The Words of the Tuma Family
Now: I Am a Prodigal Son Returned, My Personal Testimony
February 3, 2001
I would like to share my testimony:
I was blessed with the gift of life on June 21st, 1957 in Stillwater Minnesota. It was a precious gift given to me by Heavenly Father. What I have done, and what I choose to do with the rest of my life, will be my gift to Him. I want to make Him proud of me, and make Him happy that He gave me life.
I was born out of wedlock to James Roloff and Dorothy Lindberg and given the name Michael Anthony Lindberg. I spent my first nine months with Dorothy, but was taken away and put up for adoption due to less than ideal living conditions. In retrospect, this was actually a blessing. The next 15 months were spent with a foster family on a farm with lots of children, love and attention.
The Lutheran Social Service acted as the adoption agency through which Robert (Bob) and Elizabeth (Betty) Tuma from Le Center Minnesota adopted me as their son. My name was changed to Larry Robert Tuma.
Le Center is a small rural farming community in southern Minnesota. It is also the Le Sueur County Seat. Dad was the Le Sueur County Treasurer for 32 years and Mom was a full time wife and mother. She also ran a day care center for local children and still does a little babysitting. They had adopted a girl, Linda, previous to adopting me, and had a daughter of their own, Pamela, when mom was 35 years old. We attended St Paul Lutheran Church as a family every Sunday for as long as I can remember. I don't think I missed a Sunday service until I was 15. My childhood was almost ideal. With my Father being a strict disciplinarian and my mother a loving 'born again' Christian, I received the structure, education and love every child deserves. It wasn't always ideal, I wasn't always a good kid, and my parents weren't perfect, but I appreciate and love them for their efforts and sacrifices. My mother taught me how to garden, clean the house, wash dishes, sew and cook, while dad taught me how to do handy work, mow the yard, hunt and fish. I admired dad and wanted to be like him to the point that I lied one day during my eye exam just so I could get glasses like him. I was involved in a Christian youth program (Luther League) through the Lutheran Church and attended many summer Bible Camps where I first felt the unconditional Love of God. Whenever going through difficult times in my life I always reach back to those times and am reassured. I also participated in prayer groups during high school. At 16 I rededicated my life to Jesus after a period of backsliding.
After graduating from high school I volunteered for military service and entered the US Navy at 18 years of age. I was elected platoon leader in boot camp, and selected for the elite Navy S.E.A.L. Program. Due to eyesight that didn't meet their requirements, I ended up going to the Orient (WESPAC Tours) on the USS Oklahoma City (guided missile cruiser) as a cook. I was lucky enough to travel to many exotic countries including, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, Guam, Philippine Islands and Viet Nam. After a rough year I found myself in trouble and ended up in solitary confinement (the brig) for 70 days. We were in Pusan Korea at the time. The only reading material I was given while imprisoned, was the Bible. I read it through completely once, and read the Book of Revelations 6 or 7 times. I was brought up to anticipate Christ's return in my lifetime and was very intrigued with 'the last days'. I was given one other book a few days before being let out, and that book was 'The Omen'. This book was based on the Anti Christ. Needless to say, by the time I finished reading this book, I was ready to re-dedicate my life to God.
I was released from active duty with an honorable discharge in October of 1976. I was in California at the time and decided to check out the University of California-Berkeley Campus with a friend. We were in a bookstore, when a gentleman approached me from the 'Creative Community Project' who invited us to join him for a "free meal and short lecture". I took his flyer and said we might show. Well I guess we decided not to because we hit the highway and were hitch- hiking down the coast when a van full of smiling young people pulled over to give us a lift. It turned out they 'just happened' to be going to the same "meal and short lecture" I had been invited to earlier. My buddy opted to continue hitch hiking down the coast, and I was on my way to the biggest adventure of my life. (One will be taken and one left behind). After an evening of peanut butter sandwiches and vegetable soup, I found myself signing up for a 7 day workshop (which ended up being a 40 day workshop) at a place called Booneville, in Mendocino County, California. During this time, I experienced some very deep spiritual and emotional changes. I committed my life to this movement called the Unification Church and wanted to learn more about this couple I was now calling 'True Parents'.
After spending some time fundraising in San Francisco, I was assigned to the national MFT (mobile fundraising team). I fundraised, witnessed and street preached across America, spending time in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and 2 years in Boston. In the winter of 1979 I had caught a severe cold and chose not to participate in a cold shower condition. My central figure told me to leave, re-evaluate my commitment to God and True Parents, and gave me enough candy to sell to buy a bus ticket home to Minnesota. After spending 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for three years on MFT, to be so easily dismissed really took me by surprise. I was deeply hurt and confused. I had earned signed pictures of True Parents, pins and awards for fundraising and couldn't figure out why this had happened. I don't know why I didn't question his direction. In retrospect, I probably should have.
From 1980 to 1990 I, for the most part, wandered around in hell, separated from God. Using my fundraising experience, I became a travelling salesman for a few years, moved to Phoenix Arizona, owned a couple businesses, experimented with drugs and alcohol, and basically fell to the other end of the spectrum from which I had felt closest to God. I eventually lost my house, my business, and those who I thought were my friends. It didn't end there. I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle, and my dog 'Bear', a beautiful cinnamon Chow, ran away. My girlfriend was addicted to cocaine, and after numerous unsuccessful attempts to help her, I joined her. We finally broke up. I moved to Las Vegas where I hit rock bottom.
After a night of drinking and doing cocaine by myself, I broke down and tearfully asked Heavenly Father back into my heart and life. I moved back to Phoenix, moved in with my ex-girlfriend's (Lisa Diamant) Parents (Rob and Susann Benjamine), and with their love, support and guidance successfully broke my addiction to the partying lifestyle. Lisa was eventually murdered, shot in the back, because of the lifestyle she was trying to break free of. She was clean and sober for 120 days the day she was killed. I eventually started a successful computer integration company. I became involved as a youth counselor with The Church of the Nazarene and had some wonderful experiences. Out of curiosity, I called the Unification Church Headquarters in New York in January 1990 and communicated for a short time with a sister named Debbie Garth(?). I was excited when she informed me that Mrs. Moon was going to be speaking at the Point Resort, on South Mountain, in Tempe Arizona. I attended her speech and the old memories started coming back to me.
I knew in my heart that it was time for a change. One thing led to another; I closed my business, broke up with my friend and fiancé, and moved back to Minnesota. I needed the kind of love I knew only my family cold provide.
For the last 10 years I have been rearranging my priorities in life, with the help of Reverend Hun Suk Lee and his wife, Reverend Jim Bard, and other Unification Church members here in Minnesota. After going through a few more difficulties, and being asked to leave once again, by a Korean leader in Washington D.C., because I rejected a match for the Blessing in 1995, I have survived. I am not going anywhere. I am here to stay. I was blessed in marriage by Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, with a wonderful wife, Adriana Pallares from Mexico City, Mexico, on June 13th, 1998 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Along with 120 million other people around the world) I have come to the conclusion that unless my life is centered upon God, 100%, it has no value or substance. Unless I'm using the talents God has given me to enhance the quality of my life and those around me, and bringing people closer to Him, there is no peace. I want to be the best role model I can be to those around me. When I go to the spirit world and meet Heavenly Father, I want to be able to say to Him that I did my best in helping to heal the world.
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