The Words of the Wilson Family
October 7, 2005
The three sisters teams from Akira san's group traveled to the Indiana church this past Sunday for church service; Flora, Katarina, and Homi onni(about 18 sisters in total). We were all very excited and had been preparing our hearts to offer and sing songs the whole week.
When we arrived at this beautiful, humble house in Indianapolis, Indiana we were instantly welcomed by Sunni and Shimmi Hartford (two of the elder sisters in the community). In fact, everyone there was so welcoming. As people arrived for service we automatically joined together in song, led by Mr. Strautman, and created a really spirited and unified atmosphere. Takako Lee testified about how close everyone was in that community, she felt a really familial atmosphere. "it was wonderful" she said, "all the kids grew up together and have this very natural brother and sister's heart towards one another." They all took care of each other and others too. When there were not enough seats, they all squished together to make room for some of the STF sisters. She felt wonderful being around these families.
Before the sermon STF sang 'Blessing of Glory' to everyone, the same one we prepared for True Parents in Chicago. There was also some time for testimonies and one brother, Luther Mitchell, gave a testimony emphasizing the importance of taking time to check yourself; seeing where you are at and where you want to go. He shared, from personal experience, how we must be clear before making decisions, keep a strong prayer life and study God's words. Lianne Wilson was very moved by these words and how we can each really apply these words to our lives especially during this time of STF. Also she gave a testimony of her experience on STF and how she gained a deeper relationship with GOD and True Parents experiencing more of the world by challenging herself. They have given us all so much and she is determined to give back to them and lift off their burden. Mr. Jamal Johnson gave the sermon entitled, "Growing up as a Child of GOD". He invested so much into us, making it very entertaining too. He covered points such as: our original value should come from GOD, not your peers around you. The 2nd Generation were engineered by GOD and heaven, not out of some temporary lust. We need to change that value system and the only way to become that child of GOD is through absolute faith, love, and obedience. "We need to think of ourselves as secret embassadors on a mission for GOD. We are in the position to save this world and answer GOD's call, secretly giving and not expecting anything in return." It was really beautiful.
Afterwards the whole community joined in a potluck lunch filled with delicous food from all different nations. It felt like one big family and didn't matter that many of us had never met before. Many parents and some kids too, were really interested in speaking with some of the sisters to find out what STF was really like. Most wanted us to spend some time with their children, to share and build strong relationships with them. So after we cleaned and put away all the food we took the kids to the park for sports. I believe there was an equal number of STFers to local Blessed Children, so everyone was mixing together and playing on the playground and "aju ball" on the tennis courts. We enjoyed pushing the kids on the merry-go-round. At some point we all came together for the ultimate game of "matanage"! Those little ones are so tough! Yun-A Johnson was given some good advice before coming to the church by another 1st Generation mother. She told Yun-A how she wished there were some strong role models for her younger children to be around and see. So she had this type of mentality, to interact more with them and practice a more elder sister's heart.
After a few hours we returned to church for our service project, plannned by Bobby-the Sunday leader. The elder Blessed Children hung around and together we cleaned the entire church, both inside and out. We split into groups to clean the bathrooms, windows, walls, floors, and the outside grounds too. STF really wanted to give back to this community and serve them in some way. We sang more songs while cleaning and experienced the joy of living for the sake of others. For us STF sisters, this would have been enough of an experience to claim this visit as victorious. But much to our surprise we were invited to stay overnight for pledge and to celebrate the FOUNDATION DAY FOR THE NATION OF THE UNIFIED WORLD! This was an added blessing!
That night all three teams came together for dinner and reflected upon the day. Many felt is was a very good experience. Flora onni shared about this joy of living for others, that even though we may be tired, looking back that joy is immeasurable. We were drawn to them and them to us. And how grateful she was to eveyone for all their hard work. She was very inspired today! The next morning was a very nice end to our visit. Some of the mothers set up a most beautiful offering table and Reverend Hartford led pledge service and Hoon Dok Hae based on True Father's most recent speech. I felt like he was the father of the whole church because of his embracing and compassionate attitude and heart toward the whole community and us too.
I know a lot of the STFers had really deep experiences being here with all of there brothers and sisters. It was hard to leave! Many left with a longing to return soon, joy in their hearts and a deep sense of gratitude. Ariella Carvell shared how many Blessed Children are going through hard times living in this kind of society. She suffered a lot too. But being here on STF is a privelege and she is really grateful to be in a situation to really try to help her younger brothers and sisters who are not on STF yet. We are the hope for GOD and True Parents. A lot of the sisters have this sort of mentality and can't wait to make the next visit even better and give even more! Let's be GOD's hope together, THANK YOU INDIANA FAMILY CHURCH!!!
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