The Words of the Bismark Family
The Unification Church members leading the March for Christ through the streets of Monrovia.
Liberia, a country in the southern part of West Africa, has close ties with the United States, since it was founded by freed American slaves. Most of the churches in Liberia also have their roots in the United States. Yet unfortunately, because the churches have received so much misinformation about us from America, our church in Liberia has suffered many attacks.
Last October, a Christian group called The Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International openly attacked our church, along with eight other religious groups, saying that we were not Christians, but instruments of Satan, and that they would see to our elimination from the country. They made this statement on national TV, on an "anti-cult" program they began to air every Friday at 10:00 pm. They planned to "tear apart" a different group every week. At the end of the second show, they announced that their next target would be the Unification Church. Three days later the Minister of Information appeared on national TV and warned this group and barred them from continuing to air their program. So in the end we were rescued. Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways!
Long before this time, we had been praying about how our movement might associate more with other Christians in Liberia. We wrote official letters to some of the other churches, inviting them to share their view and our view of the Bible, yet they always refused. However, God, once again, worked in a mysterious way.
The signboard made by the Minister of Information.
In December of 1987, an announcement was sent out to the churches that all Christians should gather in front of Centennial Pavilion on December 25 to march for Christ along the principal streets of Monrovia, the capital. We did not receive an official invitation to take part and did not hear about it until the night of December 24. Our national leader, Mr. Myung Young Kim, gave us the go-ahead without hesitation. The march was to start at 9:00 o'clock Christmas morning. One interesting thing about this march -- we found out it was being organized by the same Christians who had claimed our church was not a true church and should be eliminated!
Before 9:00 am, we were already there, holding up a signboard inscribed with "The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity." The organizers themselves were not there on time. Around 9:10, the Minister of Information, who was supporting this event, arrived with two banners he had made -- one with a beautiful picture of Jesus and the other with the inscription "Christ Is the Answer." By 9:20 the Unification Church was the only church ready with signboards and enough people to kick off the march.
The Liberian church leader, Mr. Myung Young Kim, at the front of the march
We were then called to lead the march with our signboard right behind that of the Minister of Information. Everywhere we passed, the crowd was looking at us as if we, the Unification Church, had organized the march. This was incredible, because the motive and the purpose of the march was to gather all believers together in order to establish a base to unite as one body under God. Most of the churches who came later didn't have any banners and had to go behind us. In addition to this, our dynamic central figure, Mr. Kim, marched at the front of the line next to the top government officials and ministers who were taking part in the march. At Capitol Hill, we offered a fervent prayer for the nation and the world as a whole.
The march ended at the Monrovia City Hall with a Christmas message given by Bishop Alfred G. Reeves. The key point of his message was the need for Christians to prepare for Christ's coming. He also stressed that Christ is coming not as a minority leader, but the leader of all mankind.
At the Monrovia City Hall, Mr. Kim sits with the Minister of Information and other government officials to listen to the Christmas message.
Before the bishop's message, the march coordinator explained the obstacles they had encountered in making the program a success. He began mentioning the names of those who had donated funds towards the program. Right away, Mr. Kim wrote the name of our church on a piece of paper and donated $40.00. The coordinator, without hesitating, started reading off the amount without first looking to see where it was coming from. He announced to the crowd, "Someone has made another donation -- $40.00. Let's see who it's from... the Unification Church of Liberia!" You could see the shock in his eyes. You could see he was happy with the money but not with where it was coming from. However, he could not reject it because we had already been given applause. At that point they were, in a sense, forced to accept us. At the end of the program I saw one of the top religious leaders embracing Mr. Kim. I felt it was like the meeting of Esau and Jacob.
The following day, I met some of the same Christians who had formerly opposed our church. Their attitude had changed completely. I remember how Father has always said, "We should not run away from problems but confront and overcome them!" At long last we were victorious. Of course, this is not the end. We hope to join with the other Christian churches in Liberia at every opportunity, especially this year -- 1988.