The Words of the Yakawich Family
In a recent discussion with a well-known and respected UTS brother, I felt moved to share my testimony about the events leading me to my current work, and my experience with Hyun Jin. People may have heard parts of this, or a different version of the events, but I'm offering this in hopes to help others understand how God led me to the place I am in, now. I have removed the personal remarks to the brother, to respect his confidentiality.
As you know, I had been a pastor for Unification Church for 20+ years. It was a great experience. It was an honor pioneering Montana. I have no regrets. I know I was not a perfect Unification Church leader and made my own mistakes, especially not loving people enough. It was a great time and my wife and children were my loyal and loving supporters through it all. (Some may know that previously I was able to give an intensive class at UTS on my work, to share and to inspire and encourage social action. Even then there seemed to be little interest, but at least I can say I tried to share the lessons I had learned.)
During this time, Hyun Jin Nim established a location here in Montana for his family, his business and for outdoor adventure. While a Unification Church pastor, I did not come under him at all. He did not ask anything of me nor I of him. There came a time where the ranch manager needed help. His wife could not take that role, so he asked my wife. Therefore, my wife did (and still does) work for him at the ranch as a cook and caretaker while business meetings take place. Periodically, she will get on a bus and travel to the closest city and go from there to work at the ranch. This is about 5-6 hours from Billings. He is always kind, appreciative and fair to her.
Over the course of this time, while he was at the ranch, I got to meet him and talk with him informally usually over a BBQ. He never gave me instructions, but rather inspired me to see my full potential. I did meet and greet him on a few occasions in Seattle when he was on tour with True Family. I was always prepared and could present a report to him and True Mother on our activities in Montana. Again, he seemed to see my potential and always encouraged me to raise the bar....run for public office, become the Governor, etc. For my wife, my family and I, he and his wife were always kind and embracing.
(This is not to say that I consider anyone to be perfect, including him. In my spiritual life, many Unification Church leaders and members have punched me, kicked me, spit on me, and done crazy things. Yet, for each of them, my commitment is that I want to love them all.) I am sure others had various experiences with him as they had with True Father or any other leader. I can only speak for myself.
In 2010, after I attended three different Unification Church leaders meetings, and after these, I was shocked. The Unification Church meeting in NYC indicated a shifting in the spirit of our movement. Frankly, the Holy Spirit was leaving (without going into much detail). Then I attended True Father's leaders meetings in Las Vegas and again from Father's lips he was so frustrated with True Mother and all the leadership. I was flabbergasted at his anger and frustration. At the same time, he never mentioned his son Hyun Jin Nim in a negative light. I could only conclude that some strange things were happening.
Keep in mind that while I may not be the best leader, and may have many lacks, in our local area we did have a vibrant local church. People were joining, the church elders were taking turns giving the sermon, we had a board, we had paid off two properties, we had money in the bank, our credibility in the community was at a high, I was conducting weddings/Blessings for home church members and funerals and their relatives were attending after the fact. We had second gen leading the youth, and there was a lot of excitement.
However, the impact of LLM (In Jin Moon'a Lovin' Life Ministry) -- the sermons and the spirit -- began impacting my local church where people (home church members) began leaving and new guests stopped joining. I felt we were in a downward spiral. I tried to explain my concerns to HQ but I was told by one leader to be quiet.
So, it was then that I decided to go to Mongolia to check out what Hyun Jin Nim's work was all about. This was NOT to leave my pastoral work, but to just see what he was up to.
It was an incredible experience. It brought back memories and real experiences of when I first joined our movement. Twice, I had an experience of the Holy Spirit that I had not had for years. Yet, my own choice was NOT to leave my position, but to come back with new energy. However, while I was on the airplane back to the US, I was dismissed. It was a turning point in my life and for my family as well.
I did a 7-day fast and in prayer, made the decision not to deny my experiences nor refute my loyalty to any True Child. It was profound. I was removed; I moved on.
Subsequently, the local church has become divided and is smaller and struggling. Word got out to the community as to how I was treated and made our local church even more alienated. Home church members, other second gen and BC have ceased to attend. My own family now conducts services at our home. It was a very unfortunate experience as, even now, the division has caused many hearts to suffer.
Yet, in my reflections, fasting and prayers, I felt God leading me on to another path. Since I would never resign, being removed may have been God working in spite of the circumstances. I began working with GPF (UCI's Global Peace Festival) and it has been a very exciting, new and fresh experience. The people I work with are amazingly motivated and push for excellence. In that spirit, God is opening doors and giving me opportunities I never had before. I have been elected to the City Council, I am meeting high-level officials here in Montana, and I have been able to work in other areas and states where I never did before.
In all of this, I can personally testify that Hyun Jin Nim leads by example. What I have known of him--and do know of him--he has been exemplary in representing his Family and the legacy of his Father. Whether in a meeting, or over a simple BBQ, he has been consistent in being a loving father/spouse to his family, a dynamic and committed leader, a passionate and persistent member of True Family who is genuinely seeking to accomplish this motto of "One Family Under God." For him, it is not just a motto or words, but like his father, a lifelong goal to accomplish.
Not only is this my testimony, but, my children have been reborn through GPF work. Two are now working for GPF and three others are involved through youth work. That alone amazes me. What the Unification Church could not do is what GPF is doing. I thank God that they and my wife are finding inspiration and spiritual life. I see it directly connected to the providential work that True Father started.
I never tried to speak bad about any True Family and I will continue my commitment to that decision. After all, I do not know them personally, other than Hyun Jin Nim. I was hurt, of course, by the dismissal and that not one of my "Unification Church colleagues" stood up or defended me. I sought no special treatment, nor asked for any. Thankfully, however, I could overcome my own self-pity and resentment and find forgiveness in my heart. I have striven to reach out to many even as I move on in my own life path. I have found peace.
At the same time, I have found great compassion and love from the many GPF brothers and sisters and continue to be inspired by their own passion, zest and commitment to God's providential work; I am only honored and grateful to work with them. I have personally found a renewed commitment to serve God and True Family in the way He is guiding me now.