Alejandro de Souza served as True Parents’ Spanish and Portuguese interpreter in South and Central America for five years during the 1990s. During this time, he traveled with them day in, day out, attending them from morning to evening—sometimes with no other staff members present. He helped them in many aspects of their providential work. Alejandro is originally from Argentina and lived in Korea for more than seven years, during which time he focused on mastering Korean. He gave the following interview to Today’s World magazine early in 2010.
This is part 2 of a 3-part testimony. If you wish to read part one, please click here.
Even though people knew Father’s teaching was different from what they are used to, still they had the heart to welcome True Parents.
Yes. Because religion there is not such a popular thing. Maybe the leaders of the Catholic Church are not happy with Father there, but generally the people don’t mind religious differences—especially in Brazil where you have all kinds of religions.
Did you do other types of work for Father and Mother, other than interpreting?
Oh, yes. Basically, I spent most of five years attending them from morning to evening, until they went to take their short rest. My wife too. We didn’t have children then, so my wife, who understands Korean, could attend them at the table and in their room. My wife is Japanese. When I got blessed I didn’t feel like studying Japanese, so I just started to talk with her in Korean all the time. “If you don’t understand something, look in the dictionary.” I had that kind of spirit. [Alejandro laughs] So she learned Korean. And she even had opportunities to interpret from Japanese for Mother when Japanese members were called to go down to Jardim, years later.
I had to assist with the fishing also. Fishing is a very tough condition. It is not enjoyable. When we settled at the New Hope Farm, and Father was fishing all day long as a condition and making prayer conditions for the South American and the world providence, insects would bite him. More than a year later he said these bites were still itching a lot! Father was amazed that after one year…. But he was happy there!
Basically I have loved fishing since I was a child, but one long day of fishing is enough for me. You get exhausted with the sun reflecting off the river or the ocean. It was too hot for the body—50 degrees under the strong sun, day after day, sometimes for two months continuously. Father was setting strong conditions.
I was there all the time because I had to help with the bags, the rods, the hooks—everything. And if Father needed something, I had to be there to interpret.
I hope I am not misunderstood when I say this: Living in Korea you find that between the president of a company and those who work under him there is a kind of gap. Usually they don’t allow others to see how they really live or who they really are, and they keep you at a distance, and you respect them from a distance. And I understand the era of the Korean kings it was also something like that. So although I was sure that True Parents are who they are, somehow I wondered, “What if, seeing their lives from the inside, from morning to night, I feel some disappointment?”
But it had just the opposite effect. I found that if you love Father and if you respect him, and you see how he really lives, you will love him more than ever and respect him more than ever. He is the most divine human being, and the most human divine being. That is what I strongly felt.
What kind of relationship did you have with True Parents? Could you express yourself honestly to them?
I was honest with them all the time. Especially because I was free from the way that an oriental had to relate with True Parents. And since I always felt very close to them—closer than to my natural parents, even—sometimes I acted in a way that a Korean would not. Just as when I would relate with my own parents, if I had a question, I would ask it. If I wanted to make a comment on a soccer game, I would do so. And they would be very nice to me.
They were so concerned about our not being able to have children. Whenever they came to South America, I felt that Father felt sorry. He was worried that we didn’t have children, but that we had to attend them, and we didn’t have room to sleep together as a couple. And you could see this strong concern in him, as if he were thinking, “It is because of me that he cannot sleep with his wife.”
I got that feeling many times. Whenever he came to South America, the first question he asked me was, “Is there any news about a baby?” I would say, “No.” He would say, “You have to do what you have to do!” I remember once he strongly said, “You have to play your role as a man and it will work.”
I told Father, “I know if I were more religious and I knelt down and prayed and made more conditions, I might have results already, but it is not in my character to do that.” Father replied, “What conditions? What kneeling down to pray? God gave you everything you need to make a child. Do you want God to make one for you? Work at it!” That was very interesting!
Many times I felt they loved us as parents. For example, Father would tell me, “It is useless that you go around with me, all day long, day after day, month after month, year after year, interpreting my speeches. If you don’t have a child, you will never know what God feels for each human being. Religion, faith will not help. You have to have a child to understand what God feels for you and for everybody.” That moved me very much.
Somehow, I related freely with Father. Later, when the main leaders came and Father already had quite a foundation in Jardim to bring them and was starting special conditions, some elder brothers were worried that I was impolite to True Parents. Because they think that if Father doesn’t speak to you, you should not speak to him. Yet I always felt free. Even at the beginning I dared to interrupt Father’s speeches because I wanted to give 100 percent of his message to everyone.
You would stop him in mid-sentence?
Yes, I would say, Sorry, Father…., and he would kindly tell me what he had said again. Because sometimes he turned his head and spoke, and I couldn’t hear what he’d said well. Later, leaders told me “Don’t ask or interrupt him. Just keep going.” But it was my character.
Was that a problem for Father?
Not at the beginning. But years later when he was carrying out the providence in Uruguay with religious leaders—Catholic, Protestant, all parts of society—in speaking to them, he was so anxious to share all that he had, he would tell me to use an interpretation booth and stay there, rather than having to wait until I had finished interpreting what he had said into Spanish. “Get out of here and go up there!” he would say!
Can you say something in particular about your personal experience with True Mother?
Well, of course, when I talk about Father, I am talking about True Parents in the same way. It’s amazing, the love they have for everyone and the interest they showed in every single member there. For example, for Father to do his conditions, we had a lot of members in Brazil attending and serving in many ways. Father and Mother were concerned for each and every one of them. You don’t see Mother looking at you or at someone else, but after a couple of days you find out that she knows the names all the members there and she cares about their living conditions, their well-being. Or when she goes shopping, she will not just buy things for themselves but for all the members who are around them. She has their names in her mind and the size of the item [of clothing] she will buy for them. She is just a natural mother—a natural true mother.