Unification News for June 1999

True Mother's Speech Australia

by Mark Andrew Burfield—Sydney, Australia

Preparations for True Mother's visit to Oceania as part of her World Speaking Tour began in February 1999. The initial plan was for Mother to speak at an afternoon event in the Sydney Town Hall. However, when we received unacceptable contract details from the Town Hall and detailed instructions from FFWPU International, we changed our plan, choosing instead for an evening event at the Sydney Hilton Hotel, which has the largest hotel ballroom. Suitable accommodation for Mother and her entourage was arranged at the nearby Hotel Nikko Darling Harbour.

As this was to be Mother's only speaking engagement in Oceania, it was decided to hold a Federation of Island Nations for World Peace (FINWP) Conference concurrently, thereby ensuring VIP representation from several of the South Pacific island nations. This idea worked successfully, whilst providing some logistical and staffing challenges.

The sisters commenced a forty days' condition of midnight prayer and bowing. Leaders did three day fasts and members did one day chain fasting. All families were encouraged to donate AUD,1200 to support Mother's visit, and the island nations contributed where possible.

As circumstances unfolded, Mother's visa was not approved until three weeks before her arrival, and at one stage there was even a contingency plan to move the event to New Zealand!

Just ten days prior to Mother's arrival, a devastating and unprecedented electrical hailstorm hit parts of Sydney. Giant hailstones smashed roofing, windows, cars, and other property causing over one billion dollars' worth of damage, but miraculously no loss of life.

Mother arrived in Sydney by private jet from Taiwan on Friday 23 April. She was escorted directly to the Hotel Nikko Darling Harbour in Sydney city, where Unification Family members greeted her around 11pm.

By 6am the next day, members, including National Messiahs and missionaries from all over Oceania, had gathered in Mother's room for Hoon Dok Hae. Mother explained how she is establishing the tradition of reading True Father's prayers at the start of Hoon Dok Hae. "Have you heard about this book of Father's prayers?" Mother asked. ("No," we replied). The books have been available in Korean and Japanese for about 2 years but English translation commenced just recently. So Mother urged us to study Korean in order to gain a deeper understanding of Father's heart and keep up with God's providence.

We couldn't respond affirmatively when Mother asked if we had heard about the successes of her US tour. "Aren't you a bit slow to hear news?" said Mother. We had not received the positive internet reports about Mother's tour. "Where have you been, in the 18th or 19th century?" said Mother. Rev Peter Kim explained that Mother feels God's providence is moving rapidly but we have been rather slow to catch up.

Rev Kim gave a report about Mother's world tour which has included 8 cities in Korea, 16 in Japan and 24 in the USA prior to her current 32 nation world tour. The main difference between this tour and previous speaking tours is that all the audience is invited to attend the victory celebration after Mother's speech. Rev Kim showed us a number of newspaper articles which show that the general attitude of the media has changed. They now generally produce objective reports without any of the prejudice of the previous era.

Australia was one of the first countries on Mother's 32 nation tour. She expressed her joy about the events in Taiwan and Malaysia. "What about Australia?" Mother asked. Rev Hyung Keun Kim, Oceania Continental Director, replied that the venue had a capacity for 700 people and Mother said that such a small number was "out of the question." We felt anxious because this was Mother's fourth visit to Australia since 1992 and we had previously struggled to bring even 400 people.

Rev Peter Kim read two of Father's prayers which mention our responsibility to resolve the grief of Heaven and to become children who fulfill our responsibility. By this point the whole room was filled with a feeling of repentance as brothers and sisters from the front to the back of the room shed tears. Rev Peter Kim could not continue reading and Rev Hyung Keun Kim took over. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he read the English translation of Father's prayer including Father's plea that Heavenly Father "help us to become children who do not throw back the mission."

A member of Mother's touring group commented later that it was the first time during this year's tour that he had witnessed such a scene of repentance and new determination. He said that this is the kind of heart which Mother looks for and she feels hope for the future when brothers and sisters repent for past failures and make heartfelt determination to fulfill their mission.

Mother's speech event in the Grand Ballroom of the Sydney Hilton Hotel began at 6.30pm with cultural performances by Chinese puppeteers, a German choir, and a Tongan dance group. To everyone’s great relief, the room was full ! Moreover, The Invocation was given by one of the FINWP Conference attendees, the only female ordained minister in the Solomon Islands. The inspiring song "Power of the Dream" was performed, and Mother was introduced by a Muslim Sheik before screening of the insightful and touching video. Mother received a standing ovation as she entered the ballroom, and also when she finished her speech. The audience remained very attentive and responsive throughout, clapping on several occasions.

Most of the audience stayed on for the victory celebration, including current and former government and religious leaders from all over Oceania who shared the stage with Mother. Father appeared on the two big screens linked via the internet and we were all impressed with Father and Mother's intimate sharing though physically separated by thousands of miles. They each cut three tier cakes simultaneously and the whole audience joined in as Father started chanting "chomp, chomp, chomp" when Mother tasted a small portion.. Father's group in Seoul and our group took turns to provide entertainment and we all joined in as Mother sang "Edelweiss."

An hour after Mother had finally left the room many were still around the stage singing and dancing, including some of the VIP group,. The spirit of True Parents brings peace and harmony beyond race and creed. We had heard reports of such events in other countries, and now it was happening in Sydney, the biggest city in Oceania, which is also preparing to host the Olympic Games next year.

At the 5am Pledge Service the next morning, Mother was happy. One brother commented that this day, Sunday 25 April, was ANZAC ("Australia and New Zealand Army Corps") Day - commemorating the loss of many thousands of lives during the World Wars and other wars by people of this region. We could sense that the victory of True Parent's lives in general, and Mother's visit at this time in particular, was now able to provide some comfort and vindication for their ultimate sacrifice.

Mother departed from the hotel at 7am and flew off to the Philippines. That evening, leaders, missionaries and elder Blessed couples gathered for a two-day Workshop at the William Arnott Lodge, Elanora Heights (about 20km north of Sydney). Through the testimonies that were shared, we could recognize the tremendous grace and blessing that had been bestowed on Oceania by the presence of our True Mother. There was a deep spirit of repentance and forgiveness, and a new determination to unite with Mother's desire that we fulfill our mission and "make a new life, completely different from last year and before."

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