The Words of the Kittel Family
On the evening of November 25, 40 participants from the South Asian Region gathered at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi for a seven-day workshop. Robert S. Kittel, our regional director, had prepared extensively to teach the Principle to people from Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh as well as Christian religious backgrounds.
Many participants had traveled for several days to reach Delhi from South India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and for most of the 22 Nepalese it was their first time traveling on a train and visiting a foreign country. There was a lot of excitement in the air.
The morning service on the 26th was given by Robert Kittel. The theme set the spirit of the workshop: "God working in our individual lives, our families, our societies, our nations and the world."
Most participants had heard some of the Principle before and it provided an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the broad scope of the Unification teaching. Modern technology helped in that as well. A transparent computer screen that can be used with an overhead projector had just recently come on the market and made it possible to allow the participants to read for themselves the scripture passages mentioned during the lectures, as these were projected on the screen beside the white board. It proved a very powerful tool to overcome one of the greatest obstacles in teaching the Principle in this part of the world. The complaint that the Principle has nothing to do with their religious tradition as it teaches only about Christianity was not heard at all.
The many years of effort by Robert in preparing a multi-religious perspective of the Principle finally bore fruit during this workshop. It was our best attended and most successful regional workshop so far.
Robert Kittel teaches the Principle.
Among the participants were 3 Muslims from Bangladesh; 2 Christians and 1 Buddhist from Sri Lanka; 2 Sikhs, 2 Muslims, 4 Hindus and 5 Christians from India; and 20 Hindus and 2 Buddhists from Nepal. All of them were quite amazed to understand how God has been working in their own tradition and found, quite often, even the same wording in the various religious scriptures.
We had four groups of ten participants each and most groups had all the four major religions of our region represented. In the discussions it became clear that there is a common base in all of our faiths even though the religious dogmas are often very different and even contradictory.
The Gandhi Peace Foundation took care of our meals and all enjoyed the simple vegetarian food served there. However, they did not have enough rooms for all of us and therefore the male participants stayed at the Tourist Camp, about a 15-minute walk from the workshop site.
The afternoons began with some sports activity, varying ball games as well as an enthusiastically played "Steal the Yak" where two persons, one from each of two groups, tried to snatch a piece of cloth without being touched by the other.
On the fourth day we were able to welcome our Regional I.W. Rev. Jack Corley to the workshop. From him we received a special testimony to the amazing efforts of our True Parents to bring about the restoration of this world through the many conditions and projects they established through their blood, sweat and tears.
Several participants expressed their determination to help expand the Unification Movement's foundation in South Asia. This conference led to the establishment of a new center in the central part of Nepal and in South India a local member is now working in Kerala, the state in India where the most Christians are.