Former Prime Minister Tursunbek Chyngshev Welcomes Mother Moon in Kyrgyzstan
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, UPF Secretary General
June 17, 2006
Mother Moon arrived in Bishkek midday on June 17, a beautiful, bright, sunny day. The drive from the airport to the capital is spectacular as the flat Kazakh steppe that is so rich and fertile meets the snow-capped Tien Shan mountains that rise abruptly and fully visible on this clear day. Because of such scenery, Kyrgyzstan is called “the Switzerland of Central Asia.”
Kyrgyzstan has the second largest alpine lake in the world, Issyk-Kul, situated at 1609 meters above sea level. Its 6300 square kilometers are fed by 180 rivers and streams. The ruins of a Nestorian Christian monastery date back to the tenth century. There is one 3000-year-old-city, Osh. A center of trade on the “Silk Road,” Kyrgyzstan became a confluence of Buddhist, Christian and Muslim cultures.
At the airport Mother Moon and her party were welcomed by the former prime minister and hosted at the state guest house.
Visa complications hindered travel to Kazakstan and Uzbekistan, allowing time for rest and sightseeing. Hyun Jin, Jun Sook, and Yeon Jin Nim spent time looking around Bishkek. With Mother Moon, they drove into the nearby mountains that surround Bishkek, taking in the pure air and seeing the fresh, mountain streams. As they were walking up the trail, when Hyun Jin noticed a sign of weariness in Mother Moon, he carried her for a while on his back. Such a gesture of love and attendance moved everyone present.
The main event the following day was held in a beautiful opera house in the center of Bishkek. The large, grand stage was decorated beautifully for the event. A string orchestra and three vocalists performed classical Kyrgyz songs for the audience of 700 people. Former Prime Minister Tursunbek Chyngshev gave welcoming remarks. Mother Moon and Hyun Jin delivered their messages with elegance, beauty and power.
The president and first lady were traveling and could not be present, but they sent warm greetings to Mother Moon. The audience included government ministers, the vice mayor, provincial governors, scholars, and other leading figures in society.
One official approached Dr. Joon Ho Seuk, regional director for UPF-Eurasia, and spoke of being deeply moved by Father and Mother Moon's vision of peace. He expressed his belief that it offers the best hope for his nation and suggested more emphasis on educating Ambassadors for Peace and expanding that network. One woman reported that every time she sees Mother Moon, she looks younger and younger. She was impressed by Hyun Jin as a powerful young, charismatic leader bringing hope to young people.
The Lee family, centered on Choong Woo Lee, organized the event. Fluent in Russian, Korean and English, Choong Woo Lee is working on his doctorate in philosophy at the Kyrgyz graduate academy.His brothers Chung Hyo and Chung Kon also helped with preparations.
The next morning the groups from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia were invited to sing. Some of the Russians had traveled three days by train from Moscow to attend the event. Mother Moon asked them about their projects and gave them some seed money to expand their work. Hyun Jin spoke briefly about the opportunities at this time in history and then asked Jin Man Kwak and Dr. Tomas Walsh to accompany him in singing, “If I Can Dream.”
While at the presidential pesidence and the opera house in this former Soviet republic, Dr. Walsh reflected on the hopes and aspirations of the Soviet era: "I found myself feeling quite sympathetic with their situation. In many ways they truly tried to create an ideal world, centered on one culture, language, with equal value for all, with workers, artists, thinkers, governors as one 'family.' It was of course wrong in its atheistic, dialectical, violent revolutionary essence. Yet, in some ways, it was akin to our own aspirations. When Father Moon was traveling in this region last year, he often contrasted atheism and materialism with theism and idealism, describing the difference between the antagonistic dialectic of Marxism and the unifying methodology of the Divine Principle."