The Words of the Read Family
In order to set the standard of education and tradition for the next three seven-year courses, Father initiated a new 120-day leadership training program. The first session began on February 12, following True Parents' birthday.
Participants include all of the European national leaders, their wives and two leaders of their choosing from their own countries, as well as 25 American state leaders and others.
Speaking to the trainees at Belvedere on Sunday, February 15, Father said that he "Initiated this training so that all leaders can re-start. Think back on your lives up until now, repent, reorganize and become a new leader." Father's instruction was to give the leaders a most difficult and challenging schedule. "I will push them down to the bottom," he said. "Then their followers, knowing the willing example they have set, can follow them. Also many people in the spirit world from their nation will be liberated through this training."
The program includes 60 days of education, during which time the participants will not only study but also engage in several 40-hour street-teaching conditions. Trainees rise at 5:30, and each day begins with street cleaning around the World Mission Center and internal guidance from Rev. Won Pil Kim or Rev. Kwak. The Principle is being presented by Mr. Sudo and Rev. Hose. The second half of the training will involve 14 days of fundraising (with the national MFT) and a 40-day witnessing crusade. Trainees will also witness each evening during the first half of training, with an overall goal of four spiritual children (1/1/1 [one member witnesses to one new member every one month]).
By the end of the workshop, each participant is expected to become a competent lecturer in Divine Principle, Unification Thought and VOC [Victory over Communism]. There will also be lecture contests to determine the top lecturer in each field.
Welcoming all participants, Rev. Kwak said, "At the beginning of a new era, Father wants to create a clear tradition of leadership. We must focus to inherit three things: tradition, education and realization (practice). Whoever can inherit Father's tradition will be his representative. No matter what else happens, the heavenly tradition will remain."
The 21-day workshops took on a new dimension at the beginning of this year. "The purpose of this training is to become a joyful offering on the altar of God." With these words, Mr. Sudo encouraged the 280 participants in the seventh national 21-day training session. This "national" training, however, was actually composed of members from nearly 21 nations, most of whom were matched in the engagement of 843 couples in December, 1980.
Including two cycles of the Principle, lectures on VOC and Unification Thought and three days of internal guidance, this historic training had many special moments as well. Father visited on the second day, encouraging the newly arrived foreign members to make their lives an offering, ready to follow God's direction to go anywhere. "Become an anchor in God's providence," he urged them.
The trainees also received testimony from Rev. Won Pil Kim, special guidance from Rev. Kwak, encouragement from Pres. Durst and one day of lectures on the significance of matching and the blessing from Mr. Sudo. Activities included a nighttime prayer vigil at the beach, street preaching and culminated in a day-long outing to Barrytown and a moving bonfire pledge.
In the meantime, Father instructed that the entire American membership should attend this training session, beginning with engaged members. According to Father's direction, members of the 705 couple engagement in New York in 1979 will attend one of the next five sessions. The program of each session will be basically the same as the seventh session. The training is under the guidance of Mr. Sudo, who is well known as one of the foremost educators of our movement.
Even though we may have experienced rebirth in joining this movement, it is not easy to maintain a high standard of faith and purity. Although members sometimes feel that being asked to join a workshop means something is wrong with them, actually education is an important aspect of our spiritual life. As we confront problems, search for deeper motivation and liberation from spiritual burdens, it is precious to have a chance to reflect, repent, refresh and start over. Participants from all over the world shared some of their most meaningful experiences at this seventh training.
"I am so grateful to be able to attend this 21-day training. Before coming I was so desperate to find some connection in my life of faith. I was at the point that if I didn't find something within a few months I would have left the family. Because I lacked any internal connection to God or True Parents, I felt my life was in no way different than if I weren't in the family. So I embraced this training desperately. Once again, I could see God working in my life and in the lives of brothers and sisters around me. It was so moving to see the changes in people and to see people opening their hearts and overcoming the weaknesses that Satan uses to dominate us."
"This was my first 21-day training since I joined the family 5.2 years ago. My mind and heart were like a dry sponge. Actually, I am surprised that I have lasted this long in the family, because I had a few key points or questions that I didn't know the answers to. What I appreciate the most about this training that I understand much more clearly about my personal sin and the sin of my family and world. Then I was able to shed tears of repentance. I also had a ferocious little vision, where I saw Heavenly Father holding my hand as we walked through a beautiful garden full of tall trees. I will be eternally grateful to Mr. Sudo for clarifying why Father is the Messiah and why and how Father is my Father. In the last five years I had had doubts about these two points but was embarrassed to ask anybody. I thought they would say, You don't know? And you have been a leader who has even taught the Divine Principle! Shame on you!'
"During the prayer vigil, the two points which came very strongly to me were that I had to become a `pillar of strength' and a 'source of joy.' This was very important for me to understand. Although I received this direction from Heavenly Father, I never put enough effort into these points. I realized that Satan was doing his utmost to stop me from becoming stronger. Until the end of that week I was still feeling bad about my prayer life, and in my heart I knew I really had to change. I felt the only way I would start to change in this point was to make a deep commitment before somebody, as well as to God. This chance came when I was able to make my `pledge' before God, True Parents and brothers and sisters at the campfire. For me to stand up and speak out this `pledge' was in itself a breakthrough, as I always shied away from speaking in public."
"I became desperate to find out how I could change for sake of others. Then I got the answer: I should pray more deeply, I should study more and I should each day have some deeper talk with somebody to raise his standard or give him inspiration. After that, I felt as if Heavenly Father smiled at me and said, At last you have knocked at the right door. This is the door to my house. Enter into the first room; you can stay there until I tell you further. That room is a bit dim now, and not so beautiful. But if you fulfill what you promised you can make it beautiful with your spirit and fill it with the fragrance of flowers. Just come on one step at a time. Then you can go to the next room and the next, and so forth until you will finally be invited into the sitting room, where I am together with True Parents.' "
"The Divine Principle itself was like a sword in my life. I felt deeply the judgment of the word. In the first week I heard Satan screaming inside of me, in fear of being kicked out of his resting place in my heart. I never fully realized how I have harbored Satan in myself, so I could not, until now, be strong enough to conquer him. I think I have now faced the reality of myself and determined to change, knowing it will be a hard fight."
"I was truly able to go beyond my limitations as far as being able to share my feelings and inspirations with my team. So many times I have felt inspired but was too shy or too unclear in my heart to express anything. I was amazed that I was able to street preach! That experience was so fulfilling and a definite plus to the 21-day training session. It helped me to overcome a lot of concepts."
"I want to see the victory of the ideal, stay united always with it -- not to limit myself to the present situation but always project my eyes towards the future. I want to lead a constant battle between the evil in me and around me and not to be afraid of the fight, for it is my salvation. I felt that God was turning over the page of my past and was giving to me new and white sheets to write on anew from now on."