The Words of the Porter Family
Testimony by Marion Porter (Wife Of Italian National Leader)
My Father was the son of an Anglican minister and both his parents were descendants of ministers' families. My mother came from a family of Christian Science faith.
God's Healing Force
One day my mother revealed to me that when she was 11 years old, she became very ill and gradually slipped into a coma. At the time, the doctors were at a loss about the cause or cure of her condition, so my mother was kept at home, where she remained in an unconscious state for one year. My grandmother met a practitioner from the Christian Science Church, who offered to come and pray at our house for my mother's healing. Within a few days, the practitioner's prayers were answered and my mother awoke, completely healed and stunned that her life was one year older. The whole family became Christian Scientists afterwards.
This testimony affected me deeply, as it confirmed that God had actually touched the personal life of my family, and also, that the power of God was greater than natural forces in the world.
When I was still very young, my mother told me that when she was carrying me, she was told she would have twins. During the third month of her pregnancy she had some difficulty. Her doctor prescribed a very strong medicine, but soon after, she had a miscarriage. However, it was discovered that another child was still in the womb! This history of my delicate existence somehow made me feel very grateful for life and left the deep impression that living was actually a gift from God.
Something Vital is Missing
In spite of the security my parents provided through the growing up years, I became keenly aware of being in search of something more. The question of purpose and meaning in life became a topic of conversation with friends in college, and I constantly felt we were all missing something vitally important.
Often a tinge of conscience would spark my awareness that what we studied in church and in the Bible was not really edified in our lives, and that many of the concepts I studied in science, English and philosophy were incongruent with biblical teachings. Gradually, my everyday living became fragmented, and each area of life-work, church, and social activities-became isolated from the others.
After college, I moved to California where I worked in window display for Sears and Roebuck. For a hobby, I located props for the local opera company. If life seemed fragmented in New Jersey, it was multiplied a hundred times in California! The early 1960's brought drugs, mounting divorce, racial riots and campus revolutions. My own questions became magnified in this environment, where all standards of right and wrong were being dissected by the "Now" generation.
Shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy -- which deeply affected me -- I wrote down these words: "What is the most important thing in life?" I desperately needed a standard of value that would withstand the test of change and relative times.
Each day I looked at this question and posed different answers, such as: honesty, friendship, education, a career, self-development, etc., but no answer would last for long.
One unforgettable morning, in bewildered depression, I stared again at the words on the pad. From somewhere within, in painful recognition, the answer emerged: "True Love". But who could find it?
Guided to Italy
Soon after this awakening experience, I made plans to go to Italy. Italy seemed to be a place where love, family and religion were central to the culture and this would be closer to what I felt was most important. There I studied at the Academy of Art, immersed myself in the Italian way of life, and became extremely active in the American Church of Rome.
A few months later I met Barbara Burrows, who studied voice training and came to our church once a week to practice. One evening we met, and I was intrigued when she told me she was studying a revelation from the East. I requested to hear it, and Barbara introduced me to Doris (Walder) Orme. During the following week I heard the Divine Principle. The life-long questions I had were overwhelmingly answered, particularly the truth about love, and why the world had grown so far from God's intent for us.
He Answered Me
I prayed and fasted for three days afterwards, seeking guidance, as I knew that what had been revealed in the Principle would change the course of my life. I prayed that if it was God's will for me to follow this teaching and its author, Sun Myung Moon, somehow Jesus would answer me. Up to this point, Jesus had never appeared in my life, and I couldn't imagine bow this prayer would be answered.
On the third day I awoke after a short nap and approached the parlor window, to gaze at the late afternoon. But as I looked down from my 7th floor apartment, instead of seeing the usual street below, I saw the front walk of our house in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. A little girl with pigtails dancing in the wind -- having just finished her nap -- was strolling out the front door. As I observed myself, for a moment I had the sensation of childhood: absolute freedom and expectancy, unaware of the time or the weather or appetite, only the anticipation of what adventure or joy lay ahead.
The moment faded as the little girl walked on up the path, growing older with each step. In the next few seconds, my life history passed before me, and with each passing scene, in place of innocent wonder came bewilderment and a sense of foreboding as mistaken choices and false pursuits led me into snares I was helpless to undo. I wept and wept for the hurt I'd caused our Heavenly Father -- who was the only one who knew what goodness might have been...
Then a blazing warmth surrounded me; someone was standing behind me. Without turning, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was answering my prayers with Christ's presence, forgiving me and showing me that He' d been there at every bad turn, trying to reach me. I'd looked for Him so many times, and I never knew.
This profound meeting point with our Heavenly Father confirmed to me eternally that He had led me to our True Parents, and that their course was in concert with God's will.
Learning to Live the Principle
Doris taught us how to apply the Divine Principle, beginning with the course of denial, which led us to pool our resources and commonly share everything as the early Christians did. We learned how to make conditions of indemnity and seek answers in prayer, how to establish a life of faith, and how to witness to find spiritual children. These important points were repeated again and again, and we began to have rich experiences.
One witnessing experience in particular stands out in my mind. My Italian was not sufficient to explain our message, so I took pamphlets with me and tried to encourage contacts to come back to the center. This method didn't meet with much success, and after several weeks of not bringing anyone home, I began to fast and determined to memorize the explanation on the pamphlet in the hope that whoever I spoke to would not have any questions, but would just obediently follow me back to the center.
I settled on the bank of the Tiber and began to draw, with my pamphlets spread out informally beside me. Soon a curious passer by came to watch and I immediately gave him a pamphlet while reciting the first line. He listened pensively and then seemed to want to read for himself. Meanwhile, I prayed desperately that God would somehow allow me to answer, should he ask a question. He did! I stumbled into the first chapter as I'd heard it so many times now Italian. Soon a flood of words came into my mind, as if I were repeating the lecture word for word. This continued through the principle of polarity, give and take, the purpose of creation, the three blessings. I could hardly believe my own ears!
The man was keenly interested and we went back to the center where. I introduced him to our teacher, Martin Porter. No one believed me when I said that the guest had already heard the first part of Chapter One, but after a short conversation with my guest, it became apparent that he had clearly been informed! I call this my "speaking in tongues" experience, which sadly was not repeated again.
Those early years from 1965 to 1969 were filled with the nourishing love of God. Our True Parents were to us the embodiment of Christ and. the Holy Spirit on earth, and many times they would come or Father would come in dreams to guide us and answer our prayers. As I witnessed and taught, God would work in amazing ways to bring His children to life. Also, to be in cooperation with God in His most cherished work is an intimate experience, where we can feel His heart most substantially.
Gathering the Harvest
By 1967 Miss Young Oon Kim had visited us in Europe and I was sent to work with three other sisters in London. We received a newsletter from the states periodically, and I remember one article by Philip Burley, describing the growing numbers of members and how -- for the first time -- he could not remember everyone's name!
Witnessing in London was not difficult, since many young people were traveling and searching throughout Europe; they always stopped by Hyde Park or sat on the steps at Picadil1y Circus in London. It was really the right time. Our flat at Emperor's Gate was always busy, particularly on the weekends when we invited people to join us for lunch or dinner Saturdays and Sundays.
Often if we began teaching Saturday afternoon, and if our guests were very inspired about what they were learning, we would continue teaching far into the night and sometimes right on through to Sunday morning. By that time we had related all of the parallel history, and our guests would be ready to hear about the event that took place in 1960. Our lectures always focused upon the True Parents' Blessing and it was a dramatic moment when this was finally revealed. If people had stayed the weekend and heard the conclusion, we would conclude by walking to the Holy Ground to pray, where we could then share our own testimonies, and the fact that Father had actually been there to bless our prayer ground.
In this way our numbers gradually increased until we needed a larger flat. We had been together for almost a year and were now a family of 16. Miss Young Oon Kim then asked Doris (Walder) Orme to join us, and in the following two years, her leadership helped to deepen our life of faith.
Let Us Testify
Since that time I've been led to many mission fields, from pioneering in Ireland for a short while to pioneering in Las Vegas, to Los Angeles, the Day of Hope Tours, and before coming to Master Marine in Alabama, my husband and I worked with our Canadian family for six years.
Unfortunately, I'm painfully aware that we have not accomplished enough, and I feel that we have fallen short of the standard of love and unity needed to create a strong, impregnable united front -- not only for the protection of True Parents, but also for the advancement of restoration. However, I feel that because of all the victories our Father and Mother have won, we are seeing the Parents' heart enter more and more into human affairs. My earnest hope and prayer is that we will effectively testify to the miracle God has done in us, through True Parents' love.
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