The Words of the Sutchar Family
Testimony of One Family's Experience at the Chicago New Beginning Workshop
February 20, 2007
Bishop Connie Crawford Bansa has been a true daughter of our True Parents for many years. She is married to a physician from Ghana and is the queen mother to many African tribes. Her father, Bishop Melvin Crawford, was a leader in the civil fights struggle in Chicago to bring equal housing to African-Americans. His efforts alongside civil rights icons such as the Rev. A. I. Dunlap eventually brought in Dr. King . Together they were able to bring true integration to the Marquette Park area of Chicago, one of the most bigoted and hateful areas of the city -- the area where Dr. King was hit in the head with a brick during his efforts.
Bishop Bansa has been walking with our True Parents for many miles. Her own revelation was that she was chosen by God to tear down the walls that separate her fellow human beings. Her world-famous annual event is called the Jericho Walk. But she is not just tearing down the walls of racism -- she is tearing down the walls of religious bigotry, of hatred, of violence and of sexism as well. She has attended just about every providential event over the past ten years and has had the ear of Reverend Jenkins for hundreds of hours over this same time frame.
I was honored to accompany her to Atlanta during True Parentsí 50-city tour of America. Although we missed our plane, she arrived in time to "bring down the house," as she prepared the audience to receive our True Parents. The following morning after Hoon Dok Hae, True Father autographed her program, claiming her as his true spiritual daughter.
Always being on the cutting edge, Bishop Bansaís family has paid its share of indemnity over the years. Her father had many crosses burned on his front lawn as he attempted to bring down the walls of racism. Ten years ago he was almost killed when he was thrown from their car in an accident immediately following a speech by True Parents.
On January 1, 2007, after leaving their midnight prayer service, their son Kofi was in a horrific car accident on the way home. Kofi is a sophomore at the University of Illinois. He had every bone in his face broken as well as losing all of his teeth. His aunt Lizzie, asleep in the back seat, was killed instantly. The doctors said that if Kofiís head had hit one inch higher, he would have been killed as well. But the miracle is that he sustained absolutely no brain damage whatsoever.
I was able to visit him and pray with him just as he was being wheeled in for what turned out to be an eleven-hour surgical procedure to repair the broken bones in his face. Two weeks later Reverend Jenkins would make a special trip to Chicago for the sole purpose of visiting him as well.
One more point of faith. We all know that one must be careful what one prays. We all remember the story of our brother who prayed that he could remove all the sins of New York City. Well, Kofi, obviously did not read that speech. Bishop Bansa had been dealing with colon cancer for some time. She battled against having surgery. Shortly before the end of the year, Kofi offered a prayer to God that he could pay the indemnity so that his mother would not have to suffer. In addition to the broken bones in his face, Kofi had the left side of his colon removed -- exactly where the cancer had been sitting in Bishop Bansa.
We all know how much Dr. Yang and Reverend Jenkins have been pushing us to bring all of our inactive brothers and sisters to one of Dae Mo Nimís events in America. In this context, my wife and I went out to pray last weekend. Just in case you havenít been following the weather reports in the Midwest, we had 3 weeks when the temperature never reached 30 degrees. Once it reached 31 degrees, we experienced 30 straight hours of snow. Then it got cold again: wind chills down to -46 degrees at the extremes, while more regularly merely -10 to -20 on a daily basis.
The Sunday before Dae Mo Nim arrived in Chicago, my wife and I went for a prayer walk on a frozen lake. The answer to our prayer was that it was too difficult to bring these inactive members merely through our horizontal appeal. We felt that we should send out Reverend Jenkinsí message "of the heart" as a condition for them to attend the workshop.
Right after we prayed with Bishop Bansaís son in the hospital, Bishop Bansa said that as soon as Kofi was well enough, she wanted to bring him to meet Dae Mo Nim in Chung Pyung. I told her that she didnít have to do that since Dae Mo Nim was coming to Chicago in February. Of course, when I gave her the actual dates, she had about 45 other activities planned for that weekend, including an authentic Ghanian tribal celebration for Kofiís birthday.
My wife and I followed our own prayer directions, and we sent Bishop Bansa Reverend. Jenkinsí message and continually encouraged her to attend the workshop. Then, in the middle of the workshop, all of a sudden Rev. Carl Swearson came up to me and asked me where Bishop Bansa had come from? She had arrived along with Kofi and her husband in time for Dae Mo Nim. The next thing we knew, she was sitting in the front row beside Dr.Yang, and then she was on the stage, singing "God Bless America."
And now for the "rest of the story." As the workshop ended, Bishop Ki Hoon Kim guided us upstairs into Dae Mo Nimís room. Although she had only a one-hour break between the New Beginning forgiveness ceremony and the Ancestor Blessing, she wholeheartedly welcomed Bishop Bansaís entire family into her room. There, as Bishop Kim translated, she immediately began to do ansu and healed Kofiís wounds. Then Bishop Bansa asked for permission to pray for Dae Mo Nim. As she concluded her prayer she reported that the spirit world had ordered her to her knees, and she continued to cry and pray, touching Dae Mo Nimís feet. It was so clear that the spirit world was showing her who Hoon Sook Nim actually was.
As we left Dae Mo Nim we immediately ran into the Triggol family in the hallway. Sixteen-year-old Tanya was beaming and so loving as she greeted Pastor Bansa. Linda Triggol was a good friend of Bishop Bansa and had preached in her church. Now Bishop Bansa wanted to return the favor by praying for Lindaís beautiful family. She prophesied wonderful things and how Lindaís power would fall upon her beautiful daughter. As if that were not enough, we then realized the African connection (John Triggol is from Zimbawe and Dr. Bansa is from Ghana). Needless to say, the fellowship continued in the hallway for quite some time.
Tomorrow, Kofi will celebrate his twenty-first birthday. It is one that he might not have ever experienced, if, in fact, the angels of God were not out in force. But with his prayer of faith and his parentsí love of God and True Parents, his bones will heal and his body will be renewed. So sisters, if there is anyone out here who would like to get blessed to a truly handsome African prince, keep yourself in prayer. The Bansas have a very special relationship with the King and Queen of Heaven and Earth. True Parents are always smiling whenever Bishop Bansa joins them on the stage. Be ready! God bless you!
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