Testimony by Wolfgang Schawaller
21 years foreign missionary
Born in Frankfurt a. M., Deutschland, on 14-01-1951. German citizen.
Joined the Unification Movement in Frankfurt a. M., October 1974.
Spiritual Father: Udo Frisch, later adopted by Paul Werner.
Blessing Marriage with Brigitte (née Breit) in Seoul, October 1982. Four children.
„ I can see clearly how I have been guided by God.“
1) Family Background and Childhood
As a kid I grew up in Frankfurt, Germany, in the 1950ies. Near our home there was a very busy street, and many American soldiers, who were stationed in Germany since the end of World War II, passed by in their big trucks and often gave us German kids chocolate and chewing gum. We then saluted the soldiers and they saluted back. I still remember this.
I grew up with my parents and siblings in a ruinous house in Frankfurt. It was in such a very poor condition that I often felt sick. My father worked in a mine and my mother was cleaning in public buildings. They earned very little money and we just barely survived. Around 1955 we moved into a two bedroom apartment (50m2) for refugees. There were times we sat in the kitchen without having electric light and we had to use candles instead. As my parents couldn’t pay the bills, the electricity was cut off.
Often I ate dry bread because my parents had no money to buy food for us children. When I was eight years old I worked on a farm in autumn. After the school day ended, I and other school children picked potatoes on large potato farms. We got a little money and some food from the farmer we worked for. Often I gave the money to my parents. As a young teenager I did many manual jobs to earn my own money.
My mother was a rather religious person, and I think this is why I could eventually join the Unification Church. Her ancestral merit was transferred to me and the spirit world must have guided me very much in my youth to join the Lord of the Second Advent, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Today, after looking back in my life, I can see clearly how I have been guided by God.
My Father was a very righteous man. When my older brother died in 1970 due to an illness, my Father lost faith in God because his son who was only 24 years old was taken from him. My parent’s youth had not been easy and I understood much later when I joined the Unification Church how much suffering they have gone through in all those times.
2) Youth and First Contact with the Unification Church
In the years before I joined the movement I got interested in spiritual matters. I started reading the Bible and other religious scriptures. I met different religious groups and I wanted to find true friends and live in a true community, and I wanted to be helpful to others. (Before my spiritual quest I was considering to become a social worker.)
My desire was always to live in a foreign country away from Germany, which eventually became true after I joined the movement. I could always feel God’s presence in nature, but I didn’t know it was God at that time. He gave me strength and guidance all the time. I received a lot of protection and it was my ancestors who helped me to get on the right track. I met different types of people, as I was searching about life on my own and in this way I came across religious people too. Some of my friends got involved in taking drugs. I was scared of taking such a path and so I looked for other friends and finally I met the Unification Church in 1973. Immediately I felt that this is the right group of people to which I wanted to belong.
I was approached by Udo Frisch in the street “Auf der Zeil” in Frankfurt, end of August or beginning of September 1973. He invited me to the center in “Hochstraße”, where I listened to several lectures in the evenings. As I had to sort out some personal matters, I cut off contacts to the Unification Church. About one year later, on the 26th of October 1974, I suddenly appeared at the center and said: “I want to join your movement.”
Initially I felt more inspired by the members than the teaching itself. However, when I heard the Divine Principle lecture on the spirit world, I felt very relieved to know that there is eternal life. I was scared about death and that everything would be over the moment one dies. It took me some time to understand the meaning of the Messiah and his purpose for coming to the fallen world. But I was attracted emotionally to the True Parents and I promised to follow them, which until today I have never regretted. When I look back on my life, accepting the Divine Principle and following the True Parents was the best decision I could ever make.
3) Community Life and Mission
After officially joining the movement in Frankfurt I attended a 21-day workshop in Camberg and was then sent to the center in Munich where we lived with a strict schedule of studying the Divine Principle in the mornings and witnessing in the afternoons. Every weekend I drove our guests to Camberg. I was rather successful at witnessing and every weekend I brought one or two new guests. Among my spiritual children are Manfred Schmidt, Hans Ulding and Ulla Stöcklein.
After being in the Unification Church in Germany for six months, I volunteered to become a foreign missionary. In 1975 True Father gave orders that missionaries from the three providential countries Japan, USA and Germany be sent to 120 nations in order to spread the new message of truth, the Divine Principle, to the whole world. Thus, I was dispatched as a missionary in April 1975 together with two others from Japan und USA and sent to Hong Kong (until December 1975). I was lucky to be in that group.
I later served as a missionary in many other countries: Thailand (January 1976 – May 1976), India (May 1976 – June 1979), Nepal (1980), Afghanistan (June 1979 – January 1981), Yemen (November 1980 – June 1981), Bahrain (1981), Cyprus (August 1981 – September 1982), Greece (October 1982 – December 1992), South Africa (June 1991) and Russia (December 1992 – August 1996). I completed 21 years foreign mission on God’s Day (January 1) of 1996. True Parents gave awards to all the foreign missionaries who completed 21 years of mission during a special ceremony in the New Yorker Hotel.
4) Engagement, Marriage Blessing and a Special Episode
After I joined the Unification Church I longed to get blessed in holy matrimony by the True Parents. I was matched by picture in the end of 1979 while I was missionary in Yemen. I’m thankful to God and True Parents who gave me Brigitte (née Breit) from Austria as my wonderful spouse. We attended the Blessing in Korea, on the 14th of October 1982. Today we have four wonderful and beautiful children, two boys and two girls.
In June 1996 my wife and I attended a 40-Day workshop in Cheong Pyeong, Korea, with Dae Mo Nim and Heung Jin Nim. It was a great gift and grace for both of us and our four children. I also believe that our ancestors in spirit world and our tribe living on earth will receive great blessings from our sacrifice. In Cheong Pyeong I received the mission as National Messiah for the Philippines. So far, I was there six times. I love the Philippines! It is a country where I feel at home.
After the 40 days Cheong Pyeong workshop in Korea, I almost lost my whole family in a fatal car accident in Poland after we left our mission country Russia to return to Austria. It was a miracle that every member of my family survived. One passenger (not a member) who was sitting beside my wife got instantly killed and the other passenger got seriously injured too. One of our boys was thrown out of the car and flew 25 meters over the motorway and fell into a bush. The van also started burning. My daughter Eleonora, who was only four years old at that time, got seriously injured and fell into a coma. My wife and I thought she would not survive it. I saw my four-year-old daughter lying unconsciously and struggling to survive with life-saving instruments. I felt so much pain, that I might lose her that I had to cry.
I contacted Dae Mo Nim in Korea. She ordered many good angels to help my daughter to survive and after three days Eleonora woke up from her coma. (The doctors at the hospital told me after she recovered that they never expected her to survive.) Later I found out that Dae Mo Nim had sent good angels to help my daughter to survive. When I asked her what she had experienced in her coma she said: “I have seen strong lights all the time.” I believe that the angels must have performed surgery on her injured organs, and that was why my daughter could recover.
We are very grateful to God, True Parents, Dae Mo Nim and Heung Jin Nim. We really saw with our own eyes how this grace and miracle happened in our family.