impatient. I thought that my chances of surviving was slim, so I began to write my last will which included a statement requesting the Japanese government to continue to provide aid to Paraguay despite of this occurrence.
However, a turning moment arrived on the day of April 14, 2007.The Brazilian rushed to me with a happy smiling face, saying that soon I would be released. I asked him why. He said Horsey had agreed to pay a ransom of $138,000.00. The whole day they treated us very kindly. However, we waited and waited for more than 3 days and there was still no news of being released, and there was no contact between the gang and Horsey.
Later on I found out that Horsey had prepared the money in mixture of US and Paraguayan currency, and the Police Chief wanted all the Paraguayan currency to be photocopied in order to trace the gang. Horsey refused, but the Police Chief insisted that he was the one in charge and his direction was to be followed. So the scuffle continued until Horsey announced in a press conference that the ransom would all be in US currency. 15 minutes after the news release, the gangs immediately came to congratulate me. We were released on April, 20, 2007.
During the 20 days of ordeal, my experience with Heavenly Father was intense. The New Testament said that when Peter was in prison, an angel came to release him. It was also my hope to meet the angel at that time, but instead, after my deep prayer, I saw bright light, and felt a sense of deep calm and comfort.
Later I realized that my wife had been praying for me, and also the Korean National Messiah Mr. Moon and all the Paraguayan members had been doing all kinds of conditions for me.. Mr. Moon had been fasting and had done 1000 bowings daily for me. When we met, he hugged me with his skinny body that was caused by his fasting.
Recently, when I visited Chon Jeong Gong, Father called my name and said I have experienced the same situations as he had in North Korean prisons. I felt embarrassed to hear that as Father had entered prisons more times and had stayed there longer than me. Father was in Hungnam prison for 2 years 8 months, but I was under the mafia's custody for only 20 days. I had also just found out that my spiritual grandson is the National Messiah of this country (Malaysia). For this I want to make a Kyung Bae to Rev. and Mrs. Yoo and all of you.
Rev. Ota than made his full bows to Rev. and Mrs. Yoo, and then another to all members in the audience.