The Words of the Fenoli Family
Young people gather from Luciano's area for a sports event that he organized for them. Members from a nearby center come to help.
After I had been doing home church in England in one particular area for several months,
Father asked us to get 40 days of pioneering experience in another area. In fact, all over the world he asked members to go out for 40 days. He had told us we should have two areas, one Cain and one Abel. I chose another city in England called Burton-on-Trent.
During those 40 days, I kept a diary for the first time in my life. The first three nights I slept and prayed under a bridge near the train station where nobody could see me. I was very fearful that I would be caught and put in jail or kicked out of town. Father said to choose an area where many people go so you can meet them easily. After three nights I prayed and chose an area with a park where many people went strolling. My area also had an Anglican cathedral, the town hall, and the offices of the Conservative Party. I felt that my area was the central point of that whole town, where I could deal with everybody, and I felt I could save the area in seven months, as Father said we should be able to do. In fact, that area became historical for me, because I felt I could really become a tribal messiah there.
I visited the town hall and got an appointment with the mayor. Then I went to the cathedral and met the head priest, and I started a prayer condition there. Next I went to the Conservative Party office and I met the MP (Minister of Parliament). I remember him well because he later testified in front of the Queen about our work in home church.
The head priest, or curate, of the cathedral was 75. He lived a very dedicated life. I asked him if I could clean the church and his house, and he said, "My house is not important, but you can clean the church." Every week he invited me for lunch with him. Eventually he told me, "The Unification Church is persecuted now, but your church is young. Be patient. The day will come when everyone will recognize you." He gave me a room in the church to use for the meetings and conferences that I organized for people in my area, even though he was persecuted by his own parish for this. Once I had a dream where I saw Father transform him.
One day I asked him, "What can I do for you, Father?" And he said, "Well, I have these leaflets inviting people for Sunday service. Could you distribute them?" So, every week I gave out invitations for his service. Most of his members were in my area, so I could tell the people, "I am the only one in that huge cathedral who attends Holy Communion and mass every morning and I am a Moonie! This is your church, so you should go!" And they would say, "Yes, we will try to go."
Luciano with his home church "Mom," Mrs. Vine.
I always start home church by going around my area three times, getting all the names and writing them down. I met a Jewish lady, 80 years old, who asked me right away, "Where are you staying, young man?" When I told her I didn't know yet, she said, "If you don't find a place, I have a room for you to stay here." I said, "But you don't know me!" She said, "You have a nice face. I like you, so if you don't find a place, please come."
But I found a young man, 25 years old, who offered me a place for one week, so I went to stay with him first. Then he changed his mind about having me live with him, so he said, "I'm going to sell the house and move out of this neighborhood." I thought, "I guess he didn't want to be saved!" and I went to stay with the Jewish lady, Mrs. Vine. She said, "Welcome! I was waiting for you!" She was living alone, and she said, "My own family members are just interested in my money.
What do you really do around here? I want to help you." When I told her I was a missionary of the Unification Church, she said, "But I'm Jewish; isn't that a problem for you?" I said, "Not at all. I love everybody, Jewish, Hindu, whatever." So on Fridays we both lit our candles and prayed together. I was there for seven months, because after the 40 days pioneering was over, the regional leader asked all the successful pioneers to stay in their areas. Now Mrs. Vine is in spirit world, but before she died she became a member. She even let us do a 21-day workshop in her house with her.
I decided to make a 21-day condition to serve the people in my area, because without service, I felt I had no foundation to speak. After you serve and pray for them, then people want to know who you are, and it is time to testify and face persecution. I knew persecution had to come, so I did exactly what Father instructed. I visited 53 houses a day, and if I couldn't finish my visiting, then I would touch the handles of the doors and pray, "Father, please bless this family and tell all their ancestors that I came." Then I would come back to Mrs. Vine's house and we would have prayer together and share the day. When it got late, she would tell me, "My son, Luchi, go to bed! Don't sleep tonight in the chair, okay?" I would say "Yes, Mom, good night!" and go upstairs. Then when I heard her snoring, I would come down and finish my roster or go out to visit some more h. 'uses. And later, of course, I would fall asleep at the table. In the morning she would say, "Luchi, again you slept in the chair! Oh, no, you're going to die, you'll get sick!" And I would say, "Oh Mom, I'm sorry!" Every day it was like that!
I also had to do fundraising, and she was my bookkeeper. I would say, "Mom, I'm going out to fundraise and will quickly come back so we can eat dinner together tonight." "Of course, Luchi," she would say, "you fundraise and I'll pray, and then in one hour you'll be back without any product left." It happened many times that I finished in one hour! So I would call her, "Mom, I'm finished!" And she'd say, "Good. Come back, my son, and let's have a prayer." Eventually she even told me, "I'm too old; otherwise legally I would adopt you; I would give you everything I have." She had been unable to walk around very much, but after I stayed with her she began to get resurrected. She would go out shopping with me, and testify to everybody about me. She was happy. She even called the MP and testified about what Father was doing. She was a real John the Baptist. Of course, she didn't treat me like a son from the very beginning. Her heart was won step by step as I served her in the smallest ways.
You can have such experiences like this by following Father's instructions. Your spirit becomes very high and you can really feel you are like Father. I had many dreams and visions of Father when I was walking around or doing service in my area.
The problem is, how do we incarnate Father's words? We must put them into practice and become a source of inspiration for other people. All your 360 homes are waiting for you, needing you, because they have no power to come to God themselves. They are in the Cain position. We come to bring them into the Abel position, and then together with them, we can create heaven. If, for instance, you fix a house or repair a roof or do some service, they are shocked. It is like co-creating with God.
For example, I visited one old couple and told them, "I will paint your kitchen tomorrow; I will bring the paint and brushes and I will do it in one job, no matter how many hours it takes." They had been asking the town hall to do that for three or four years, so of course they didn't believe I would keep my promise. But the next day I was there. I started at nine o'clock in the morning and I worked all day without stopping, painting the whole house inside, until nine o'clock the next evening. I he old man stood there a long time and watched me because he couldn't believe it was true. Someone told the local newspaper about my service to old people, and on the second morning at 10 o'clock, a reporter from the local newspaper came and asked me why I was painting. I just answered, "If the town hall had done this, or if one of the many churches around here had done it, why would I need to come all the way over here from Italy? I came to show you Jesus' tradition of helping and loving each other.
As I do, you can do."
Burton-on-Trent in England, where Luciano made his greatest victory in home church.
At first the reporters were very impressed, but after some time they realized I was a Moonie and they started persecuting me. However, we know that has to happen. Father told us, "I went through persecution; in your area, you will go through persecution." We just have to prepare enough people as John the Baptists who will speak out and protect us because of our service and love.
In the first 21 days of my condition, I invited all the families in my area for a meeting in the town hall to talk about how to improve the community. About 84 families promised to come. They said, "Finally somebody cares enough to do this. We'll be there." They even gave money to establish a Parents' Association, which was my goal. On the day of the conference, however, the local newspaper came out with a front-page article called, "Look Out, There is a Moonie About." They warned people not to go to the meeting because I would brainwash them. I found out it was a Christian group who had called the editor and told him to write the story. Only 13 families came to the meeting, but they defended me when three Christians from that group arrived to make trouble and to accuse me with quotes from the Bible. My guests said to them, you get out of here! As church leaders, you didn't do anything in 15 years to help this town. Now this young man comes from Italy and tries to help everybody. How could you make up such a story? We want to hear Mr. Fenoli speak about how we can improve the community!" So they left. The next day a second article on the front page came out with their apology!
But in that town there was another newspaper editor who actually helped me every time I held an event. For example, once I organized a running competition and a soccer game for young people and offered prizes for the winners. I also organized a young people's party and a Golden Age Party for senior citizens. The editor always put in a little article to advertise the things I was doing.
Sometimes when we see someone's good result, we don't know what is behind the success. I had been ready to suffer and die in my previous area, and after seven months of suffering and persecution and sleeping outside and getting sick many times there, the blessing came later in Burton-on-Trent.
I have to really testify that what Father has said about home church became true again and again for me. For example, Father said that our home church contacts would testify to our own families for us. When my sister, who had been opposed to the church for seven years, came to visit me and met my best people, they started fighting among themselves to have her stay in their house! When my sister went back to Italy she wrote me a letter and said, "I saw your work and I don't understand why the people don't help you more to fulfill your mission there." How she changed!
And another thing came true. Father said that we could restore our area quickly by working very hard and sacrificing personal comforts. After sleeping only three hours a night for seven months, I calculated that I had only five people in my whole area who were very negative. I lived and slept in my area, and everybody helped me and gave me food because they saw me busy day and night. A friend of one home church contact even gave me a bicycle so I could save a lot of time getting around.
The results of my effort were long lasting. Two years after I left Burton-on-Trent, Mrs. Vine sent me an article from the town paper in which some person testified, "We should make a monument for that guy. We still remember him after two years." This is incredible, but Father said that our home church people would want to make a statue of us someday! These things happen when you go over limitations. Father says when you pay a lot of indemnity, eventually the moment comes when Satan has to give up.
Of course I also had lonely and miserable times in Burton-on-Trent. When this happened, the Anglican priest was always there for me and he gave me a lot of inspiration and courage from his 75 years of life experience. I went to him as I would go to an elder brother. And Mrs. Vine was like a mother. When I was down, I would spend a day with her and she would sing for me and lift me up and tell me, "Oh you do a good job! This moment will pass."
Luciano with friends he met in America, where he continued to do home church.
I also learned that sometimes we go through an empty moment because we don't connect our work with our central figure. I remember once after struggling one week by myself and not knowing what to do anymore, I called the church headquarters far away. In that one call I got new direction and a feeling of unity. So I discovered that there is a principled way we must keep. I have a relationship as a Cain toward my Abel, my central figure, and also as an Abel toward my Cain, my home church contacts. If I don't have a good relationship with my Abel, and no good foundation of faith, then the members in my home church will rebel and persecute me, or somehow Satan will attack. I need God to guide me not just directly, but also through my central figure. It became clear to me that in that sense, it doesn't matter how much you do in your area; if it is centered on "myself," it becomes a problem.
After England, I worked briefly in Germany, Austria, and Belgium. Then I went back to Italy, where I fundraised for seven months. I did home church while fundraising. In Italy we fundraise with our church newspaper, New Era, which has one of Father's speeches in every issue. I introduced myself to people as a missionary from the Unification Center and testified about our work. They responded, "Oh yes, your group has been there for three years s, but we never really understood what you are doing." So I would sit down and explain. I got many donations because finally people understood our purpose. I put leaflets about our Sunday service in all the New Era magazines and invited many people to come.
One lady had seen members going out fundraising and coming back every day. The center leader said to me, "I always say hello to her." I asked him if he ever visited her. He said he didn't really think it was necessary to visit people now, even though he had been successful in home church in the past, because he was very busy fundraising all the time. But I went to see her and she said, "Oh you are from the Unification Center! Please come in. I want to know more about you because for three years I have seen your people going in and coming out but nobody explained to me exactly what you are doing." I talked to her and invited her to Sunday service, and she came up right away the first Sunday.
Then she came during the evenings for lectures and I taught her the 7-day and 21-day workshop content. She became a home member and now is one of my spiritual daughters.
I also met an elderly couple whom I invited many times to come to our Sunday service. When I told them that I was going to America, they said, "Oh, we have two sons in New Jersey. Can you go and visit them?" Another lady had relatives in New York City, and she gave me cheese to bring for them. So when I came to America I was still doing home church! I brought the cheese to the lady's relatives and I prayed in their house for God to bless them. They were high-class people -- engineers -- and they gave me a 100 dollar donation. Father said that our home church contacts will be spread all over the world!
All in all, I had about 40 contacts from that time in Italy who became associate members or got a subscription to New Era. Because of all the work brothers and sisters were doing in that city, the director of a local TV station invited us to come and speak, saying, "You are severely persecuted, but you have the right to defend yourselves." So the national leader and several members came and testified for three days. It was really wonderful.
After that, I came to America and I kept doing home church. When Father went to prison, I felt very strongly that I wanted to help him by visiting ministers. As I was visiting churches, I did home church. We need to keep home church in our minds and hearts. Then we have no confusion about whether we are doing home church or not. I took care of 72 churches, and sometimes I went until midnight in order to visit 14 churches every day. When the minister was not there, I would touch the handles of the church doors and pray. Sometimes the pastor was there but he didn't have so much time, so I would just ask, "Can we pray together?" Then I would quickly go to the next church.
I found 14 ministers to go to Korea for ICC. They could witness to many others, so I didn't have to do the whole job! One minister who went to Korea last year accepted the mission to take care of all of my contacts. I gave him 32 ministers' names, and he invited them all to Korea.
In conclusion, I would like to say again that home church is everything we do.
Whatever mission we are doing, we must have an area and keep a roster and pass our contacts to someone else when we have to leave. The important thing is to give this work to somebody; otherwise, you lose everything.
Hyo Jin Nim has been saying that we should be tribal messiahs. We have received so much, and we need to go out and give. We just have to overcome our fear or hesitation about how to go out and why. We have to take this fear from our minds, because this is the way Satan tries to stop us. If we just go to our area and be with the people, even sleep there, then all the spirit world will be ready to really help us. Even if you witness to somebody in the street, you can go to their home with a brother or sister and see who they are and what they do. Then you can invite them to the church. This is still home church witnessing.
I am glad for this opportunity to share my feeling and my experience of incarnating home church for the last 14 years. I hope the tests I have gone through can help others. I pray for victory for us all.