The Words of the Yakawich Family
Bringing the Word into the Community
June 26, 2006
On Sunday and Monday, June 25-26, 2006, the Family Church of Billings, Montana hosted their Annual South Park Retreat. Over 60 people attended throughout the two-day retreat. On the first day, the retreat began with an inspirational testimony by Meekyung MacMurdie. She is a college student, second generation from Whitehall, Montana. Her family traveled with her about 3 1/2 hours from Billings. Meekyung gave a very inspiring testimony of her pilgrimage to Israel in May of this year. This testimony inspired both the young and old to the adventures and excitement of living in the culture of heart with our True Parents.
Our program continued with a very uplifting Sunday Service that many neighborhood home church members attended. We later moved to South Park, about one block away for an evening of sharing, testimonies, and a wonderful meal. It was even more inspiring to have Grandpa Joseph Yakawich who traveled from Butte, Montana ,about four hours away to attend and be part of the retreat.
The next day, we gathered in South Park, which is a block from the Family Church. We began at 9:00 a.m. with an inspirational prayer by Elder Paul DiLorenzo, music by the Family Church Youth Band and then a morning of amazing lectures. Sixteen youths from 5 to 17 gave 3-7 minute lectures on the Divine Principle.
One unique presentation was given by the Woods family on the Last Days. As a team, with their mother, Astrid, each of the three youth took turns speaking on that topic, with a wonderful conclusion by their father, Clint. With the sun shining onto all the participants, the trees in full bloom, birds chirping and the community surrounding us, the day began. Our chalk boards, chairs, speakers, microphones, tables and video taping were set up for a wonderful day of presentations.
Over the past month, the youth have been preparing for this day. They had been assigned sections of the Divine Principle, from the Principle of Creation, to the Fall of Man, The Last Days, The Principles of Restoration, Christology, and the Last Four Hundred Years in Preparation for the Lord of the Second Advent. The charts and diagrams were drawn on very large poster board and sheets of paper taken from the Divine Principle Level Four book. Their presentations were very colorful and creative. We even had two teams of two youth working together to give presentations on two very large diagrams they constructed during the weeks of Sunday School following up to this retreat.
The day went by very quickly with questions and answers and some breaks. The adults also gave a few presentations, such as Elder Chad Martin giving a talk on "Why We Should Study the Principle" and Mrs. Yukiko Yakawich giving a very heartistic and internal talk on "Reality Check: Living a Morally Pure Lifestyle". Mrs. Marguerite Felig gave a final internal guidance talk on "Gratitude and Godís Grace".
During the talks, we had an entire row of home church members attentively and sincerely listening to all the lectures. These young men and women in their late teens and early 20ís, some with their parents, touch our hearts as you could feel their sincere desire to understand the truth being taught. It was wonderful to see so many from the community come and attend our South Park Retreat. Actually, there were over 30 home church members attending this retreat in total. Thus, including our Blessed couples and families we had an amazing turnout.
This event is even more special since we are able to videotape the entire program and then place it on our Community 7 Family Church T.V. Program. This is aired every other Thursday for one half hour. Many people view this in our community and are very inspired to see it. The youth especially touch their hearts, and they are impressed that at such a young age they are giving lectures on their faith.
A local ACLC minister who often attends our church attended the entire lectures, gave a heart-moving prayer in the closing of the lectures, and a prayer over the meal. Then a beautiful and delicious lunch was prepared by Mrs. Kimiko DiLorenzo, Mrs. Junko Thiessen and Mrs. Fusako Martin. Following lunch, the participants walked back to the church for a "Prayer Walk" inside the church. We stood in the upstairs and downstairs of the church and then held hands as a youth gave a representative prayer for the church and the work that it will conduct in the coming months. After this, we all proceeded to the local lake, Lake Elmo, for a few hours of recreational swimming, castle building and fun.
The retreat then come back together at South Park that evening for a closing program with presentations of graduation certificates, prayer, sports, sharing and a fantastic barbeque by Dareld Thiessen and Paul DiLorenzo. In just two days, we were able to share Godís Words, draw together our community of believers and have some wonderful fellowship.
Families from as far away as Greatfalls, Montana, (5 hours away) joined us in this retreat. Even a neighborhood youth taught the Principle for the first time, guided and supported by the older second generation on the "First Blessing" from Genesis 1:28. Often people from the neighborhood would stop by and sit and listen to some of the presentations. Indeed, it reminded me of St. Paul, who traveled to the seaside or market place and set up his table and chair to share the words of our Lord. We are all called to be a witness and share our faith with others. There was no better testimony than this when men and women of all ages preach and teach the Word of God and let their light shine for all to see.
We are very much grateful for Bishop Lee and Rev. Wiesingerís encouragement over the years to keep this retreat going. Their prayers and guidance have been an inspiration for all of us. We are also grateful to the Thiessen family for their hard work behind the scenes from promoting this event to barbequing over the grill. We felt the love of Jesus and the life-changing and life-recharging spiritual energy and guidance of the incredible words of truth taught through the Divine Principle. We were truly blessed to bring the Word into the community.
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