The Words of the Yakawich Family
"The base of heart is not found in knowledge but in the life of its practice."*
This news begins where my last article ended. I had just completed my 20th funeral when within a week a 27 year old had died in a motorcycle accident. I was honored to conduct his funeral (my 21st) at a local school gym. There were over 500 people in attendance at the local high school gym.billingsgazette.com/article_13e9cba4-287f-50b5-9459-1168fe915223.html How sad of a day it was and yet the greatness and kindness of people emerged. This is where I have found deep, sincere and true love in the midst of tragedy. Touching people's hearts with hope, fond memories and comfort which I could provide is rooted in that which I have gained by our founder. It was good to know we can provide such a service. Later, a sign that this message of hope was given when a dozen people came to me after and asked that I would do their funeral when they passed!
Doing something for someone reminds me of the words that Rev. Moon would always say to us at the conclusion of his national leader's meetings. "Now go out and do it!" were his marching orders. I truly appreciated these words and took them to heart. How often we can be good believers but falter in placing our faith into action. Again and again, people do know us by our fruit. "We can know the most precious things (water, air, God, love, etc.) not through special education but only by following our parents. Therefore, Jesus said, "Follow me, not Study me." * (James 2:26)
While sitting at our board meeting for the Suicide Prevention Coalition for Yellowstone Valley, we discussed about cutting edge education on prevention call Resilience Education. We face a great crisis in our nation from this issue impacting the very young as well as the elderly. As we plan for a conference in October, I realize that God is calling us more and more to step up and address these and other serious social issues in our community. This was reiterated at a National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare seminar I attended this past week as well. "We must 'leg-up', show results and address the well-being of the entire family."
In May, we celebrated Earth Day by gathering with community partners and picking up 27 bags of garbage! It was a wonderful way to show the community that we care. Young and old participated. One person commented, "This is the best way to show God we love Him by taking care of His Creation!" Later, I was able to coordinate an International Leadership Training Participants who were young people from several countries who participated in another cleanup project where the Mayor of Billings commented that he was "proud" of these young people's service to our community. Later, he personally signed a photo of the group as well as the Bright and Beautiful organization sent a personal letter of gratitude to this team as well.
Recently, my father and I had gone out fishing on the Jefferson River. Fishing with my father helps me appreciate Creation and the value of a son and father relationship. I learned so much from my father. He has been my hero, Buck Sergeant Joseph Yakawich. www.theveteransvoice.com/Heroes/Hero-2008December.html He taught me of open-mindedness, generosity, loving ones enemy and appreciate nature. After serving our country in the Pacific during WW II and earning the Silver Star, he has been a great role model for me on loving one's enemy. He has totally embraced my wife (who was born in Japan) and found not only forgiveness but reconciliation. He also taught me the ethics, joy and fun of fishing and always wanting to catch more fish than anyone else on any give fishing trip!
A few weeks ago, we volunteered at a local "HUB Center" for those with special needs. We served food to about 150 homeless, transient, runaway, people in the community. I was humbled by the Director, Carmen's, love and compassion for the people. It was in service to those dejected and outlasted that I found deep kindness and concern for ones fellow man and woman. I ponder how many of us have sheltered our lives from those misfortune with fences and garages, income and events, lifestyles and attitudes that keep us away from those really in great need?
Serving and living for the greater good is a powerful lesson of love that I will always treasure from my founder, Rev. Moon. Last week, my family participated in a service project with a local Catholic Women's organization. They commented how such service is not only appreciated but expressed the character of the young people. Sister Mary Dostel later wrote, "Many hands make a large task much easier! We are very appreciative for all your help during our garage sale."
15th Annual March Against Drugs and Violence was a great success this year. (Tragically, the UN reported for 2010 figures worldwide, 200,000 lives were lost due to drug abuse.) It was especially noteworthy as many youth participated in training and presenting "prescription drug abuse prevention education" lead by the United Way and Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County. These youth, including a Global Peace Youth Corps college group, were given a certificate by the MT State Attorney General as well as a "Golden Note" to each of them from the U.S. Senator Jon Tester. Over 400 people participated in this year, the largest and most successful MADV we have had so far. A dozen organizations helped develop and lead this project over the past year. The local TV affiliates did a great job in covering this event.www.ktvq.com/news/15th-annual-march-against-drugs-and-violence-unites-billings/ 2 minutes and 46 seconds into the news was reported…..www.ktvq.com/videos/saturday-5-30-pm-news-6-9-12/ and 1 minute and 56 seconds into this newscast…www.ktvq.com/videos/q2-10-00-news-6-9-12/ On the day of the event, we had the Mayor, Chief of Police and MT Secretary of State offered words of encouragement and gratitude to all of those who organized and participated in this year, 2012, event.
My recent work with the Global Peace Festival Foundation has encouraged me with the hope that we can build One Family Under God.www.gpfusa.org/news/110-gpff-supports-building-of-gazebo I believe the challenge is for me whether on the local or national or international level, am I taking responsibility and ownership for the community where I am living? When, where and how can I serve and put my understanding into practice?
In June, as part of the Black Heritage Foundation, we helped co-sponsor the Annual Juneteenth Celebration. It is a day to celebrate the completion of the Emancipation Proclamations in Texas. We find amazing people who share a love for justice, freedom and compassion for this country and her people.
Often we talk about living for the greater good. The challenge is that we not only talk about this but apply it in our own lives by placing our faith into action. Sometimes we ponder what can we do or where are we needed? I have found the value of asking, seeking, knocking on doors, going out and finding ways to serve. In one case, a close pastor friend has an elderly mom who needed her home painted. Our youth and friends pulled together to work over three days to paint Mother Terry's home. She was very grateful and we felt such an act of kindness brings His love and presence into our midst. This is I believe drilling deep in our community and finding the love of God and humanity. Let's bring the Divine Spirit into our midst.
Happy 4th of July!
*Fountain of Life