The Words of the Schanker Family
True Parents Display Trust in this Year's Cheon Il Guk Candidates
This article is based on interviews of Rev. Phillip Schanker, director of the American Blessed Family Department, and Mr. Geros Kunkel, Director of the European Youth Department, both of whom were onsite observers of the extraordinary interaction between True Parents and matching candidates on October 7 at the Cheon Jeong Peace Palace.
Father came quickly, soon after the candidates arrived. Often, when Father has matched groups of second-generation members over the years, when the candidates arrived for Father's matching, the matching did not begin immediately. Some time had been necessary before Father felt that the candidates were ready.
This time, there was no hesitation. Father asked at first if this was the group that had come to be matched by him, but even as he was asking, he seemed confident that the young men and women in front of him were well prepared.
It was profound. The spiritual atmosphere in the room was extremely high. All the people that had come for Father's matching had maintained the Cheon Il Guk standard -- they'd had no sexual relationship, or intimate experience, such as dating, with a member of the opposite sex. The Cheon Il Guk standard also includes absolute faith in True Parents' matching, commitment to the blessing, a willingness to live a public life, and being in good health and of the appropriate age.
Father began by speaking about singing and then asked if anyone talented had a song to sing. A few people volunteered. After one young man sang, rather than go to the next volunteer, Father picked people to sing who had not volunteered, and they sang very well. It was evident that Father is internally sensitive, intuitively connected, and that the candidates were in good hands.
After a while, Father asked all the candidates to close their eyes and clasp their hands together. They all did that and after opening their eyes, Father told them that depending on the person, the right or left thumb would be on top. He then had the young men and women (subdivided according to thumb dominance) form four rows.
Father spoke for a while mentioning a few traits of left-thumbs-up types, such as that they are people who serve others. He said that anyone from one thumb group could find a match from among those from the opposite thumb group. Then, rather casually, he suggested, "So...why don't you do that."
When True Father called on them to find their own spouses, it was so unexpected that it was as if people died and needed time to be reborn and find courage. In fact, having found themselves in a delicate, unexpected situation, the candidates, some as young as seventeen, did display courage. We can all be proud of them.
Father had created a basis for balancing character types. He said he might have chosen something else -- summer and winter, or face shapes. He chose a framework within which to create balanced groups, groups that had some opposite nature. This was a jump-off point.
Father kept speaking. He gave them a number of recommendations as to how they should approach the situation. He asked them not to appraise the person based on their facial features, but to get a sense of the face shape and the person's overall form and to feel the candidate's energy, to gain a spiritual impression of the person. He suggested they look for dissimilarity, to find someone who provides a balance to their own traits. If they were moved, if they were drawn to a person -- they should pursue it. One candidate could hold out a hand to another to be accepted or declined.
Father told them not to be forceful; it should happen naturally. If a couple comes together like this, centered on the original mind, God would make their marriage work. If they find their spouse in this way, it is their responsibility not Father's, so they have no reason to divorce. Their parents should have matched them but couldn't, he said, so now they should tell their parents the name of the person they are being blessed to and their parents should also take responsibility for making the couple's marriage a success. He also told them not to take too long, about fifteen minutes.
At first, when Father began speaking about this, candidates and observers alike seemed to think he was testing the candidates. He was shaking them up, preparing them. They did not initially believe that Father was in fact expecting them to do it. When it became clear that Father was speaking in earnest, Mrs. Chang Mi-sook of the Korean Blessed Family Department approached Father. Reflecting the feelings of all the observers who were concerned about the candidates' heightened stress levels over how they could actually do what Father was asking them to do, she said, "Please Father, these young people came here because they trust you, and they really want you to match them."
Father dismissed her out of hand. Addressing the candidates, he asked, "Why do I have to keep changing your diapers? I'm too old to be taking care of you as if you are babies. You go ahead and do this." As often with Father, his manner seemed gruff, but people felt his deep love. He also said at some point that anyone who couldn't do it could just leave.
Father was throwing them in the deep end, but encouraging them, confident that they could swim without relying on him. He seemed to feel they were prepared and trusted them based on their adherence to the Cheon Il Guk standard and their strength of faith.
It's important to note that Father did not ask anyone "to choose," but used the Korean term for "to find." He wanted them to be guided by their own original minds, their own consciences and to be sensitive to and follow that, not to be guided by external appearance. Some who participated commented later that they did not feel as if they were choosing, but that True Parents had matched them. As when choosing sports teams from among any group of young people, as time went on, some people seemed to feel self-conscious or uncomfortable over not yet having been chosen. The staff members, noticing this, brought the candidates together in a group and asked the candidates to introduce themselves. After that, the process of discovering their eternal mates resumed with somewhat less tension.
Father spoke about how he has to bless the world's 6.5 billion people and said he has the capacity to do that but he can't be everywhere at once. In the testimonies that follow, you will read about how in different ways, people sensed a spiritual force at work as they connected with another person. When the candidates felt spiritual movement through them, some could sense that this is how Father can spiritually work through individuals to match everyone in the world.
It was the most successful of the Cheon Il Guk matchings in terms of the number of couples where the bride and groom came from different national backgrounds and also in terms of having the least number of breakups between the matching and the Blessing Ceremony. God and True Parents created sixty-eight newly blessed couples through this process. Father and Mother were supportive as the couples made their rounds, sometimes speaking personally to candidates. Overall, Father placed great faith in the candidates' ability to get in touch with their original minds. Less than halfway through the matching, Father waved good-bye and told the candidates, "I'll see you at the Blessing Ceremony."
I am grateful for the space we were given to prepare ourselves and our mind-set for the matching process. Today's experience allowed me, and I'm sure many others, to connect to our True Parents' hearts on a new level.
It seemed to be going smoothly. We sat down and enjoyed some singing from a few of the candidates. True Father started to talk a little about how it is good to match opposites. He used the analogy of combining the North Pole and South Pole or bringing together the head and the tail of something. Later, he talked about age difference and why it shouldn't matter. I felt that a good majority of us had expected this. We had been preparing ourselves to be open-minded and accept anyone as a spouse.
Suddenly though, True Father told us to clasp our hands together, as if in prayer, and to observe which thumb is on top. From here, he divided us into four groups. I fell into the right-thumb male category. To my surprise, the numbers in the groups were nearly equal.
Soon after, True Father told us to go across the room and find our complimentary partner with the opposite dominant thumb. I think that most of us had taken this as a joke originally, but we soon realized that he was serious. I was fortunate not to have to pioneer this; our brave left-thumb brothers and right-thumb sisters met face-to-face first. I silently observed as they obediently lined up side by side, facing each other. The level of anxiety, tension, stress, and emotional cyclones that were resonating in everyone present is impossible to describe. It was the sisters who were first summoned to walk along the row of brothers in single file and to try to find potential matching partners. Father then said that by walking by and observing a few candidates, we should be able to know which is the right one.
This went on for a wee bit, without any success, and then the brothers had a turn to cycle around and choose a potential matching partner. (There was still much flexibility in the deciding of couples, because if either the brother or sister was approached the other could still turn down the offer.)
At this point, our group started to assemble, to face the left-thumb sisters. As I stood in place, I watched and observed carefully as many of them as I could, from where I was standing. My face must have gone left-to-right, right-to-left at least four times down the row. Then this time, it was the brothers turn to try and take the initiative in the proposal, so we started to move along the row, single file.
From here, I had too many feelings in me to be able to explain. Complete ownership over the decision was what True Father was trying to offer us, which is incredible, and I believe should be received with great gratitude and celebration. This train of thought let me hold onto some hope, in what could be seen as a completely helpless situation.
I made my way along the row, observing each and every one very carefully. About half way down the row, though, I began to become concerned because to that point I had not felt any sense of connection with any of the candidates. To be honest I was starting to lose a bit of hope that I would find my eternal spouse here at this matching. So with this discouraging feeling I started to pick up the pace a little in order to get around a second time. This effectively led the people behind me to speed up as well, which in turn caused me a bit of trouble...
As I made my way to the end, I began only taking quick glimpses of everyone before passing to the next person. Suddenly like a lightning bolt, I could actually feel a connection with one particular candidate that I had just briefly observed. I was carried forward by the momentum of the line, combined with a bit of hesitancy, and I was already about four people farther (right down at the end) which made it very hard for me to get back to that person. Luckily however, somehow I had caught her name "Hayazaki Hitoe." I hoped that was the right name.
It had become a Cinderella story. I just had to find the girl who had the name Hayazaki Hitoe before anyone else did! I made my way around a second time, and fortunately, she was still there when I got to the end.
After everything, we celebrated with lunch at the Cheon Jeong Peace Palace and chatted with each other on a casual stroll outside in the sun.
I'm a rather flexible person normally. So, when True Father told us to start finding our own spouse, I said, "Okay I'll just go." I did three rounds total. During the first two, it was like a battle between Satan and God. Then on the last one, everything became so clear! It was the right time and the right moment, I had to find her. True Father told us to find someone you like, so I thought, Oh, nice! I'll choose someone nice.
I'm normally attracted to Western girls, but there were only Asians. However at that moment, True Father said, "Don't decide by face." Father also told us we could go home if we didn't feel like doing it. But I just couldn't go home. Then, I felt spiritual power, as if I were on a jet wave! I put my hand out. It then occurred to me, What did I do?
I thought she was Japanese, but in fact she was Korean. At first, she moved back away from me, out of emotion, but then she finally grabbed my hand. Suddenly, it was as if Dae-mo nim had popped up just behind her. Dae-mo nim was wearing a blue sweater and was smiling at me. I've already had very good experiences with Dae-mo nim during the forty-day workshop. She nodded to the newly created couple, which we were, and then we left the room.
Her name is Yiseon, and she can speak English because she had done missionary work in Australia. I was attracted mainly to her appearance, but after talking to her, I fell in love with her purity and personality. It was not only mind -- body unity; truly felt it was more God -- body unity. I felt quite proud of having gone through such an experience.
The reason I came to the blessing this time was because of something that happened to me during an Austrian HARP workshop. I was on the kitchen staff over the summer. We had a twenty-one-minute prayer, and I asked God whether I should go to the blessing in October. Suddenly, I felt a clear Yes. But it was already the end of August, so I didn't have much time left and my family was short on money. So, I asked God if it was okay for me to go to a blessing after this one. He told me this was also okay. But when I again asked whether He wanted me to go to this particular one, I again heard a very clear Yes. Between August and now, I got rid of all my prejudices, because I was able to trust in God. Also, while I was praying here in Korea, I told God "I'm not here for myself, but because You asked me to come." However, I thought if True Father happens to ask for preferences (for this is what he sometimes does) I would prefer someone shorter than I am and someone I can communicate well with.
How did I feel when Father's intentions became clear? I remember my thumbs were right over left, so I was moved to the back of the room and could watch the whole thing from a safe distance. I started laughing when Father told them to find each other. Thinking he was challenging just them, I was happy to know I wasn't in their group. I was very calm until we were asked to make a row opposite the other group of girls and told to find someone. Father told us not to look at the face, but I didn't know what else to do.... I had no clue. What I tried was to look at each girl and hope that I would get inspiration on whom to choose. After the first round, I still had no clue. I thought, Should I choose someone especially pretty, or ugly? Western or Asian? Thinking that way didn't help either. I needed inspiration and couldn't find someone on my own. Nothing came to me the first few rounds. After a while, guys had to stop and girls had their turn.
The girls were making their rounds, and on their third time around, someone approached me. I don't know why, but I just willingly took her hand and thought, "This is okay." We bowed, and Rev. Schanker of the American Blessed Family Department stopped me. He showed me her name card and mine and said, "She's a lot older than you. Is that a problem for you?" He'd noticed that I'm five years younger than she is. I stood there for a few seconds and tried to think about it (which didn't work) and decided it didn't bother me at all. She's from Korea, and she speaks surprisingly good English. I'm very happy right now. It simply feels right.
It the beginning, after True Parents had entered the room, I prayed, "Dear Heavenly Father, I have read through the Principle many times, and I want to offer that to True Parents as a condition to receive my spouse."
As it became clear that I had to choose the partner myself, I felt somehow helpless. I understood what True Father said, but I had no idea why and also no idea how to choose my own spouse. This was so different compared to my expectations of being matched by True Father.
I couldn't fathom what was going on. The boys were told to walk past the row of girls to find their spouse. In total, I walked past all the girls six times. During that time, I fought an internal struggle. On the first round, I looked only at the name badges of the girls or at the floor. I asked God what he expected of me, because I actually had spent my whole life preparing to be able to accept anyone True Father matched me to.
Walking around the second time, I started looking at the girls, but suddenly Father suggested we go on inspiration and the body proportions, but this body-proportion hint didn't really help. I looked at all the girls and I recognized that many of them were good looking, but I still didn't know which was the one. After the sixth round, not many boys had proposed, so the girls were asked to walk past the boys' row. At that time, I was very sure that the girls were, by far, too shy to choose, so I did not look at them but concentrated on my prayer. I desperately wanted a hint from God or True Parents on whom to choose.
The second or third time that the girls walked around, suddenly a girl stretched out her hand to me. In that moment, I couldn't think clearly, and I still couldn't wrap my head around this "choose your own spouse" thing. Also I just didn't feel ready to make such a decision. I just couldn't say yes! All I could do was shake my head; she nodded her head and went on. To clarify I think in that moment I would have rejected anyone, because I didn't feel ready; it was not because of her.
I felt sad for her, because I thought it must have been so difficult to propose, and then she was rejected.
After the girls had walked past us another three times, True Parents stood up and slowly went through the rows, preparing to leave. I was the last one in the second row and saw True Parents coming in my direction. I thought that perhaps Father would start matching those who had not found a partner. Quickly, I realized this wasn't the case. So I focused on True Father and in my mind asked him to give me a hint or to match me directly. Suddenly, he stopped two guys before me and looked at us, the last three boys in the row, and spoke to us.
I cannot remember exactly what he said but he asked us if we understood how important this was and what a great responsibility he wanted to give us. All I could think of was "No, I don't understand! I have no idea what you expect from me." Then True Father started to walk again and by passing us three boys True Father hit each of us on the chest. The moment True Father hit my chest I felt something hit me deep inside; warmth, energy suddenly spread throughout my body. Now all I could think of was "Now I have to find my spouse!"
I watched True Parents while they left the room and all the staff members ran after them asking questions, if the matching will be valid after they left and if they could mix the two groups. He answered that it would be valid and that mixing would be okay. Then Father waved good-bye, saying, "See you at the blessing."
Now the two rows were combined into one and there was chaos. I made a 360° turn, to see where the girls had gathered. After I finished my 360° turn, suddenly a girl stood in front of me. She stretched out her hand and bowed slightly, and I took her hand.
1 In the end, intuition and trust in God and True Parents played greater roles than strict division by thumb group. After not everyone was successful at finding a match from the opposite thumb group, Father had some candidates go through the process with members of the same thumb group.
2 Concern exists that members will take this experience as a general change of matching policy. Father has not indicated that he will allow future matching candidates to find their spouses in this way.