The Words of the Moon Family
Rev. Chang Soo Moon, seen here with members and locals at their main New Community Movement farm's entrance, has firmly planted the Saemaul spirit in Togo.
During the 1960s Korea was an extremely poor nation. In the country especially, people went hungry. Saemaul Undong (New Community Movement) was an initiative of the early 1970s to inspire local people to take responsibility, based on their own desire and will, to better the situation of their own village or community. They received some resources and assistance from the government and the can-do spirit spread throughout rural Korea as the decade progressed. Early work by our own church members to support farming and education projects in rural Korea during the 1960s is said to have influenced the Korean government to establish the program.
The New Community Movement (NCM) began in the church's early years, -- when True Parents started the Blessed Land Farm in Cheonan on June 26, 1963. At that time, Mr. In Soo Han and Mr. Yoon Sang Kim began pioneering education programs in rural communities under True Parents' guidance. At first, it was called the New Mind Movement, the New Community Movement, or the New Nation Movement. Eventually, the government recognized this activity with the May 16th National Order of Merit.
President Chung Hee Park's' administration adopted the rural community development project of the Blessed Land Farm as its model and developed it into the nationwide New Community Movement.' In both name and reality, the movement gave birth to the legend that Korea went from being one of the poorest nations in the world to an economic power in the shortest possible time. Thus, many other nations are interested in Korea's New Community Movement. I now feel it is our mission to expand it, to globalize this successful Korean project.
To be able to receive the Lord, a nation has to undergo environmental reform as well as a reformation of mind-set. Father spoke of "new mind" new community" and "new nation." Thus, when we consider the New Community Movement from the providential point of view, it can be said that the New Mind Movement is essential in achieving individual perfection, the New Community Movement for family perfection and the New Nation Movement for perfect dominion. These also represent achieving the purpose for which God created the world and human beings.
Rev. Moon inspecting a melon crop and posing with Togolese members in the new pineapple farm. He has taken seeds from various Korean fruit and vegetables and experimented to see which are viable cash crops in Togo, a small West African nation.
In 1995, there was a drawing of lots to send out national messiahs worldwide. I prayed for the most difficult mission place, perhaps a small country in faraway Africa, and my prayer was answered. I drew Togo, West Africa. Togo is a small country, home to 6 million people, that lies between Ghana and Benin and south of the Sahara, the largest desert on Earth. That was the first time I had heard of that country. Another member, Mr. Hong Shik Moon, was very interested in Africa, so we went to Togo together. I paid [then] $3,000 to ship a twenty-foot container of material to Togo. We filled it with 150 volumes of True Father's speeches, materials necessary to set up the New Community Movement, such as vinyl, a water pump, many types of seeds, agricultural tools, a car, six sewing machines, and all types of clothing.
Sixteen years ago, it was difficult to find information about West Africa. I asked bookstores, travel agencies and other national messiahs, but I found next to nothing. Nonetheless, I departed for Togo with curiosity, passion and a sense of mission as the national messiah. When I arrived there, I found that everything was strange and unfamiliar to me.
Thankfully, with help from National Leader Kagni of the Togo church and other members, I was able to reclaim my container with some difficulty. I then attempted to commence my mission work through the New Community Movement, but it was impossible to do so. This was primarily because I did not know French, Togo's official language and English was not taught in schools, so Togolese were unfamiliar with even broken English. I could not even leave the church doorstep by myself.
Additionally, I could not find land on which to begin the New Community Movement, so I put the farming tools I had brought with me into storage. I set out to prepare in other ways, to learn French and to find an appropriate piece of land. I have visited Togo nine times since it became my mission country. My shortest visits were three to six months; my longest visits a year or two.
In his spare time Rev. Moon provides acupuncture to local farmers who suffer back pain from their arduous life style. His visibly public work in Togo has brought him into contact with prominent members of society, some of whom have become UPF ambassadors of peace.
In 2009, I recalled my original intention and resolved afresh to launch the New Community Movement. I worked in collaboration with a member who is a farmer. I would provide the technology and funds, and he would take responsibility for land and maintenance. After deciding to cultivate watermelons and Korean melons, both cash crops, we began our work in earnest, but it was a complete failure because of water distribution problems.
Someone once said that failure is the mother of success. We were immersed in despair when the good news reached us that some land in the vicinity of Lome, the capital city, was available. Some time back, the church national leader of the time had purchased the land in the name of three members with donated funds sent by Japanese missionaries. After some discussion with those members, it was agreed that we would use the land for the New Community Movement. Near the land is a mountain, which is quite rare in Africa. A clear-water brook runs through the land, with and many big and small waterfalls, where birds come to sing. It has everything you would wish for in a farm, and I believe it was through the guidance of Heaven that I came to make our farm on that spot.
We brought the farming equipment out of storage. After thirteen years, we found the water pump was rust-free and perfectly usable. We used the vinyl to make a tent, bought sand and cement and started making concrete blocks with the help of Rev. Chala Lago, a family church leader that lived nearby. When I began making blocks myself and building a mission center, other members, who up to that point had not shown much interest, became motivated to help.
The roof and the bathroom were completed with money sent from America by a local church leader's sibling and a former Togolese national leader. The place became our mission center and the mecca of the New Community Movement in Togo. After the house was built and the environment put in order, in July 2009, we attempted to cultivate Korean watermelon, based on lessons learned from our earlier watermelon and Korean melon crop failures. To counter the inadequate water distribution, we transported water by car; I cannot even begin to list the problems we had with this. The result, however, was a great success. Meanwhile, we commenced a New Community Leaders' workshop, which in two years nurtured seven New Community leaders.
After my next visit to Korea, I returned with the seeds from watermelon, Korean melon, melon, tomato, cucumber, squash, gourd, and turmeric, which is used in making medicine. I test cultivated these seeds with varying success. Spider-web melon grew three times larger in Togo than it does in Korea, but it was not sweet and proved useless as a product. Pepper, Korean melon, watermelon and sesame were successfully cultivated.
The fourth attempt at crop cultivation was carried out in Agbelouve, a forty-minute drive from Lome. Agbelouve is the mission region of Rev. Dodo Komla Klutse, who leads a pioneer church there. He is a graduate of a New Community Leadership workshop and the nephew of former Prime Minister Kwassi Klutse. Rev. Klutse's pioneer church is in his hometown. His uncle and aunt are ambassadors for peace and are fully supportive.
Rev. Dodo was put in charge of managing three hectares of his uncle's land. We used half a hectare for watermelon. We achieved 50 percent success, having planted half the crop in a low lying area that became submerged from heavier than expected rainfall. The watermelon seeds in the higher region, on the other hand, produced a higher yield than we had expected.
When True Mother came to visit our neighbor nation, Benin, we made her an offering of pineapples and other fruits from Togo. She tasted them and highly praised them, saying that Togo's pineapples taste great. This gave me the idea of cultivating watermelons and pineapples on a large scale, because they are high profit items that will help the rural communities earn even more income. I planned to make a pineapple farm when the time was right, to build a processing factory and export pineapples to the rest of the world. When I came to Togo last March I was finally able to put my plan into action.
The church and training center built by the Togolese church members on the initiative and with the help of Rev. Moon
By pooling the resources of our members, we were finally able to build Togo's first headquarters church, where after every Sunday service, I taught Korean for an hour to all the members. To carry out medical mission work, in accordance with True Parents' instructions, I had studied acupuncture in Korea and acquired a license to practice it. I set Fridays aside for visiting college campuses to provide acupuncture and moxa treatment as a service. Around rural pioneering churches, I visited communities and performed medical service. I was warmly welcomed by the locals, who were deeply interested in what I did.
The goals of my mission work through the New Community Movement are establishment of the model ideal family, the model ideal village and the model ideal nation. I am doing my best to accomplish these.
First, to establish the model ideal family, I built the mission center and a large church. We are still in the process of pioneering model churches by nominating model church leaders.
Second, to construct the model ideal village, we are steadily translating our plans into action by utilizing twenty-five acres of land we have acquired through donations from members over the course of two decades. We anticipate substantiating a village, tentatively named the Unified Ideal Village. The model ideal village will be constructed by preparing the site, building a training center with an integrated culture center, True Parents' residence and welfare homes in addition to the farm. Thus, we will construct the Unified Ideal Village, which will be a community of mutual existence, mutual prosperity, and mutual goodwill as pursued through Unification Thought.
Third, to construct the model ideal nation, we will implement Korea's successful New Community Movement in Togo on the foundation of the completed model ideal village. I believe that when the New Community Movement is thus globalized, it will become possible to guarantee the construction of the model ideal nation.
Left: As well as pioneering the Saemaul Undong, Rev. Moon plays an active role in the Togo Unification Church (here with members at a holy day gathering). Right: The New Community Movement has use of various parcels of land, including an area naturally irrigated by a stream; members are also starting honey production with local bees and hives based on Korean design.
Of major enterprises pursued by True Parents, the first is the re-creation of human beings based on the new truth. The second is the re-creation of the ocean, in other words the ocean industry symbolized by the launching of Cheon Jeong Ho at Cheonghae Garden in 2011. I believe the third is re-creation of the land symbolized by the New Community Movement centered on the Blessed Land Farm. When it received the 5.16 People's Award, it became the mainstream for the New Community Movement. I am stating this because I want to emphasize the fact that we need to inherit True Parents' spirit and develop the New Community Movement on a worldwide scale.
To do so, we need a new legal non-governmental organization to globalize the successful New Community Movement. In addition, we need donors and technicians that can teach Korea's advanced agricultural technology to the rest of the world, in particular the less developed nations. I believe that one of the more urgent tasks at hand is to build a training center in Korea to nurture New Community leaders (leaders with a providential viewpoint).
I believe the New Community Movement is necessary for African. For less developed nations to enter the ranks of advanced nations, they need to go through an agricultural revolution, and then an industrial revolution, after which they need to become a high welfare state through an information revolution. Korea is the model for this course. True Parents are the founders of that model.
We are focusing on three development projects, breeding sheep and goats (we started with five sheep and five goats, and now we have about thirty), growing cash crops and beekeeping. Though we have our share of difficulties, overall our work is progressing successfully. The New Community Movement is intended to bring social prosperity, so I believe that when the farm becomes profitable, the New Community Movement will have been successfully carried out.
West Africa has two six-month seasons, wet and dry. The dry season corresponds to Korea's winter, in that it is the non- farming season. Nowadays, however, many Korean farmers cultivate crops even in winter using special agricultural facilities. I have therefore introduced advanced Korean technology, an irrigation system, so that we can cultivate crops even in the non-farming season, with the potential of earning higher profits. We invested a lot of time and effort making the black hoses and pipes -- neither of which are produced locally -- and laying them out for irrigation. We have completed installing the system on a half-acre of land.
We are also making efforts to live in a better environment by rebuilding and renewing buildings on the farm. Our plans are to make the New Community Farm of Togo a community of peace and happiness, as suggested by the Unification Principle.
To localize the New Community Movement in Africa, I am also mapping out a scheme to hold New Community Leaders' workshops. If I can uphold True Parents' desire by reintroducing the Blessed Land Farm and constructing an ideal community of peace, happiness and unity, this will be a contribution toward the globalization of Cheon Il Guk. I could not ask for anything more.