Years ago True Father said that some day so many people would come to us that we wouldn't know what to do with them. In Chile, that day has come.
In early March, the Chilean members began to focus on preparing for True Mother's speech. We reserved a ballroom in the Sheraton Hotel with a seating capacity of 800, which was the largest room available for the day of the speech. Over the next two months, our members, particularly four blessed sisters - Eliana Rivas, Lorena Valdivia, Monica Huentequeo and Leonor Pinto - visited high-level contacts, organized many programs and events, and sent out invitations to thousands of select people.
A few days before the event, we had over 2000 confirmations. Since usually less than half of those who confirm actually come, we were still worried whether we would really fill the hall, so we continued accepting confirmations. In the back of all our minds, however, was the question, "What will we do if everyone comes?" As a precaution we decided to put up a television monitor in an overflow room for 150 people and we thought we could even put a monitor in the hallway outside the ballroom to take care of another 150 people if necessary, giving us a capacity of over 1000.
True Mother was originally scheduled to arrive in Santiago, Chile, at 4:30 pm on May 8th. However, at noontime the day before, we received an urgent call informing us that the schedule had changed and that she would arrive at 9 am. Therefore, we had to quickly reorganize everything with the airport, VIP lounge, various VIPs planning to greet Mother, immigration and customs, car rentals, police escort and the hotel. Around midnight, we received another urgent call informing us that Mother's schedule had changed again, and that now she would be arriving at 2:35 pm! And this is when her plane actually did land.
Chile's four national messiahs -- Rev. Kim Byung Ho, Rev. Michihito Sano, Gerhard Peemoeller and myself, elder Chilean members including national leader Sergio Castillo and Adelmo Mendez, some Japanese sisters and VIP friends were on hand to receive True Mother and her party. Flowers were offered and refreshments served as Mother waited several minutes in the VIP lounge while immigration procedures were being completed. Then, with an escort of police motorcycles opening the way for us at every intersection, we were able to get Mother quickly and safely from the airport to the prestigious Sheraton Hotel. As we were driving through Santiago, we felt like the entire city belonged to us. Mother received a red-carpet welcome at the entrance of the hotel and went directly up to the Presidential Suite.
The program was scheduled to begin at 7 pm, but by 6:30 the ballroom was already completely packed. By 7, our overflow room was full, the hallway was full and people were still flooding into the hotel! The head of hotel security estimated the crowd at more than 2,500 people! Because so many people were jamming into the hotel there was a lot of tension in the air.
On schedule, our MC, Adelmo Mendez, opened the program and apologized for any inconveniences due to the unexpected large number of people. He invited five women who were chosen by the Women's Federation for World Peace as outstanding mothers in their communities to come on stage to receive flowers and a plaque. Among these women, was the first woman general in the history of Chile. Next, Father Jose Riveros, a Catholic priest, gave the invocation and had the entire audience hold hands and repeat the Lord's Prayer. Following this, our MC explained about the history of Mother's tour and read several of the many messages of support and greetings which True Mother received, including one from the President of Chile, Eduardo Frey. "Pro-Musica", a choir and small orchestra group, then treated the audience to a beautiful presentation of Handel's "Hallelujah chorus". And then the President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Sergio Castillo, introduced True Mother and invited the audience to watch the inspirational video about True Mother's life.
While the program was going forward inside the ballroom, those who weren't able to get in, especially those who had traveled a long distance to see True Mother, were making lots of noise outside. Many of our members who were helping at the reception desks tried their best to calm everyone down, but there was very little that we could do. There were just too many people. The question now was how to bring True Mother from the Presidential Suite to the small waiting room we had prepared beside the stage.
Fortunately, Chile's German national messiah is Gerhard Peemoeller, True Parents' personal bodyguard for years in the U.S. When it comes to security, Gerhard is the master. Unknown to everyone else, Gerhard had already prepared a Plan B (and even a Plan C) to get Mother quickly and safely to the stage. With perfect timing, he arranged a car to pick Mother up in front of the hotel, drive her to the back and enter through an emergency exit, thus avoiding the packed hallways altogether. From the car, Mother could see for herself the massive crowd of people still trying to get into the hotel and the unruly crowd outside the ballroom.
Because of the noisy multitude outside the room and because with so many people there weren't enough earphones for everyone in the ballroom to hear the Spanish translation, it was hard for Mother to deliver her speech. Yet she remained calm and did a wonderful job. In fact, most of the audience listened attentively and several times during the speech applauded warmly. In the overflow room, many people watched Mother on the television monitor while listening directly to the Spanish translation. Even in the noisy hallway outside, many interested people gathered around a monitor for the entire speech. Upon finishing, Mother received a standing ovation and long round of applause. Representative couples of the Family Federation presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a beautiful gift. Also Mother was awarded plaques of appreciation from three different social institutions. Finally, with the audience still standing and applauding, Mother left the stage, thus concluding the official part of the program.
Next, while the MC read another letter of support that True Mother received from Ely De Casa, a famous television personality, we brought out a huge cake and chairs for True Parents. A group of VIPs were invited to sit on the stage and True Mother returned to begin the victory celebration. Direct from Corrientes, Argentina, True Father appeared on a giant screen through the Video-Phone-Hook-up. With the MC leading the audience in round after round of "Feliz Familia Ideal" to the tune of "Happy Birthday to You", True Parents simultaneously cut victory cakes and shared a bite of cake with each other. Many songs were sung, alternating between True Father's party in Corrientes and ours in Santiago. This singing "competition" culminated with True Mother singing "Edelweiss" and "Santa Lucia" and True Father singing "Um-Maya" over and over again. Truly, the entire audience was captivated by the give and take of true love taking place between True Parents.
True Mother was escorted back to the Presidential Suite, and everyone in the audience began leaving. It had been an unforgettable night for everyone. One guest, a former vice-minister of health, told us that he had never seen so many high-class people and lower-class people enjoying the same program together. An important woman who works in the Ministry of Defense said that all the political parties would give anything to have the ability that our organization has to bring all kinds of people together. Many people expressed their deep admiration towards True Mother.
In her suite, Mother immediately called True Father, who was still celebrating in Corrientes. Laughing, she told Father that she had a hard time taking care of so many people. Father told her that it was a "happy problem". He also said that we should have believed him when he told us that the day would come when the floodgates would open and so many people would come that we wouldn't know how to handle them all.
The following morning (Sunday, May 9th) fifty members were allowed up to True Mother's suite at 5 am to join her for Pledge service. Afterwards, Mother spoke to us about the importance of this final period before the year 2000. She told us we should take all of our individual goals for the next ten years and fulfill them in the next seven months. For Hoon Dok Hae, True Mother had Peter Kim read two of True Father's fervent prayers from the 1950s.
Chile's four national messiahs and several local leaders were invited to eat breakfast with True Mother. At that time, Rev. Kim Byung Ho reported to Mother about the many activities of our movement in Chile. Then, just before leaving for the airport, Mother signed copies of her speech for each of us.
Right on schedule, we drove True Mother to the airport, once again with the police escort. Mother seemed very happy as we gathered around her for a final photograph at the steps of her plane before she and her party disappeared inside. We stood there waving as her plane taxied down the runway and took off for Ecuador for her next speech.
That afternoon, the Chile members gathered at our beautiful workshop property in the mountains outside of Santiago for a victory celebration. In honor of the occasion, Rev. Kim sanctified a precious new Holy Ground. And he told the members, "In the past I could never really believe you when you promised to bring victory, but now I can believe you."
True Mother's visit to Chile lasted less than 20 hours, but it brought new hope and new life to all of us. Clearly, we have entered a new era. We are standing on the victorious indemnity foundation of God and True Parents, and we have the support of the entire spirit world. Therefore, let us be confident as we work side by side with True Parents to build the Kingdom of Heaven in each of our nations.