The Words of the Porter Family
From Blessing Quarterly Summer 1987
In the preceding two issues of the Blessing Quarterly, we included the testimonies of many American couples from the 43 Couple Blessing. We will continue to publish testimonies of elder couples. Here we offer the testimony of Martin Porter, who joined the movement in Europe, but worked in America for many years. The testimony of his wife, Marion, will appear in our next issue.
I was born and raised in England. My parents were in medicine and raised me in the Anglican Church. One of five children, my lineage is a blend of religious people and the military, with eight generations of ministers and many British Army Generals.
A woman of very strong faith, my mother was a missionary in Canada during her youth and also ran many charitable organizations in our area. She always felt that since we received much, she wanted to give out in return. My father, as a doctor, felt that he too had a mission to help people. On the whole, my ancestors and immediate family were known to be a hard-working people; we always felt blessed for what we had. By the time I was eight years old I began to realize I was having spiritual experiences. Particularly in the moment between sleeping and waking, the walls of my room would begin to dissolve, and I would go out to extraordinary places and meet people whom I had never seen before.
Though I didn't understand their meaning, these experiences changed alter I was twelve years old and became more religious in nature. I began to question how I could know more about Jesus and come closer to God.
As I grew older, I sometimes saw Jesus or heard his voice, or I had deep insights while reading the Bible. One thing Jesus said was that he was "coming again in my lifetime" and that I would serve him. Also, "many would be called, but few chosen." This message pleased me and also worried me a great deal, but he said he would guide my life and I did not have to worry.
These experiences were warm and peaceful. I had a deep feeling for creation as I sat for hours in the woods around my parents' home, feeling the presence and vitality of God in the energy of the trees and vegetation. I felt the spiritual world very close, and had so many answers to my prayers in that time. Even getting up on Sunday morning to go to church-the spirit world would awaken me always five minutes before the alarm went off. I always felt joy at going to church. Disillusionment
With these high and beautiful experiences I also felt depths of doubt, faithlessness and depression. As I grew older, I became disillusioned with the Anglican Church, partly because so many people, including ministers, talked about faith and principles, but their lives did not reflect their words. Looking at myself, I did not like what I saw, for my life seemed meaningless. Other people's lives left me uninspired as well. Without purpose and direction, I felt little motivation. I beheld my father, a dedicated doctor, who spent all his life trying to cure his patients. Yet I thought somehow we should find the cause of illness, rather than treat the effects, which occur again and again. I wanted to come out from under the umbrella of my family and my institutionalized environment. So after finishing my studies in England, I went to Greece to try to find my true identity. In Greece I tried to develop my skill in photography and did some photo-journal work. However, I felt defeated that I had not found any real answers to my deeper questions. I returned to England and was trained in accounting at a firm of chartered accountants in London. It was good training, but too many questions were on my mind to settle down.
Giving up the Search
At home I met a German film producer who invited me to make films with him in Italy; this I gladly accepted. I entered Florence University in Italy and took sociology courses, after which I went to Rome to study filmmaking at the Rome Film School. I really hoped that by going to Italy, I could make a new start, find meaning and purpose, and since Rome is a center of Christianity -- I hoped to find God.
I even studied Catholic theology at night at the Gregorian University, but I did not find God, nor any direction; gradually I became agnostic. I finally invested totally in making movies. I stopped praying completely at this time. In my final prayer I said that, although I had many revealing experiences in my earlier life, my searches in my adult years had come to no avail; thus, I decided to stop searching.
My life became more and more self-centered, hedonistic and unhappy. Although I wanted to accomplish many things, in doing so, I found the goals unfulfilled. I had a hard time adjusting to the Italian culture and way of life, and left Italy more than ten times, only to return again and again. Whenever I left Italy, I would experience a longing to go back, so finally I resolved to stay and find out why I was there.
Who is Responsible?
The last movie I made was different from any of the others. I made the film with a friend who was in the Diplomatic Corp in Rome. It was for a good friend of his, Prince Aliatta, the owner of the Adriatic Insurance Co. and Adriatic Shipping Co.
The subject of the film was a documentary of a hospital for polymelitic and spastic children from the ages of six months to six years old. My friend had such enthusiasm and hope that this program would help many unfortunate children, and he wanted me to make a movie to express this hope. I made the film in Technicolor, trying to make it as colorful as possible, but inside myself I began to ask questions that I hadn't asked since I stopped praying four years before. Who was responsible for the state that these children were in? Was it the sin of the parents? Was it God's will? Who was responsible?
Finding the Principle
One evening after filming, we showed a preview of the footage to a, group of people for their critique. Among the guests were Mrs. Doris Orme and Marion Dougherty (Porter). Doris was very interested in talking with me about the Divine Principle, but Marion tried to steer her away, because -- as I found out later -- I had a reputation for being analytical and cynically critical. She thought I might criticize Doris and not appreciate her spiritual testimony. The next evening I attended a talk by Mrs. Orme on the Ideal of Creation. There was a very colorful group of people present from a variety of backgrounds, including a six foot black man and his short white wife, a leader in the Attica prison riot, a diplomat, an organist from church, an actress, and an epileptic.
Mrs. Orme's lecture inspired a very intense discussion. I was quite interested in everything said and came to hear more the next day. I had met many famous religious teachers of other religions as well as Christian preachers, but I was struck with the extraordinary clarity of Doris' thought and her definite belief in what she was saying. I felt she was either quite right or quite wrong. I was very moved by the explanation of the Principle of Creation, which gave such deep insight into the meaning and purpose in life, and I could readily accept all that was said about the spirit world.
The chapter on the Fall of Man struck me very deeply because this teaching amplified what I already had felt, and explained everything in detail -- which I readily accepted.
I Must Find Out
The chapter on Jesus was truly shocking to me because even though I had experienced Jesus many times in my earlier days, he had never told me that he had not completed his mission.
Although I felt this part of the Principle was offensive to him, I could not deny the logic and truth it expressed.
After this chapter, Mrs. Orme gave her testimony of experiences with Jesus and those of Dr. Young Oon Kim. I realized that these two people, though having many experiences in common with mine, had many more and different experiences than I had had. Furthermore, I realized that Father, who discovered these truths, had far deeper and more personal experiences with Jesus than anyone I had ever known. I recalled Jesus' statement to me that he would come again, the hope he imparted in the Bible about the blessedness of those who followed Christ in the end time, and the dire warning to those who would follow false Christs and lose their eternal life.
With these three points in mind, I took the Divine Principle book and went to pray and fast for three days. I felt that I was at a crisis point in my life and had to make the right decision. Since I had been the one who willingly stopped praying and searching for God, I now felt guilty and unworthy to ask God for anything, and undeserving of any answer after the kind of life I had been leading. I almost hoped God would not answer; this would have been the most comfort able way out for me. However, God answered my prayer; I repented and felt God as a forgiving parent, even though I had not gone in His direction for such a long time.
These thoughts brought me to a most humble state of heart; I realized God had been looking for me even though I had not been looking for Him and He really cared about me as an individual. I could always understand that God would love certain people because of accomplishments, but why me? Now I realized He loves us because He is our parent. I was truly born again and felt peace and worth as never before. Jesus and True Father
I felt a vibrant vitality from everything surrounding me. I knew because of the truth, something dramatic had changed in my life. As I prayed and read the Divine Principle, I began to have deep insights into its meaning. When I prayed about Jesus' incomplete mission, he appeared to me together with True Father and told me that True Father was completing his mission on earth.
I had still many questions about Jesus' life and death and wanted to know more. Jesus came many times and showed me about his relationship with his disciples, with his family, and about his crucifixion.
The question of his crucifixion always puzzled me. Did God, our loving Father, send His son just to die? What did Jesus feel about it? I had a vision: I was Jesus on the cross, then I saw myself on the cross and began to feel what it was like to be crucified. I felt not only the pain in my hands and feet, but intense pain in the heart. I felt Jesus was dying and no one was there to continue his work; I felt the lack of understanding and the abandonment from God. I blacked out completely! From this I realized the Christian theology on this point was quite wrong. Jesus did not come to die.
A Living Relationship with God
I had one experience when I first arrived in Florence. It was an absolutely clear night and a clear moon shed light over the city; I felt God's presence all around me like an all-embracing warmth, even though it was a cold night. I was to experience His presence in my life in this way for many years, which was always a source of inspiration and protection to me.
We did not see True Parents much; we heard often that he would come in the spring, summer, fall, winter-and gradually the years passed without them coming, but we really tried to apply the Divine Principle to our lives.
We longed to experience God in our lives. What was important to us was a living, tangible relationship with God. If I had a question, in prayer I would receive the answer to that question. I would pray for the people I was about to meet, and I just felt His happiness that I was there to be able to talk to them.
In 1968 at the time of the Blessing of the 430 Couples, I was sitting in my car, thinking about Father and what he may be doing. I was unaware that on that particular day the Blessing would take place. Suddenly I saw little pink hearts appear in the car all around me! It was an amusing vision and a very warming experience. I was surprised and wondered what it could mean. The next day, I took one of the members home from the center and her parents invited me in. They happened to be watching the news on television and suddenly I saw the Blessing of the 430 couples being televised from Korea! That was an extraordinary experience. I had just been talking to her about the marriages in our church, and there it was on television! Incidents like this made us feel the spirit of God so close. Since we had no television in the center, God must have been working so hard to have us at the right place and time to witness this!
Spiritual Experiences Kept Us Going
In the early days in Rome, we had many deep spiritual experiences. Doris, our leader, had many herself which may have been the basis for our having so many experiences too. Every Sunday morning in the summer, we prayed outdoors from midnight to 7 a. m. at a place called Monte Porzio. One particular experience happened at 3 in the morning: a small sign of Omega appeared over the city of Rome, and as it came toward us it grew bigger and bigger until it covered about two-thirds of the night sky. This incredible vision lasted three or four minutes, and all of us praying on the mountainside witnessed it.
Another night at the same place we saw a bright burst of light in the sky -- a tiny dot at first, which quickly grew to the size of the moon. Very soon after, another burst of light appeared and another and another, forming the base of four positions in the sky. The last burst of light turned pink, while the others turned gold and green -- it was so beautiful! Again, we all saw this vision; there was no mistake. We had so many experiences on that hillside outside of Rome.
Spiritual experiences were so common in those days that if several days went by without one, we thought there must be something wrong. It was difficult talking about new truth in Rome. People would say to me, "What is new in truth? Jesus came 2000 years ago, this city has been here for thousands of years; what could possibly be new?" Our spiritual experiences gave us strength and kept us very high in the midst of Roman pessimism.
Our First Study Center
At the time I heard the Principle, I was living in a tiny apartment above a coffee shop, adjacent to the Coliseum. We established the first study center where Doris (Walder) Orme lived with Barbara Burrows. I would meet Doris early in the morning and spend the rest of the day going to meet people and translating for Doris as she spoke about the Principle and gave her testimony. We spent a lot of time meeting people, praying, visiting the important sites, then towards late afternoon Doris would prepare for the evening's lecture while I would witness or study.
Learning Through Teaching
I spoke Italian fairly well, but I found through translating the lectures to people that the spirit of God was really moving through me. Many times I knew what Doris would be saying next, or I felt God's spirit just speak through me. This was a very new experience for me. Previous to this, I had taught English to Italian families to earn funds while going to the university. But teaching the word of God was quite different because the words would just pour out fluently. Later when I taught Principle on my own, I sometimes would go out of my body and look at myself, listen to what was being said and often learn new things. I found that while I taught, I'd put emphasis on certain points that directly related to the listener's life, though I knew nothing about that person's background. I felt God speaking through me and guiding me in this way. It was not just a mental exercise in teaching lectures, as it was when I was teaching English, but it was something life giving. Sometimes I would be very, very tired from working long hours day after day without a break, yet when I was speaking, I felt enormous energy -- then when I stopped, I could just as easily go to sleep on the spot!
Confirmation from Spirit World
I had enormous hope of changing the world and seeing God's will realized, and my direct experiences of the spirit world gave me such strength and power. These experiences were not separate from reality, but were given directly in relationship to the people with whom we were working-whatever help people needed. When I prayed for someone, very often that person would have a spiritual experience.
I remember one boy, Aldo, whom I was teaching. I said that I would pray to Jesus that Aldo could really understand who Sun Myung Moon is. Aldo said he would pray to Mother Mary because he felt more familiar with her. So we prayed.
Then Aldo had an incredible vision. He found himself in a church he attended as a child. In the basement of the church were many large crosses stored there for use in the processions in the streets. The crosses were so large that six or eight people usually carried them, but Aldo picked up one of these crosses himself and started walking up the stairs to the church. Then he realized that it was rather strange he could carry this heavy cross alone. But as he looked around, he noticed that Jesus had come down off the cross, so Aldo put his cross down and walked with Jesus hand in hand out of the church. Aldo asked Jesus, "Do you know Sun Myung Moon?" and Jesus replied, "Yes, I know him." At that moment Jesus was wearing his long, traditional robes in the image of the New Testament description. Then Aldo asked, "Is it true that he is completing your mission?" Jesus answered, "Yes, unfortunately, yes." From this, Aldo understood that Jesus would have liked to have completed him mission but could not. At this point, Jesus' attire changed to Western dress and his features became Oriental. Later, when I showed Aldo Father's picture, he verified that that was the face he had seen in Jesus.
Since we did not have direct instructions from Father at that time, we were grateful for these guiding experiences and confirmations from heaven. I think we were very much aware that Father was praying for us, but we did not actually meet him in person until 1969.
Living by Faith
Before joining our church, I had been a rather quiet, contemplative person, but after hearing the Divine Principle, I felt the conviction to speak out. This produced an amazing change in my character! I finally had something worthwhile to offer and I became very vocal from then onwards.
After six months, we moved into a larger center in Rome where six of us worked and. studied under Doris' direction. The night of July 1, 1966, I had a wonderful "waking dream" where I awoke and went to the door. When I opened it, I saw a thousand welcoming letters, piled up in a mountain, all congratulating us and saying, "Thank you for coming" and "Welcome!" Also gold coins were in the envelopes. Jesus came and was so pleased that we were establishing the church there.
The previous center served mainly for study, but this was the first time we would all be living and working together. Before moving into the new center, we had a meeting of those who were studying Divine Principle, and no one could see why we should have a center to live in. Everyone felt that since we all had our own apartments, why should we live together? But Doris and I both felt that this was God's will, so we decided we would do it, even if no one wanted to come. We thought that since God made the universe first and then man, then perhaps when we had the facility, people would come.
Finances -- God Will Provide!
My spiritual welcoming experiences were encouraging because our moving into the center was an act of faith. We couldn't really afford the seven-room apartment. We pooled all our money together to make the down payment and the first month's rent, but it still wasn't enough. At that time I sold my large collection of camera equipment and thus, we were able to move in.
We had no money and very little else -- no furniture except for the lecture chairs, and we slept on marble floors. What furniture we gained always came from donations, including the stove and the refrigerator, but gradually there was enough to have people to dinner and lecture. Guests often made comments about the lack of continuity in our decor!
Many times we would be completely out of money, but at the last moment some donation would come that would be just enough to see us through. We had to pay the rent at the first of the month and often -- just two days before it was due-we wouldn't have enough, then suddenly it would come!
In a few months I was able to get a job working as a business administrator for an American High School in Rome. I had a good salary, and from then on we were able to do much more.
It is interesting to write about all this after the fact. It sounds as if everything just fit into place, but actually, we invested all our faith to realize the will of God. It was just incredible how God filled all the gaps so we could continue in His work. We had faith and also God came and helped us. This happened constantly, making our faith so strong.
Once I questioned who ran the spirit world. I had a deep relationship with Jesus, and many times I would call on him and he would come. Once when I was ill and lying on a carpet, a big devil came into the room. It sat on me, pinning me to the floor so I could not get up. I called upon Jesus but nothing happened. Then I called very strongly for Father to give me a hand and he appeared in spirit and fought with the devil until it disappeared. I realized Father's great strength in the spirit world; if in prayer and love we call on his name, he can protect us in a wonderful way.
Fulfillment of Prophecy
The early church in Rome was so different from our church today. We looked at Divine Principle from the viewpoint of the Biblical prophecy. Personally, I had had the experience of Jesus telling me he would return in my lifetime, and I was looking for the fulfillment of this promise. I longed for the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies Jesus made in the New Testament.
Our church today is more practical and pragmatic, realizing physically the Kingdom of Heaven. At that time, we felt we were living in the Kingdom of Heaven in spirit, sharing our testimonies and feeling very much the presence of God in our lives. In a sense, it was a very rewarding time experiencing this. When I came to America, I never felt again the presence of the spirit world in such an intense manner.
In those early days, we lived a very sacrificial life and there were abundant benefits. We often fasted two or three times a week; we didn't go to movies, celebrate birthdays or eat ice cream. We spent a lot of time in prayer. Our conversation was minimal unless there was something important to share.
We only had the early Divine Principle book, which was quite short, so we had to work out many things, such as the foundation of faith and substance. But without all the information, we needed to pray to understand the meaning of restoration. This was very rewarding be case we would have realizations about our life of faith this way. Discovering the truth through prayer is a penetrating experience and one you never forget.
We started off with Miss Kim's edition of a blue book. Then the study guide came out, then the red book. Divine Principle and its Application. Finally the black book came out. I remember that I translated the Divine Principle into Italian seven different times; each time a new edition came out.
Unity and Perseverance
I learned many lessons in that time about the importance of being united. I realized that by my totally uniting with Doris, God could work in a great way and people could see God's will manifested in this way. We also learned the benefits of perseverance, as we had to persevere a great deal. The Bible says, "He who perseveres until the end will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven." At times, answers to questions would come very quickly, but other times, things didn't immediately work out and we had to pray over a long period of time before seeing any results.
But Father always gave his guidance to us. To be a spiritual parent, one has to really give up his life to the other person and pray to be willing to pay any price of indemnity; one has to totally live for a period of time for that spiritual child, or he just won't have the strength to overcome. I think this was the trouble in the earliest time -- we didn't pay indemnity for spiritual children and therefore, could not bring them over the hill.
In August of 1967, Mrs. Orme went to Holland, Marion went to pioneer England and I took over the direction of Italy. By 1969 we had a small group in Rome and I sent Barbara Burrows to establish a center in Milan. When Father came in 1969, there were still very few members in Europe. However, with the Blessing of the 43 couples, there was great development in the next few years.
I met Father for the first time in England in March of 1969. Father went out of his way to make us happy. Previously, some members held the view that the Messiah would come to judge us, as is predicted in the Bible. But in my prayers, Father had said to me that he should come as a loving parent, and this is what he did. Whatever he said was so full of logic and undeniably true; he was so vital and enthusiastic about everything! Later, when I met him in his room, he said that if we followed his direction, we would make thousands of members and millions of dollars to save the world. Even though we had trouble paying the rent and had only a few members at the time, his resounding words made us feel as though it was already realized. I remember I couldn't take my eyes off Mother, as her serenity and peace were enchanting. I wished that they would never leave.
After England, I went on to Germany with True Parents where the 43 Couple Blessing took place, and then I went to Italy to prepare for the True Parents coming. We had a wonderful tour together by car throughout Italy. Father came once again to Europe in 1971 with a small group of people and I toured with him for 28 days. Father invited me to travel with him in order to film the European part of the World Tour. We visited England, Germany, Holland, France and then Italy.
Stumbling Block for Others
At that time, we had many mediums that were associate members. Father realized that this posed quite a challenge to the Italian church, as they had received many different personal revelations. He spoke then about unity with the central figure.
One of the mediums was from Florence, and she had a following of about 20 people who consulted with her and were learning Divine Principle. When the group came more towards the Divine Principle, the higher truth filled their hearts more and the medium felt jealous and tried to hold them back. She had opened the door for them, but at the same time, was standing in the doorway and not allowing them to enter. The spirit world gave me the difficult task of telling her that if she did not change she would become ill -- which is exactly what happened. I tried to explain, but she felt I was wrong and that she was paying indemnity for her group. Later the spirit world told me that if she did not change, she would die. She rejected this too and soon died. I realized from this that great indemnity has to be paid by a person who blocks the way for others to join.
Extraordinary Messages from Heaven
One of the mediums from Moderna was very different. This woman, Lidia, was blind. I put into her hand a bell from Father's wedding cake and asked her what it was. She looked most perplexed as she began to receive heavenly messages. At first she could not believe the messages as they were so incredibly unusual, then she said, "Yes, God has a basis on earth through this man; divine marriage; no one can stop him." Then I questioned her about Father and she told me in detail about the origin of sin Father discovered. Later, I invited her to Rome to pray at the Holy Ground. I did not explain anything to her, only that we would walk together with other members in a park. As we came to the tree that Father had blessed, I left her to stand alone. She trembled and shed many tears as she felt the deep spiritual importance of the place.
Then Lidia asked me to take her to St. Peter's and the Vatican. As we approached, she said, "It is very dark here" -- and soon she wanted to leave. We then approached the Obelisk where the second Holy Ground is. There she felt it was like a beautiful garden full of flowers, notwithstanding the cobblestones under her feet.
Via Traviso 1971: Unity and Expansion
I had been witnessing, teaching and working with the mediums in Florence and Milan. Both women inspired membership to our church and in 1971; we established a center in Milan and Rome (Via Traviso). The center was to be the foundation for all our members to come.
Myself and six others, plus my family (now two children) lived and studied together. There was Mario and Lucianna and their two children, plus Elio, Giorgio and Paula. We were very much a family at that time. In Italy, family loyalty is supremely honored and the new members transferred this characteristic towards one another. Italians, once in league with each other, like to live "in each other's pockets". In other words, nothing is hidden or withheld either in feelings, thoughts, goals or possessions. Any troubles or conflicts immediately surfaced, as well as an abundant sharing of daily experiences, new relationships and insights.
Everyone gave their material possessions to the center and there was virtually no sense of ownership; we were a family. We witnessed mainly at the University in Rome and to support ourselves, we sold the first chapters of Divine Principle.
My life was spent teaching and counseling family members each evening, encouraging them through their many and varied phases of spiritual growth. Soon more members joined: Guido Lombardi and his sister, then Laura and Marissa. Meanwhile, our center in Milan was gradually increasing in membership too, where Barbara Burrows was working and teaching. With each person, we felt a deep sense of hope that we would see the new world come about, and our fervent goal was to build something for God and our True Parents so that we would be ready to meet their needs.
The Worldwide Church
Later in 1971, Father visited us a second time, and all the European directors met in Germany. Paul Werner and I were chosen to represent Europe at the WACL conference in the Philippines. Before returning from the WACL conference, Paul and I went to visit Father in Korea, our first visit to the Fatherland.
Being with Father and Mother in Korea, where the dispensation began, was enormously rewarding. We traveled to Pusan and other significant places, and upon returning to Seoul, were escorted to the countryside to meet Father and Mother at the lake. We sat together with our True Parents and Mrs. Choi for dinner. Towards the end of the meal, I glanced at Father's plate and thought how I would cherish having one of the grapes still left there. Suddenly Father picked up the bunch of grapes from his plate and gave them all to me. I was stunned and deeply moved; he is so sensitive -- he knew my every thought.
We traveled back with Father and Mother, which was a deeply peaceful experience. As I observed them holding hands, I felt the warm and embracing power of God's love in their presence.
I returned to Italy with new vigor but soon afterwards, Father came to America and started the International IOWC. We in Italy soon participated, and I arrived in the U. S. with 20 members. Father needed more, so I went back to Italy and returned again with 30 more members. This time Father asked us all to stay.
After working for a year as a communicator between Father and our IOWC teams, Father selected a team for me to lead in the 32 City Tour. With 23 Japanese and as many Italians, French and Americans, it was quite a challenge to establish unity, convey directions and accomplish the strategy of the campaign. I usually spoke in English and Italian, while two other interpreters translated in French and Japanese! This was a great testimony to our True Parents, as only our motive to fulfill their vision could have brought us all to work together. The unity of True Parents' vision and God's will were confirmed over and over again as the members of our international team shared their deep spiritual experiences at the end of a day's activities.
Victory Over Great Odds
Though I was greatly challenged, I knew we had to be successful. There was no question of can we get the people to the banquet and the speech, or can we get the appropriate facilities -- we had to. There was no margin for doubt!
The 32 City Tour was divided into regions that were assigned to teams. Our team was responsible for New Haven, Connecticut; Jackson, Mississippi; Fargo, North Dakota and Birmingham, Alabama. These cities were very far apart and we were in the midst of the gas crisis. At that time, only $2 worth of gas was allowed at a time! During the campaigns, we usually lived about 60 miles outside our city. In early morning our vehicles were lined up at the gas stations before they opened.
In spite of obstacles, we possessed powerful determination and through all difficulties, we felt charged with motivation, which certainly was not generated from ourselves alone. For many of us, this was the first experience of cooperation with those in the spirit world. Only this could explain the miracles that transpired to help us accomplish our mission. Our faith was constantly put to the test, and then deeply rewarded through the unforeseen events that helped us achieve our goals.
After the 32 City Tour, we participated in the Celebration of Life campaign and then the 8 City Tour, beginning with Madison Square Garden. All these events occurred within 6 months time, which is a miracle in itself! We also gained 140 members on our team before it was divided up into a larger team under the leadership of Rev. Vincenz.
Back to Italy and Ginseng
After the tours, I traveled to Korea with Father in 1975 and spent some days in his company, visiting the centers and observing activities. I was inspired and impressed by all the progress, including our titanium factory, Tongil industries and Ginseng productions.
When I returned to Italy afterwards, our congregation began fundraising to secure a workshop site in the hills of Rome. We were going to build it our selves; I drew the plans and brought them to America for Father's approval at the next conference. He looked at the plans and said he had a better idea for our money - buy Ginseng!
I wondered how Italians would take to Ginseng after centuries of drinking espresso, and also how our members would respond to the new plans -- as they anxiously awaited news about the new workshop site. Although this was an abrupt change in plans, I felt a burning zeal about the project because Father had requested it.
This was a great opportunity for everyone to put their faith in Father's vision, and in the end, Ginseng earned enough for us to build more than our workshop site, although we never seemed to get the time to do it.
Canada: Beginning Again
In June of 1977, Father sent me to Canada where a new indemnity course began. It was a difficult mission because the movement there was at a bare beginning. Although the members were few, some carried conflicts in their hearts that were unresolved, and we couldn't become unified and productive immediately. I felt as though we were beginning all over, except this time with a few subtracting factors.
Striving for a new foundation, however, taught me something more about the patient and persevering heart of our Heavenly Father who, despite victorious periods in the history of restoration, has had to begin again, when defeats or failures nullified a painstakingly built foundation.
In six years' time we did regain that foundation, new membership, and a deer ranch of 300 elk and red deer.
Much More to Do!
In 1983 Father called me to work in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Here the world providence of restoration is ever more pressing. Although our work is boat building and fishing, we also feel the urgent need to fulfill the providence of Home Church.
I feel deep regret that we, as a church movement worldwide, could not pay enough indemnity, nor create following Father's direction -- a strong enough movement that could have served as the indemnity condition for world restoration, so that Father would not have had to go on this course. Even though there have been so many victories and so much indemnity paid, it is so sad that Father himself has to continually pay the greater and greater price. My determination is to work harder, sleep less, and pay more indemnity to realize my responsibility, as well as to inspire others to do the same.
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