The Words of the Moon Family
Question: We came to learn not only about your education programs but about your work as the first female vice-president of the Korean church and the areas where WFWP is most active.
As a UN NGO and as one of the largest NGOs for reconciliation and cooperation between North Korea and South Korea under the South Korean government's Ministry of Unification, we are very actively carrying out many different programs.
Because of the activities that WFWP has carried out for the past twenty years (last year was the twentieth anniversary of its founding) the Korean government presented me with a plaque, an award. That is how much WFWP is recognized for its activities toward North Korean -- South Korean unification. I received a medal too. True Mother said it was beautiful. True Mother wrote, "I am very proud of you. I love you." She signed it and then we took a picture together.
Another organization, the National Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (NCRC) one of the largest NGOs in Korea -- an umbrella for more than two hundred South Korean NGOs is also very active in Korean reconciliation. Members of South Korea's National Assembly and top NGOs work with this group. I am one of the NCRC's co-chairs. It exists as an umbrella to NGOs in South Korea and has a counterpart, with the same name, that is not an NGO but a part of the government in North Korea. Many of the activities that are carried out between North Korea and South Korea are done with the cooperation of these two councils.
WFWP has such a foundation that this national council, the NCRC, recognizes it as the best NGO group and the most sincere when it comes to North Korean -- South Korean reconciliation. So, not only South Korea but also North Korea recognizes WI WP.
In the beginning many Christian, anti-Unification Church NGO leaders accused us, criticized us. Yet, WFWP has been doing a good job not only in North Korean -- South Korean reconciliation but also in UN activities and Middle East Peace rallies. Since 1997, we have had a Middle East woman leaders' conference for Middle East peace every year.
I was secretary-general of WFWP Korea in 1997, so I did not attend the Middle East peace conferences in the beginning, but Mother asked me to go and to support them from 2000, when I was nominated as international president. I became a co-chair of this Middle East conference with Middle Eastern women. Every year, in May or June usually, forty or fifty women from more than twenty countries in the Middle East attend. This year we held it in Paris, because we wanted to have some VIPs from UNESCO.
Usually we do not hold the conference in the Middle East because we have to invite both those from the Arab side and those from Israel. Some countries in the Middle East do not admit Israelis. Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Switzerland allow them but most countries in the Middle East do not.
Internationally and domestically, we have been doing a wonderful job, so anti-Unification Church Christians have to recognize that. How wonderful! The Blue House, the Ministry of Gender Equality or the Ministry of Unification invite us, they invite me, as an NGO leader, so this time I could receive a medal because our members all over the world have been working so hard and dedicating their lives to WFWP work. They have been doing a great job not only for this NGO but also for God's providence, I think.
We started to call VIPs we have closely worked with. It is time to teach them the foundation of our beliefs. I strongly feel it is time. We started to have lectures for VIPs in other organizations that we have been cooperating with.
UN NGOs cannot do religious activities or political activities, so were careful when starting these seminars. We were thinking about the legitimate way to approach this. We have to report all of our activities, with all the photographs, to the Ministry of Unification in Korea because we are an NGO under that ministry. We held lectures on the Founding Spirit of the Women's Federation, our peace theory, WFWP's peace ideology. This is how we started.
The second daughter of the late president. Chung Hee Park, Geun Ryeong Park, is chairperson of the Children's Foundation in Korea, which was their mother's legacy." She has been good friends with me since 1994, a very long time. I invited her to our international conferences, to America and Japan and to some other Asian countries, whenever we went to do volunteer work. She was always inspired. She knows how difficult it is to cooperate with people from other countries, especially from Japan. Japan and Korea are historical enemies. We do not generally like each other. We sometimes hate each other. She was moved and wondered how it was possible for many Korean women and many Japanese women to work together.
We did not have any international exchanges with Japan until sometime in the 1960s. Her father, the late President Chung Hee Park, reestablished this relationship. It was not easy at that time; many conservatives, especially students, violently demonstrated against normalizing our relationship with Japan. With WFWP, she saw Japanese and Korean women helping each other and loving each other. She asked me, What motivates them? What is behind this? I thought, it is time to teach her the basis of WFWP's peace ideology.
President Moon addresses the twenty-seventh Principles of Peace Workshop for Leaders in November 2011
Question: Who gave the presentations?
I invited the best lecturers in the country. From the first part, we had five lectures including those on the Creation and the Fall, and five from the second part, including the one on the Providence of Restoration. I selected the best lecturer for each part from among all the leaders. I attended all the lectures. Sometimes I commented on some lectures. The lecturers did not like that, but these were not regular lectures. They had to be done carefully. I had to bring these people inspiration. We have to change their hearts, by pouring out all our heart. I attended from the beginning to the end. Five years have passed. The lecturers we invited have developed a lot during that time. Mrs. Park participated in nearly every lecture. So far, we have had forty-six education sessions. She attended forty-two times and attended every lecture without fail. Forty-two times, and every month she brought guests. In the beginning, we started with four people; last month, for the forty-sixth session, we had fifty-three. (That was the first lecture session that my husbands visited.) The guests are usually VIPs.
During the opening, I explain that it is not just a church theory or religious theory, this is divine principle for everyone; it is universal. I present a special lecture between part one and part two. It is a means of developing mutual understanding and a closer relationship with the people in organizations we cooperate with. Our core teachings, which were given by Father, are not only theoretical. Father was actually in the field. I emphasize that peace is realizable.
Question: This is mainly your personal initiative it seems.
Yes. Through WFWP activities, I show them we have been doing these field activities because of what True Parents have been teaching us. They are overwhelmed, inspired. Two times, seven times, the same people come to listen to the lectures and bring their husbands, wives, daughters, sons.
People also say that where we hold the sessions are very nice, places with beautiful views. We use Yong Pyong Resort and Muchangpo. They want to have fun, but I tell them no. Our life span is nowadays eighty or a hundred years, but we spend a third of our time sleeping, or coming and going. For just three days, you need to concentrate on these teachings. Be good students.
We have conducted this well so far. In the beginning when we first started the presentations, it was not easy. We only had a few participants then, and the participants had to pay for it. We would hold the session in a hotel, where we would rent a hall. Lecturers had to come and that, too, cost money. Meals and rooms and the hall made it quite expensive. It cost a lot of money, actually. We could not tell the participants to pay for everything. We decided that the WFWP headquarters would pay half and the local branches or the individuals would have to pay the remainder themselves. Nowadays, we have to reduce the number of people that want to come. Fifty is a bit too many; thirty to forty is best. We have to ask some people to come the following month if too many want to come. Before the Divine Principle lectures, I traveled around Korea giving a lecture to members and local leaders. Usually we invited many NGOs run by and focused on women and local government figures that work with WFWP.
Question: Why, in Korea, are you not under the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family?
When we were founded, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family did not exist."' Father told us to register under the Ministry of Unification. There was only the Gender Equality Commission under the Blue House. We also work with many NGOs run by women. The minister of the Ministry of Gender Equality often invites us to events.
One of the former ministers was close to me. We both went to the United Nations in New York, so we worked together. WFWP works with both government ministries.
I was traveling around the country giving lectures. I am still doing this. Last Wednesday I went to a local chapter where they had invited the mayor and 250 people attended. Usually the WFWP local chapter invites leaders and promotes my speeches. Especially the Japanese sisters are very active. These days, Japanese sisters run many of the local chapters. Korean members are getting old. Japanese and Filipinos are now very active and they invite the local leaders. People are curious when meeting, Japanese women.
My topic is sometimes One Family under God, or One Family on Earth and a Peaceful World, or a Peaceful World Realized through the Power of Women (motherly love) or the Way toward the Unification of Korea and World Peace. I explain True Parents' vision; one global Homily is not just God's providence but history is moving in this way. I usually speak for seventy minutes or an hour. For most of them, what I speak about is a new concept. They are so surprised and say it is amazing work. I show pictures of many presidents and first ladies, George [H. W.] Bush and the leaders of North Korea in my PowerPoint presentation. People are overwhelmed by the great figures. I also show pictures of me with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
I am a petite lady. I tell them, I can do this not because of me but because of True Parents' teachings. Father always called me "Little Lady." I tell them that he raised me," and they become curious.
A WFWP sponsored excursion took children to the ROKS Cheonan, believed to have been sunk (costing the lives of forty-six sailors) by a North Korean torpedo on March 26, 2010. The South Korean Navy later raised it from the seabed.
Question: How does that change WFWP's image locally?
Once I gave a lecture in Hampyeong in South Jeolla Province, where the mayor came, as did the leaders of the local government's Women's Council. The council's past eight presidents came. They were awed by the lecture and inspired. The eighth president of the Women's Council was the branch leader of WFWP in that city. The others looked down on her even though she was then the leader of the council. After hearing my lecture, they were so moved and curious. They wanted to hear more, so I brought them all to lectures on WFWP's peace ideology.
When they came to the lectures, they may have thought they would he hearing another lecture from me. I was worried and did not know how they would react. I was careful with them and the lecturers did their very best to inspire them, to move them. In the end, I told them that these are the teachings of Rev. Moon. The WFWP branch leader in Hampyeong had prayed very much for these women and had set many conditions for them. I spoke to them sincerely, in tears. When they went back to Hampyeong, of their own accord, they went straight to our church there and received benediction prayers from our minister. They actively participated in the church from that point on and the church dramatically developed from then. That minister has become a district leader, because the atmosphere improved so much. They all received the blessing and they persuaded their children to receive the blessing too.
Because the church was so small, they had to have two services on Sundays. We have many churches in this situation. My primal), concern was that through WFWP, women come for lectures, become moved and inspired but when they go back to their cities, if they visit the church, sometimes the church does not have the right atmosphere. The churches are sometimes the A-frame type and the members do not always have a positive aura around them. My major worry is that they will be disappointed. That hurts me and pains me a lot. People had been inspired but going back to their towns, they sometimes were disappointed by the church.
Question: As the vice-president of the Korean church, are you able to effect some changes?
We try. Dr. Yang and I really hope to change this and build new, beautiful churches, because Korean people have really developed, but our church is still the same. That is so painful.
Question: Especially when capable people come...
That is what pains my heart the most. When our VIP guests are able to see that Father was a great man (some even accept that he came as the Messiah) but then are dissatisfied with our church, it is painful. We are trying to change this so that at least the external atmosphere is good. The atmosphere put off some women that have visited our churches. True Mother is aware of this problem. We are continuing to renovate and build. It is an ongoing project. I sometimes, as the vice-president of the church, have to sign documents. Often nowadays, these are about selling old churches, buying land or building new churches. Today, I also signed one of these.
Young Koreans, at a WFWP-sponsored camp, are being encouraged to hope for and perhaps eventually work toward the reunification of the Koreas.
Question: What are your activities as Korean church vice-president?
While Father was still alive, he always emphasized to me that I should educate women, teach woman leaders. When Father passed away, I felt a void. True Mother reinstructed me to educate our female members so that they can also teach woman leaders in society. Mother emphasized that again. Many members are going through difficulty because Father is not alive on earth now. I encourage them and comfort the members who are going through this. I try to help bring revival in the church by giving good sermons and lectures. I work with the Women's Federation, but aside from this, I visit a different church each Sunday. I have no free Sundays. I listen to members worries and give a sermon. After listening and seeing the situation in that church I come back to the headquarters and talk to Dr. Yang about the different situations and problems and try to bring better solutions.
Question: I have been told you are very vocal in the decision-making process.
I met Father when I was twelve years old, in 1955, thirteen years old by Korean counting. I had just entered junior high school. I was the lion' person to apply to be a member. Father raised me. I followed Father and Mother, who support me. Sometimes church leaders and other members told me that when I visited their church True Father and True Mother visited the church through me. Members become inspired and even cry, not only in Korea but also in other countries.
Being one of the early members, I know the poor situation of our churches. Deep down in my bones, I know how hard it is in the church because I went through it in my earlier days, in the pioneering stage of the church. When visiting churches, the old members come in and cry and I cry. It is such a touching situation. Physically I am tired but I try to comfort them and support them in their situation. I am physically tired but spiritually happy.
Buddhist monks who attended our Divine Principle-based workshops talked about their impressions and gave testimonies. Some spoke with tears. I did not know who Rev. Moon was and I did not understand the Unification Church, they would say. They spoke with tears about having misunderstood Father.
I think the time has come to start teaching people. The time has come. Because when people listen to lectures, and we have the best lecturers in Korea, the material deeply moves them. You asked what parts participants react to the most; all participants are moved when we speak about Father and his accomplishments. Many people ask, now that Father has passed away, what will happen to Father. You also have the True Children problem: many people ask if the Unification Church is now going to collapse. I strongly tell them, Don't worry. When they ask those questions, I usually say that even Jesus, two thousand years ago, was crucified between two thieves, all his disciples and followers having abandoned him. No one imagined during those days that his foundation would spread and become the main religion in most developed countries in the world. Of course, if we make mistakes, it causes prolongations and indemnity has to be paid. That is painful, but the foundation will continue spreading. Father said that there would be no more failure and that the roots of peace have been planted all over the world. Because of that foundation, it will go on, even if we fail. That would be painful, but this is God's work, so although we would have to pay indemnity, it will go on. It is not human work. Jesus' foundation spreading around the world could not have occurred through human effort. God has been working behind the scenes.
In the past, we served and attended VIPs. I do not want us to do that any longer. It is time to teach them our peace ideology; when they understand that, they become like brothers and sisters, no longer VIPs. Responding is up to them. For those inspired by the lectures, it was a blessing for them. For those that remain hard-hearted, it is their course, their indemnity. Everywhere I go, I emphasize this. Now we no longer see VIPs as distant people. Many of them are coming closer to us.
Question: I recall that Geun Ryeong Park was very much like that.
She has changed a lot. She had always been like a princess; she was like a star everywhere. Everybody wanted to come close to her, have a picture taken with her. For more than eighteen years, she was in the Blue House. She grew up in the Blue House as a child. She has changed a lot. She calls me "my eternal Abel." She was always the center but now she says, You are my center; you are my Abel.
When Father invited her to Cheon Jeong Gung, even when she had many things on her schedule, she would cancel them and come. Father was very happy about that. He would say, A precious person has come today. She would reply, Because you invited me; I came because the Messiah invited me.
True Father's final outside trip was to the Osan School. Father instructed me to come there by four o'clock and to bring Mrs. Geun Ryeong Park. We went there at four and we spent three hours with Father during his last excursion. Only the key leaders were there. When Father saw Geun Ryeong Park, he said, Oh good, good, you have come. She again replied, the Messiah invited me, so of course I have come to you.
Question: They seemed like father and daughter.
Yes. Many people found Father too high; they had difficulty relating to him, but she did not. Once when Father was speaking, the microphone was not positioned well. Nobody else could do anything but Geun Ryeong Park walked up to the podium from within the audience and adjusted it for Father. Father smiled. Nobody else could do that.
Members of WFWP's extensive international family meet during a 2013 International Leadership Conference.
Question: Could you describe Choi Yeon-ah nim's role With the Women's Federation International?
Yeon Ah nim is lecturing at Sun Moon University, so she has difficulty coming here every single day. For large domestic or international events, she tries to participate and offer some remarks. She is the chairperson of the Sunhak Scholarship Foundation. '[rue Mother appointed her.
I also advised Yeon Ah Choi nim that it would be best if she stay close to True Mother and provide some comfort to her; True Mother might be lonely occasionally. Even though she has an important position with WFWP, I told her it might be better for her to say close to Mother now.
Father, too, said that when it comes to church leaders, practicality is important but especially in church leaders, spiritual inspiration is important. Without spiritual guidance, spiritual inspiration, you cannot be a great leader, so they should always pray and try to connect.
When I carry out big conferences, I experience the same thing. I always receive inspirations; even when sleeping, I might wake up and write down all the inspirations I receive. I have experienced that many times. It is very important. Whenever you host a conference, you always have to worry about the timing of the event, who the emcee should be, who the key speakers should be... Whenever I worry about these things, inspirations come, spiritual guidance. Usually, only after the event is over do I realize what had come to me as spiritual inspiration.
I have been to North Korea, a dangerous place, nineteen times. We had a large convention in North Korea, at Mt. Kumgang, involving people from fifty countries, 720 participants. The weather was beautiful. and despite the scale of the event, nothing unpleasant occurred. When we had a large peace rally in North Korea,' we also did spiritual conditions. We have done many conferences in dangerous places, and we have done well. We have never even had terrible weather during our events. We always offer spiritual conditions and pray. I experienced how important it was to set up spiritual conditions. When we went to Jerusalem, for example, Father would call me and ask, Are you going to Jerusalem? If you are, see me before you go.
He would set up a spiritual condition for me. I believe these spiritual conditions contributed to the success of events wherever we went.
A group was going to Jerusalem and I had to go with them because I was their guide, their leader. Father called and asked me about it, I said, Father I cannot come down to see you now because I have this group that I need to lead. He said, Come down! Do not talk about anything else. Come now, now, now. You have to see me before you leave for Jerusalem.
Father was in Yeosu; I went down to Yeosu before I left for Jerusalem and only the two of us did Hoon Dok Hae for the whole day. Father told me that I had to offer conditions before I left for Jerusalem. During those days, when I was going to Jerusalem, many frightening events were happening there, like suicide bombings, but our event went smoothly. I have had many experiences like that.
I was always deeply touched that Father would offer conditions for me; I was deeply moved. I miss that. On that occasion, because I did not go with the group, I had to go the next day. But I was happy anyway.
Father would often call and say, I want you to go here; I want you to go there. I want you to meet this person; I want you to meet that person. He would always give me instructions. It was sometimes exhausting and I would say, Father, I am so exhausted. This is too hard. He would say, Please just do it before I go to the spirit world. The only time you can do this is before I go to the spiritual world. The value is different if you do this while I am on earth or if you do this after I go to the spiritual world, entirely different. He emphasized this, so I said, Okay. I will try.
WFWP sponsors Loving Nature Camps, a way to help adults bask in nature's beauty.
Question: Thank you so much. We are overwhelmed.
Concerning the Divine Principle education, one point I would like to make before we conclude is that I joined the church at a young age, and Father told me when I was young that he wanted me to learn English and to become a peace messenger that can bring these teachings to people around the world. For that reason, I majored in English Literature. Father paid my tuition fees and I lived in the church. My mother had been expelled from school because she had a relationship to the Unification Church, so we did not have any money in those days. Father paid for my education. Father basically raised me from a young age.
Later, I felt the need to study theology because most NGO leaders then were strong Christians. To talk to them I needed a strong foundation in theology and the Bible. I decided to go back to graduate school and to study the Bible in a Christian seminary in Korea. When you applied for a seminary, if you said you come from the Unification Church, they would not allow you to enter the school. I had to hide that in order to get into the school. I earned a degree in New Testament Theology and in the Theology of Women.
My professors loved me and when we would discuss topics they would ask, "Where did you get this information?" or "How did you put this argument together?" They were moved. This gave me great confidence. During my time in the seminary, I thoroughly studied the Bible to the point that my nose would sometimes bleed. That is how hard I studied the Bible, so I am very confident when it comes to talking to Christians about the Bible. Later, I got a doctorate degree in theology from Sun Moon University. When it comes to Divine Principle lecturing or talking to Christians based on the Bible, I am very confident; I have no difficulty whatsoever. I am very grateful that I have gone through all that, because I can now conduct Divine Principle lectures.
My professors were very great professors, famous in Korea, but they did not know I was a Unification Church member. They would ask, "Where did you get this wonderful interpretation?" I could not say that it came from Rev. Moon or the Unification Church because I wanted to study more.
Now all my friends know I am a member of the Unification Church but at that time, they did not know that. Now they know it, but since I have already finished my studies, they cannot do anything about it.
One of the most famous theology professors, Professor Ahn Yeol, loved me very much, but he recently died of a heart attack. Some of my friends said that if he had known that I was a Unification Church member, he probably would have had the heart attack earlier and died sooner.
Every month we have a leaders meeting, and before the meeting, I give a lecture for about thirty minutes on theology, the New Testament, or the theology of women to the members, to the WFWP leaders. They really love this. I have a lot of knowledge about theology. It is time to teach the theology of women.
Question: Before this interview, the headquarters told us that only two women -- out of the hundreds of pastors in Korea -- are pastors and two are evangelists.
That is the situation not only in our movement but also among Christian churches. It is the same. You know about our patriarchal system, which we have had for almost five hundred years. As a woman, working in Korea is still not easy. Even in the family [She laughs.] men are the leaders! They know it is the time for women, the women's era, but not really. Sometimes, [sigh] I want to give up. [She laughs.] Even in the old days, when Father was alive, we would have meetings, church leaders meetings, and I would be the only woman. I would usually be the last one to report, so most of them (all men!) would go away when I was the last one to report. I would report and get Father's signature on things. But I was grateful that Father often took my side and would encourage me. He would ask, Are the men insulting you? Are they looking down on you? If they are, use my name to scold them. Use my name to say something to them and do not worry about that.
No matter how tired he was, he would always sign whatever I brought to him. Ah, I miss Father whenever I talk about him.
I just finished a three-day workshop in Yong Pyong. The next day I had to go to Sachun in the southern part of Korea to conduct an event. Straight after that, I had to take a plane to come here early in the morning. Whenever they can bring 150 -- 250 people I come. Sometimes it's spiritually heavy because most of the participants are not members. I consider most of our events spiritual conditions. Wherever a good spiritual atmosphere exists, the event is smoothly carried out; it's very nice and successful. Where I feel a strong spiritual tension, however, it's very difficult to conduct these events.
The local WFWP leaders are aware of this and when they have an event, they offer many conditions, such as 120 bows a day and breakfast fasting for forty days. After setting up those conditions, they call me to come and conduct the event. I am always grateful for the conditions they set. 'Whenever I meet the members, I am moved to tears. I believe that because those members are there and have set up conditions, the Women's Federation is where it is today.