The Words of the McLackand Family
At left: David Ang, the national leader; and David and Ursula McLackland with Divine Principle seminar graduates
Mrs. Ursula McLackland, though born in Germany, has made Asia her home for the past thirty-six years. Ever-willing to take up new challenges (the secret to staying young) she has recently settled in Indonesia. We asked her about this change.
Question: How did you come to be assigned to Indonesia after seemingly being the pillar of the Indian subcontinent for so long?
Knowing True Parents' deep concern for Indonesia, Dr. Yong, president of the Asia region, has been praying for the Indonesian providence. Surprisingly, my face appeared in his prayer. He had a vision that I should go there as a missionary. He later said he had never thought of sending me there, and neither had I expected it. My mission here as the mother figure is to bring our Indonesian blessed families together and revive our Indonesian movement.
Question: This must have been a huge change for you.
Actually, I realize that all my previous missions in Asia have been preparation for our work in Indonesia. The country, the culture, the language and the people have all the elements of Thailand, India and Bahrain, the three major nations I spent the last thirty-six years of my life in. Nothing shocks or surprises me; I often feel déjà vu. I have been prepared for this.
Question: Indonesia has the highest Muslim population of any nation, and it is also a democracy. How do these two factors determine what the Unification movement can do there?
Only after coming here did I begin to understand why True Father places so much emphasis on Indonesia. It is a unique Muslim country, not only because it is the most populous but also the most inter-religious and intercultural. Generally, Muslims and Christians live together in harmony. In many families, father and mother, brother and sister practice different religions; they might be Muslims or Christians, sometimes Buddhists or Confucians but they do not fight about religion in the family. Though there is concern about growing intolerance and sporadic clashes among the adherents of different faiths, the Indonesian constitution guarantees religious freedom and we are able to openly teach the Divine Principle here. Most of our members come from a Christian background as it is easier for them to understand and accept True Parents as the Messiah.
Question: What's the state of the church there now and what gives you hope for development?
We have quite a number of faithful members and blessed families whose love for True Parents never abated even though there was no center in Indonesia for many years. Now that we have opened a new center in the heart of Jakarta, the capital city, and have the full support of all nations in our region, our members are coming back one by one.
We began by conducting an Original Divine Principle workshop for them over three weekends in July and August. The ODP workshop never fails; invariably Heaven's blessings pour down wherever we conduct one. Our experience in Indonesia was no exception. Since then, our blessed families have been the core of the Indonesian revival. We are now conducting regular Sunday services, weekend workshops and marriage and family seminars. We started Sunday school for the blessed children and all our blessed families took part in the Cosmic Blessing Ceremony on October 10. Members from the Asian Leadership Training (ALT) program worked with us for six weeks. They focused on witnessing to students from schools and colleges. Our center is within walking distance of four universities or colleges. The Indonesian spirit world is very active, and with united effort, I believe we can bring success.
Question: Is the ODP workshop your main thrust at the moment?
Our first effort has been to build a healthy three-generation church, centering on the existing blessed couples. The ODP workshop gives our members complete spiritual rebirth. Since we missionaries are not so young anymore, I deeply appreciate the help from ALT to bring young people, an element that has been missing so far. We are also eagerly awaiting a Tongil Moodo instructor from the Philippines because martial arts is an excellent way to explain our principles to young people, particularly the Muslims. Another excellent way to build a stable foundation in a Muslim nation like Indonesia is our character education program in high schools and universities. Besides these efforts, we have resumed weekly UPF meetings with our ambassadors for peace and started combined seminars and appointment ceremonies for them. Based on these, we have been able to reconstitute our UPF-Indonesia committee and will hold an interfaith seminar in collaboration with the UN in Jakarta on January 27, 2011. Step by step, we are educating young and old to a level of understanding that they can join our ODP workshops in the future.
Question: Even though we didn't have much of presence in Indonesia, the late president Wahid had a genuine appreciation for Father's work.
Actually President Wahid's wife and four daughters love True Parents and are always ready to work with us. In fact, we held the Legacy of Peace program in the Wahid Institute with President Wahid's wife Sinta Nuriyah and their daughter Yenny as the chief guests. They see that President Wahid and True Father's vision for world peace are very similar and want to continue this relationship. I was also amazed to see how much our Indonesian peace ambassadors love True Parents and recognize their special mission in God's providence.
In our orientation, we learned about Indonesia and how we would approach outreach there.
The first day was very exciting. At the same time, I felt a bit nervous about facing people. An older Indonesian sister was in charge and brought us to a private university to meet the students. Our clothes were not so presentable, but I reminded myself that you move a person's heart more through internal investment than external work.
A teacher at the university gave us the chance to introduce ourselves to some of the students, which for us was a witnessing opportunity. The students were very kind and began to speak about their situations and problems in life. I felt comforted when one of them offered to sing a song and sang very well. We inspired the students and they recommended we talk to the dean of communications. After we spoke with him briefly, he responded well and let us give a character development presentation to those students. I felt that God was always guiding us.
In the following days our ALT team went back to the university, where Mrs. Amala Mclackland, the regional UPF secretary-general, gave presentations on character education. All the students looked inspired. After that, we met the dean again, who realized that they need UPF to educate their students. I'm grateful that over the next year the students will be exposed to and learn Unificationist principles.
Every day for us is very precious because we have the desire to revive Indonesia, and even the Indonesian members, who are longing for True Parents' love and God's love. Although people sometimes did not keep their appointments, I felt so much excitement meeting many people every day.
All of us feel sad when we don't have a guest, but instead of sitting down, we go out and double our efforts to bring people; we never give up. We pray for the Indonesian people to see the light of goodness, which is True Parents. In the end, my heart was comforted because more and more people were coming. I felt as if I were in heaven. It's true that if you inspire others, you will gain more inspiration in return. I feel God's desire. When people are coming, it seems God is also comforted and happy because the young people give Him joy.
While in the airplane, I felt blessed that God had allowed me to travel to Indonesia on a mission, so I set loving Indonesia and proclaiming that True Parents are the Messiah as my internal goal. Giving life to people by bringing full-time spiritual children was my external goal.
While doing outreach at the university, I enjoyed giving inspiration to the students. I felt their ancestors longed for liberation. In day-to-day witnessing, I can say it is easy to give life to people but it is hard to encourage them to stay, especially because most Indonesians are Muslims. I'm happy that Hilman always came to the center because he was so interested in the lectures. I was especially happy that Dhika and Juris accepted the Messiah, that they learned the Principle and now know True Parents. Through this, I felt the heart of a mother. I learned how to take care of and inspire others. I'm grateful for this training because I know it is preparation for my future.
I'm grateful for this brief experience because I met the Indonesian people and encountered their culture and heart.