40 Years in America
In March 1975, I had just come back from a trip from NJ to CA. I was searching to find out what life was about and my purpose in it. I had to return a car I drove from California to New York City.
On my way home from the car place, I was walking to the bus station by way of Times Square. I was approached by a Christian group and they asked me if I was saved. I replied that I felt saved. Then they started accusing me and I was turned off. I started to walk away and I said, "God, if you are really there and if Jesus did exist, can you please show me the way?" Right after that a Japanese sister (Michiko Shimizu Turegano) came up to me and gave me a pamphlet. She asked me if I was looking for true love. I answered yes and then she proceeded to invite me around the corner of a library to hear an introduction to the teachings.
I was very cautious in the city because it was a crazy place. At that moment some guy came between us and started roaring like a lion. I almost dashed away but someone else came and took him away. I saw the look on Michiko’s face that she was also startled, but she continued to ask me to come to hear an introduction. Part of me really wanted to go home and the other to stay and hear the introduction.
So I proceeded to go with them to a 2nd floor office where they were having these lectures. I was greeted with so many good feelings and warmth that I was amazed at the atmosphere. I sat down and was waiting to hear the next lecture. Michiko came to me and showed me a pamphlet about Barrytown. I saw the picture with the mountains and river on it. I loved going into nature. She began to explain about it. Then, I asked her, "Can I go there?" She looked at me with amazement and said she’d find out. She came back and said a van was going in about an hour and that I could go. I called my Mom and said that I met some really good people and I would be away for the weekend.
I arrived at Barrytown about 11 pm at night. The next day, I began to hear the Divine Principle for three days. To my amazement, it was answering many questions I had about life. At the end of the three days, after hearing the parallels of history, I realized the time was at hand. They invited us to go to a 7-day workshop. I was collecting unemployment at the time and I didn’t want to miss my check. So I promised them that I would come back in a few days. I went home and started telling my friends what happened to me and who I met and I was getting mixed reactions. One friend said, "That sounds very interesting and I would like to go back with you to Barrytown," which he did. That was the stepping-stone to go back.
I attended the 7-day Divine Principle workshop. I was in a 2nd-floor lecture hall when it was proclaimed at the conclusion lecture about the Second Coming. A choir was practicing below us with beautiful singing. I was raised Catholic and always wondering where heaven and hell were. Prior to Barrytown, I was receiving revelations that Heaven and Hell are right here. All of a sudden it stuck me what had happened in my life and I saw myself standing at the gates of Heaven with this incredible singing. I looked through but couldn’t go in. It was an overwhelming feeling. Then God told me, "Sorry, you can’t enter at this time because there is so much that needs to be done on earth and so much for you to restore." After that I began to weep like a baby, uncontrollably, with joy and gratitude that I was shown the way and that the kingdom of Heaven did exist and that I had a chance to clean myself up and the chance to serve the Lord of the Second Advent while on earth. So my journey began.
I attended 7, 21, 40 and 120-day workshops, with a lot of different activities in between them. We did a 40- hour lecturing condition at Rockefeller Center and on 42nd Street a 21-hour lecture condition for VOC (Victory Over Communism). We did fundraising and witnessing all over the city. I was attending Mr. Sudo’s 120-day workshop when True Father began three phases of the Pioneering witnessing to fifty states. Father came to each of us with 50 states written on pieces of paper in a hat and gave us the opportunity to pick our state where we would go. It was my first really close encounter with True Father. I chose Minnesota.
Deprogramming was very strong at that time, especially in Minnesota. I began to have experiences there with witnessing. One experience I will never forget concerned one particular sister. There was a certain fundamental Christian group that was strongly trying to take away this sister from the Unification Church. In my daily witnessing I would always see these Christians in two’s and I would get butterflies in my stomach, like a fearful feeling. They were very cunning and were always talking to this sister and giving her gifts and a lot of affection and always telling her bad things about the church. At that time there was a lot of persecution.
One day the sister didn’t come back and we were worried about her. So I went to the Christians’ headquarters which was in a downtown Minneapolis high rise. I greeted them and asked them about the sister and they said she didn’t want to come back to the Unification Church anymore. They invited me to one of their meeting rooms. In the beginning, there were two people.
Then, within 10 minutes there were about a dozen of these Christians around me. They were asking what I believed about Rev. Moon so I began to be straight forward with them. They then began to tell me that Rev. Moon is the anti-christ and that I have to denounce him and this would be a great time to do so. They said, let us pray together to do this. I heard the door lock and I really couldn’t go anywhere. They began to pray very strongly and began to put their hands on me. Well, I had no choice if I wanted to survive this spiritual attack, so I began to pray louder than everyone. They were taken aback when I began to pray louder and they began to pray louder, too. I felt overpowered and all of a sudden True Father’s face appeared in front of me. It was so bright and he was smiling from ear to ear. I felt an incredible surge of spiritual energy. I stood up and was praying more powerfully than all these Christians and they finally stopped.
I declared, "I will not denounce Rev. Moon and I pray that God can help you see the truth." Then, I left with so much energy that as I exited the building, I stood on a ledge and began to street preach like I did every day.
I felt a great sense of rebirth from this experience. This experience has always carried me through the valleys of restoration in my past years and even in the present days.
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