The Words of the Zaduski Family
The history of the Brazilian Unification Church effectively began in February of 1973 with the arrival of Mr. Paul J. Perry, who began to lay the first base of the church in Rio de Janeiro.
As we know, the beginning is always difficult, and it was not without sacrifices that Paul (Paulo to us) won those who became the first real members of HSA-UWC in Brazil.
He is the one who can best describe the details of the initial phase, because I myself joined the church much later, in July 1976; but the testimonies which I have heard from those who lived through the beginning of the church fill me with pride for the foundation of suffering upon which we stand and which gives us promise for the future.
It could be said that the arrival of the Japanese missionaries and Mr. Hyung Tae Kim marked a new beginning in the history of the Unification Church of Brazil; with the beginning of their work, the church took root and acquired the strength to grow and flourish.
The Japanese missionaries (Mr. Toru Nishiwaki and Mr. Koji Ozeki) and Mr. Hyung Tae Kim arrived in Brazil around the middle of 1975, beginning their work in Sao Paulo. Through his personal efforts, Mr. Kim rented a house at the end of 1975, gathered together the missionaries and members, and officially began the Unification Church of Brazil on November 23, 1975.
In December 1975, the first seven-day workshop was held, and the first three internal members came from that. New members (among them my wife) also came from a second 21-day workshop in July 1976, and in the following months more members joined, so that by the end of 1976 we numbered approximately 15 internal members. By the end of 1977 the total reached 123, and so on until by now our internal and external members total about 3,000.
In the past few months I have been in New York attending a 120-day workshop, and perhaps here I have been able to understand better the Brazilian church, because upon becoming aware of and comparing the situations and structures of our church in other countries, I could see clearly the virtues and deficiencies of the Brazilian church.
Curious about the key to our progress, many people have asked me about the secret of the rapid growth of the Brazilian family. In my view, three basic factors contributed to the growth of the Brazilian family; I will try to explain them as I understand them:
1. The providence of God in relation to the work in our country;
2. The excellent work of Rev. Hyung Tae Kim; and
3. The favorable spiritual environment in Brazil.
In the first place, through our Father's talks, we know that South America is being prepared by God to play a great role; just as God is working rapidly to restore South America, it is logical that we also work to try to reclaim this part of the globe. Thus God has been able to win many battles. Because of the urgency of divine providence, Brazil, which represents half of South America in territory and population, received the benefit of the appropriate time, and with the assistance of our True Father, God could work in Brazil almost without hindrance.
Secondly, it could be said that Rev. Kim is the right man in the right place. I speak this from my heart, because he was able to understand the nature of the Brazilian people, and by his living example of the Divine Principle -- more through practice than theory -- he surely set us on the path of heavenly tradition and the love of our True Parents.
One example shows the character of Rev. Kim. His first daughter was born in a charity hospital under quite difficult conditions, because Rev. Kim never allowed public money to be spent on personal problems, beginning with him and his family, who live in one room of our headquarters. We could surely find a house for him and his family, but he insists on living with the members.
Whatever conditions he sets for us, he himself has fulfilled on a larger scale before asking us to do them; for example, if he requests us to fast one day, he himself would have previously fasted three days.
So for the Brazilian members, meeting our Father for the first time never produces any big surprises, simply because through Rev. Kim we have already obtained a good idea about the kind of person our Father is; thus, the Brazilian church feels much gratitude towards Rev. Kim for his education and example. Perhaps his greatest secret is his constant striving to follow the steps and direction of our Father with the greatest precision.
Thirdly, without a doubt, the spiritual state of Brazil also contributed to our growth. In general, Brazilian people are quite peaceful and religious. We cannot pride ourselves on our cultural or economic attainments, but one thing that must be admitted about the Brazilians is that they are a humble people and almost always amiable and hospitable. If this statement is difficult to believe coming from a Brazilian, ask someone who has already visited Brazil to verify it.
Brazil is a country of traditional Catholic education (although I know well that the Catholic Church in Brazil is changing radically); the people are quite emotional and, as a consequence, are much attracted to mysticism and spiritualism. Various types of mystical beliefs have considerable influence among the populace in general, principally among the lower classes.
With the diminishing spiritual force of the Catholic church, many other Christian and oriental religions have achieved enormous growth in Brazil; some of them have even moved their world headquarters to Brazil, in order to find greater receptivity for their way of thinking. A few of the most popular groups are: Yoga, Mormons, Seikonoje, the Messianic Church, Baptists, Methodists, and Assembly of God. This climate of searching for answers among other forms of religion also helps the growth of the Unification Church.
Approximately 3,000 active members are scattered throughout 80 principal cities of the country. The churches in each state function with a certain amount of self-sufficiency.
At least two 40-day and four 21-day workshops are offered each year at our headquarters; periodically, there are 21-day workshops in each region (composed of several states) and, of course, innumerable 7-day and 3-day workshops. In Sao Paulo at present, some hundreds of people attend the 7-day workshop each month.
The content of these workshops is quite intense, allowing almost no time for rest. In two days, the guest receives almost all the contents of the Principle of Creation; Fall; Purpose of the Coming of the Messiah; the Last Days; the Providence of Restoration; the Families of Adam, Noah and Abraham; the Providence of Restoration centered on Jesus; and the Historical Parallels. In seven days, the guest hears the Divine Principle two times, first in theoretical terms (the first four days) and afterwards in practical terms (the last three days). Ordinarily, for the 7-day workshop the people stay in the center throughout the seven days and follow a schedule beginning at 6:00 a.m. and ending at 10:00 p.m. But there are also special workshops for those who cannot attend during the week, held on two Saturdays, two Sundays, and the weeknights between, in which time all the contents of the Divine Principle are presented. In the 40-day workshop, the Divine Principle, Unification Thought and VOC (Victory Over Communism) are taught.
On the economic side, we have a ginseng business, a clothing factory, an editing and design business, various boutiques in different states, a rabbit farm with more than 1,000 rabbits, two import/export businesses, various small businesses in different states -- all working for material restoration and to achieve physical and moral goals.
We have a registered and fully functioning Unification Church and AMASA (the Brazilian version of IRFF), and both are recognized as non-profit organizations by the government; in addition, we have set up the equivalents of the International Cultural Foundation, the Freedom Leadership Foundation, and an international association for the union of religions. Plans call for more organizations in the future.
We know that in Brazil we are experiencing more than anything else the fruit of God's blessing, the love of the True Parents and the dedication and experience of our elder brothers and sisters.
We recognize that what we have is not enough to be able to attain even the most minimal objectives of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; still, we are confident that inasmuch as we can maintain unity through love and the spirit of cooperation, centered on God through His representatives, we have the necessary conditions to carry out our relentless march until the final victory is attained.
Lest whoever reads this article thinks that everything is fine and perfect in the Brazilian family, I want to explain that we have many errors and are ashamed of them. At the least, however, we wish to share what God has permitted us to establish, and perhaps in some way it can inspire our brothers and sisters who are living for the same purpose as we do.