By Rosemarie Leja
Germany – August 2016
In the very early days of our Unification Church in Korea, Father told the members that many foreigners would come one day to Korea. It was hard for them to believe that and yet at this moment they saw it come true. I remember one elderly lady. She grasped my arm and did not leave my side the whole day. Sometimes she would dance in front of me. Her happiness was so real and authentic. At that time we traveled from city to city to invite the people for the Day of Hope-Festivals. Whenever we got off the bus after having arrived in a new city, the Koreans stood in line to welcome us. There was so much joy and excitement. Elderly ladies touched our hair and our faces. Some of them literally saw foreign people for the first time in their lives. They really made us feel so welcome. In every city Korean members worked hard to provide delicious meals for us. In one of the cities Rev. Vincenz, who led our team told us to fast for one day. The Korean ladies especially were a bit upset, because they wanted to spoil us with good food. Their love was tangible and real.
Again Father talked about this tour back in 1977: “Starting from Pusan, I began a crusade of all the major cities. It was the first time I ever spoke publicly to the Korean people. In Pusan, Teagu, Taejun, Seoul and in every city there was a showdown. The IOWC recalls it very well. But it was a landslide victory. The people came like clouds.” (February 23rd, 1977)
After the Day of Hope tour was finished we were scheduled to go back to Japan. But Father had other plans. He called us all to Cheong Pyeong Lake. At that time there was only one church building. We gathered tightly around True Parents. First there was a victory celebration and cake cutting for the completed Day of Hope-Tour and then we were treated to roasted chicken. I still recall this day so vividly. I sat about 5 meters away from True Parents. There was this deep bond with True Parents. True Parents loved us like their own sons and daughters.
At that time the situation in Korea was highly dangerous. The possibility of North Korea attacking South Korea was high. Father was desperate. So he planned a big rally at the Yoido Plaza and we were called to invite the people from Seoul and from around Korea.
After meeting with True Parents at Cheong Pyeong Lake we went straight to the Su Taek Ri training center. It was where we lived for the entire campaign. And again the Korean family did everything to care very well for us. One thing I remember in particular: Father had ordered that we be given western coffee every morning. It was so delicious. We had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and leave by 5 o’clock. So Father wanted to support us and make it easier for us by providing this wonderful coffee. That touched my heart deeply.
So we were out on the streets of Seoul inviting the Korean people. June 7th, the day of the event came. People came streaming in from all corners of Seoul and other Korean cities. I would gaze at the multitudes, many dressed in white. It was just an unbelievable experience. The Global Team sat in front. The girls had costumes (specially made for this day) in 4 different colors. We were True Parentsʼ special task force and were cheering while Father delivered his powerful message. It was such a momentous Rally.
And these are Father’s words about this historic Rally: “Upon the foundation of the spiritual victory in the Western world, I could win a physical victory in Korea, which was culminated in the June 7 Rally for Korean Freedom. There were 1.2 million people gathered together, as well as representatives from 60 nations all over the world…. Koreans came and praised my success. They lifted me up in the greatest Rally ever held. When the 1.2 million people cheered me, it was a national cheer.” (February 23rd, 1977)
Soon after this glorious day, we left for Japan. We stayed there for several month until the end of 1975, witnessing to Japanese young people. Many of them joined our church that time.
In December 1975 the global team activities in Japan and Korea came to a close and we all re-turned home to our respective countries.
It was not easy to „land“ after such tremendous and great experiences in the East. Many of us struggled to find our way and to continue our mission in Europe.
After spending a short time with my parents and in Camberg (our German training center) I was assigned with many others to go to France. I stayed in Lyon, where we started to do mission work. At that time there was a lot of persecution. There was so much hostility towards us. It culminated in one of our centers in Paris (Villa Aublet) being bombed. One sister was seriously injured. It was such a shock.
I remember this time in France very well. As I said, I was living in the center of Lyon, when the bombing occurred. After we heard the news, brothers and sisters from our center did a prayer condition for 3 hours and we all remained standing for this entire time. Then we all went to Paris for a demonstration to defend True Parents (see the picture). The atmosphere in France was very hostile at this time. We felt it every day. One day I was fundraising with a Dutch brother, when the people in the town found out we were “Moonies”. A bunch of aggressive young people created a circle around us and to this day I don’t remember, how we escaped. It must have been the mighty hand of God.
We received many phone calls with bomb threats and I still remember quite a few times, just falling asleep in my sleeping bag, when I heard stones thrown against our window shutters. Brothers got beaten up frequently. One day one brother and I were fundraising with our newspaper “Le Nouvel Espoir“, when one enraged man took them all and scattered them all over the staircase. Facing such anger was quite a fearful experience. Yet God was with us and protected us in these countless dangerous situations.
A few months later, while fundraising in France, I could feel how the spirit was much more relaxed and peaceful. The period of this intense persecution seemed to have passed.
My mission for the next two years was fundraising in several European countries, mostly in France, Italy, Belgium and Holland.
In 1978 many of us made our way to London, England. On the 21st of May I was blessed in marriage by True Parents. True Mother had just given birth, so she was represented by Ye Jin Nim.
What a great and awesome moment! We were a small group of 118 couples. Father told us that this Blessing was for the unity of Europe. My husband is German with a Polish background and as I am writing this we have been together now for 38 years, and will soon celebrate our 40th anniversary. We have two grown-up children and two grandchildren. We feel truly blessed. We went through good times and rough times and our Heavenly Parent guided us through all these experiences.
To conclude my little testimony, I just want to express my deep gratitude towards God – our Heavenly Parent, towards True Parents – our Lord and Savior, towards all the brothers and sisters and towards my own family.
- Rosemarie and her husband Karl are both from Germany. They were blessed in 1978 in the Blessing of 118 couples.