The Words of the Seung Family
A Renewal Experience: The STF Families' Workshop
Ju Seung and Christine Froelich
April 17, 2006
Hyun Jin Nimís vision for STF not only includes the training of our second generation for leadership and ownership of Godís Providence. Hyun Jin Nim has also foreseen that when second generation find their faith and commit to a public life, their parents are also deeply resurrected. Nothing gives greater hope to our first generation brothers and sisters than the sight of bright and shining, enthusiastic young faces of second generation, burning with a passion to fulfill the dream of God, True Parents and True Family.
Excitement and anticipation rose in parents and children alike as they approached the historical STF Families Workshop, which took place at the Estes Park YMCA in Colorado, from April 7th to 9th. This workshop was truly an historical and ground breaking gathering: the largest STF Parents Workshop ever held in America. The workshop created a rare opportunity for the two generations to become one in heart through sharing heartfelt frontline experiences.
It was no surprise that the parents were excited and eager to see their children. It had been 8 months since they had sent their children to the STF program and they were anxious to see the transformation and growth of their sons and daughters. The STF members also felt certain level of anticipation, not knowing exactly how the spiritual and emotional foundation they had built in their relationship with God, True Parents and True Family over the past months would affect their relationships with their parents.
Overwhelming emotions filled the room as over 70 parents and siblings arrived one by one to the beautiful natural surroundings of Estes Park YMCA. The STF members, staff and family members totaled over 200. The depth of this meeting was apparent in the tears that were shed by both parents and children at the first site of one another. The parents who were able to attend were eager to also embrace all the STF members whose parents were not able to attend, creating a beautiful family atmosphere.
The theme of the workshop was to "Find My Role in God's Providence, which is the Expansion of the Culture of Heart." Rev. Phillip Schanker, Vice President of FFWPU of the US, gave the first day's lectures to STF members on the Four Great Realms of Heart, stressing the importance of family and the ideal that was to be accomplished through the fulfillment of the Culture of Heart. Rev. Schanker's frank and direct guidance led the members to reflect on their own families and the pain that still exists within us, and the pain we have caused to God, due to the shortcomings of our own families. At the same time, the lectures helped to heal the past, and give fresh hope and insight towards creating truly victorious Blessed families through the common vision and commitment of parents and children alike.
Rev. Joshua Cotter, Vice President of FFWPU of America gave an insightful and heartistic lecture on the Core Values on Friday afternoon. He testified to Hyun Jin Nimís loving heart in leading the movement as an elder brother. Through the lecture, the parents could understand more about Hyun Jin Nimís filial heart toward God and True Parents and his love toward all Blessed families.
The spirit of the workshop was raised noticeably on Saturday morning as the STF members and the parents prepared to receive Rev. Jin Man Kwak, Executive Vice President of World CARP, as a representative of Hyun Jin Nim. Rev. Jin Man Kwak intimately testified to Hyun Jin Nim on a personal level through his own experiences. There was a certain power and spiritual depth in Rev. Kwakís sincerity in conveying Hyun Jin Nimís heart toward Blessed families that brought all participants to a deeper heartistic connection with Hyun Jin Nim.
The previous night when the dayís schedule was over, Rev. Jin Man Kwak spent a few precious hours together with the 14 members who had volunteered to do a 3rd Year of STF. They are now a few months away from their graduation, and since they had taken greater responsibility as leaders in their 3rd Year, they had so much to share to him about their experiences, realizations, and determinations for the future. They expressed their deep gratitude to Hyun Jin Nim: the vision and the heart they could cultivate in these 3 years has transformed their life forever. They are enthusiastically committed to taking on the mission of CARP student leaders on campus.
Jove Meyer, 3rd Year witnesser, shared his deep conviction that without alignment to God, True Parents and True Family NOTHING we do matters. In the past he had tried to escape fulfilling his responsibility, or imagined himself living his own successful life, but now he realizes with absolute clarity that he cannot deny his calling. Adonia Bratti, 3rd year captain, shared in tears how Father had said that in his youth when he left his hometown which he loved so much he could hear the grass, the trees and the birds crying. She also loves her peaceful home and nature (her Isaac) but realizes now that she has to go this way, following Father.
Rev. Jenkins, FFWPU-USA President, also made time in his busy schedule to give an inspiring speech to the Blessed families. Rev. Jenkins encouraged everyone to have confidence in taking ownership over the American movement through Hoon Dok Hae family church. He also encouraged the STF members to quickly grow up to take responsibility for the American movement by first solidifying our identity as second generation.
A candid presentation on CARP was given by Mr. Mito, President of World CARP USA. He stressed the importance of families taking ownership of CARP in carrying on its vision and mission. This presentation clarified the course of STF graduates and provided internal as well as practical guidance in taking the next step in leadership after STF.
Throughout the workshop, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year STF members testified to their frontline experiences of the heart of God and True Parents, but perhaps the most heartfelt testimonies were given by the parents at the conclusion of the workshop as they shared about their transformation and growth experiences in seeing their sons and daughtersí growth and transformation.
One by one they spontaneously came up onto stage and expressed the heartfelt gratitude they felt to God, True Parents and True Family in seeing the beautiful hearts of second generation discovering their faith and inheriting ownership of Godís providence.
Mr. Scott Howard, (from Michigan) shared: "When I see you, I see the Father, all of you. This time has been incredible." In tears, he continues, "I have to apologize to my son, he is Abel. I have to bow down to him. I have to bow down to all of you. You may think that we are the parents, but you donít belong to any of the parents here. You belong to True Parents completely. You belong to True Family completely. Even looking at all these sisters, I would love to have any one of you as a daughter-in-law. I just wanted to say that to you all and to my son. Thank you for what you are doing."
Mrs. Susan Munsell, from LA: "The most hopeful thing I see is the purity of the hearts of the 2nd Generation on STF. Hyun Jin Nim made it possible for them to connect directly to the True Family. This is the hope for our movement. We are following them into the Kingdom"
Mr. Gary Abrahams (Tennessee) said: "When the parents hear the childrenís frontline testimonies, it touches them so deeply. They recognize that this is what they experienced in their early years. Father, through our formula course, provided a way for the 1st Generation to be connected to True Parents. We are so grateful to Hyun Jin Nim, who through STF is creating the opportunity for our children to experience God and True Parentsí heart so deeply."
Mrs. Terry Yamane (from Alabama): "I didnít want to come to the workshop because I didnít want my son to go to the second year of STF, but through the spirit and the deep testimonies of all of you STF members, God has spoken to me. I realized that I have to let God work through my son in the second year of STF."
Mr. Allen Jessen (Iowa): "The workshop revealed how deep is Hyun Jin Nimís love for True Parents and God. It also expressed how clearly Hyun Jin Nimís teaching to the 2nd Generation is exactly what Father has always taught us, but is expressed from the heart of a true filial son. True Parents should be proud of Hyun Jin Nim. We are leaving our baggage behind Ė the hurts and mistakes Ė to unite completely with True Parents and True Family. When 1st and 2nd Generation are united, there is True hope to liberate God and True Parentsí suffering heart and to rescue humanity. This is the great work I see Hyun Jin Nim is doing. Thank you."
At the conclusion of this historical workshop, parents and children embraced with tears. STF members could share how their experiences on the front line enabled them to appreciate their parentsí course and sacrifice as never before; parents could share their tremendous gratitude to Hyun Jin Nim and the STF staff, for leading their sons and daughters to the fulfillment of their destiny and the deepest dreams of their parents and our True Parents and True Family. They all felt a new sense of commitment to and strength towards the fulfillment of Godís dream and the creation of a Culture of Heart.
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