The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009

Team Spirit and Unity

In Jin Moon
August 16, 2009
Manhattan Center, New York City

Good morning, brothers and sisters. I’m delighted to see all of you here again. I hope you had a lovely week. First of all, I’d like to thank all of you for so many Happy Birthday greetings. As a woman, once you reach the age of 21, you want to go backward, not forward. But I have such a loving community and such a wonderful team that never let me forget that I’m a year older, and hopefully wiser. Thank you for all the flowers, chocolate, and well wishes.

We just finished the SportsFest that we had for the Second Generation, starting August 14 and ending yesterday. I hear that later in the afternoon we’re going to have the opportunity to award some winners. I’m very much looking forward to that. With all these wonderful teams representing their states coming all the way here to compete in these games with a spirit of cooperation and of wanting to celebrate our community, what better way to spend Sunday worship than to talk about team spirit and unity?

Let’s look at the word unity for a minute. It comes from the Latin unis, meaning one. When we talk of unity, we are referring to bringing together the diverse parts or diverse individuals into a harmonious effect so that all these different parts, elements, and even individuals become bodies that act in unity with one another. When you’re looking at a successful sports team, you’re very much seeing the result of a great deal of practice that went on behind the scenes. For a team to be effective, it should have a mission statement: and not just a team but also a family, or a corporation like Manhattan Center, or any organization. If you want to be efficient and efficacious, running things in a smooth way, you need a common vision that everyone can adhere to.

Usually when you’re talking about a successful team (and that’s the case for a successful sports team as well), there usually is a sense of purpose or mission. For a lot of young people, that mission is to win. Of course, for a team to be successful, there needs to be a spirit of cooperation and understanding that each member of the team is incredibly important, like the different parts of a body. But in order for it to be a truly successful and awesome team, all members must know their own strengths and weaknesses. And they have to learn to work together so that they move as a unified front.

The spirit of cooperation is incredibly important. I’ve noticed, and heard back from different people, that a team’s spirit has to be quite strong and phenomenal. When you look at a team, you realize that good team members have spent a lot of time behind the scenes training their bodies. Sometimes it’s mind over body. Sometimes there’s a great deal of emphasis on proper nutrition, but also showing up at practice on time, listening to the coach, and executing the wishes of the coach in participation with your other team members are very important. This takes a great deal of practice.

For a team to operate like a well-oiled machine, it takes hours and hours of practice, with the members getting to know the different character types of the others. As a mother who has four boys and who is always thinking about how to encourage my boys to experience this team spirit, working together for a common cause and vision, I have found sports and music to be wonderful avenues of expression.

For me, sports are very engaging vehicles for character growth. You learn a lot of things on the field that prepare you for society. You learn how to win. Some people learn how to win gracefully; others learn how to win arrogantly. You learn how to lose. Some people learn how to lose gracefully, and some people are not very good losers. Also when you watch a game, you can see a lot of cheating going on. What happens when you start cheating? You get called off the field. First of all, it’s not good to cheat. Even if you just try to cheat, you are no longer have the privilege of being part of the team.

You learn how to work together, and you come to understand that it doesn’t matter who scores the goal; if your teammate scores the goal, the whole team wins. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right leg or the left leg that kicked the ball, it’s still a phenomenal victory for the whole body, the whole team.

When you look at different games in progress and see how the teams operate, you realize that discipline is a great foundation for the players to get up to par or win the privilege of actually playing on the field. But once you get on the field, probably the most important thing is teamwork, remembering what your coach told you before he put you on the field, recalling the different strategies that he asked the team to execute, and understanding that those strategies might change on the spot, depending on how the opponents are coming at you.

This kind of spirit yields a team that can become incredibly successful, not just on the field but also in life. My father’s favorite game happens to be soccer right now. He owns a soccer team in Korea. We have a huge pharmaceutical company called Il Hwa, which has its own soccer team. This team has gone on to win many great victories. Whenever Father’s team is playing, you will find a room packed full of people together with my father and mother, glued to the TV, watching every move. My father, even though he’s into his 90s, turns into a little boy. When someone scores and wins a point, my father will be the first one out of his chair like a rocket, really celebrating the victory.

It’s very endearing. I know it’s not proper for a daughter to call her father cute, but he’s incredibly adorable. He’s not afraid to express what he’s feeling. He really doesn’t care who else is in the room. When he is happy, he is really happy. When he is excited, everybody knows about it. Just a gleam in his eyes and a flash of that fantastic smile can really melt the coldest of hearts in the room.

As my father is enjoying these soccer games and looking to me to produce a phenomenal soccer team from the United States to compete in the next sports festival, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about teamwork, especially how to raise up young people so that they’re not just externally excellent as soccer players but also internally excellent as men and women of character.

One of the most important teams that we can build in our lifetime is our family. When you look at a family, the coach in the family might be the mom or the dad. For instance, in my family we have four boys and a lovely daughter smack in the middle, thank God. She’s a nice “recess” from the two boys before her and two boys coming after her. These seven people of our family are a team. As a family we have a mission statement; I’m hoping all of you who have a family of your own have a mission statement, too, or a purpose as to why you exist and why you are building an ideal family.

Probably one of the most difficult things in life is to be a mom or a dad, attempting to raise a highly successful family. Our mission statement in our family is to inherit the true love of God; our mission is to be men and women of excellence, integrity, and service. This is the common vision that we all agree on in order for us to be an effective family team. My husband and I try our best to encourage our children in the spirit of cooperation, in helping them to see opportunity in something that’s difficult instead of seeing the difficulty in every opportunity, as Winston Churchill once said.

Probably the most important task of a parent is to encourage a child to live a life of discipline, to practice true “rubbing,” if you will, truly loving each other, living a life of service, living for the sake of others. These are the things we try to encourage. Even though I’m the senior pastor, I would not be doing my job to the best of my ability if my family were not here. Again, the importance of teamwork. Here we are, taking care of the congregation, enjoying another beautiful Sunday with our brothers and sisters. How blessed, how privileged, and how honored we are. It moves me to know that my teammates are there greeting all of you before I come and greet you myself. Being part of something larger than yourself is a wonderful feeling.

I shared with you earlier the speech that my father gave to a Korean audience on April 1, 1978; he was talking to them about the importance of understanding ourselves beyond being defined by the nation that we were born in. As he said, you must be able to think beyond the fact that you are Korean men and women. We must remind ourselves that we’re greater than that. We belong to God, our Heavenly Parent. We are his and her sons and daughters. We belong to one family, which is God’s family. We are so privileged to be the living children in God’s dwelling place. How much more wonderful than that could our life be?

My father was implying that when we pigeonhole ourselves as Korean, as Japanese, as English, as Finnish, or as Russian, we are limiting who we are, constantly bringing the baggage of our culture, not only its positive aspects. For instance, a Korean might want to be blessed to a wonderful American sister, and together off they go toward building this lovely thing called an ideal family. But if the Korean man comes into the marriage refusing to go into the kitchen, that might be a big problem for unity. That might be a big obstacle in overcoming each other’s different cultural backgrounds, standing together on the foundation of love, and formulating a mission statement that can work for them. Many times we bring cultural baggage, saying, “We don’t do such and such in our culture.”

When my husband and I were first married, I showed him the ironing board and said, “Here, I’m going to be in the kitchen for a while. Can you iron a couple of shirts?” The great thing about my husband is that he didn’t say no, but he did give me one of these looks like, “Huh?” The understanding is, “I don’t iron shirts.”

But because we had a mission statement that he and I both agreed on, all I had to do was remind him of that. “Honey, remember our mission statement? What is it? It’s to inherit the true love of God. And what else? It’s to live a life becoming men and women of excellence, integrity, and, most importantly, service.”

Then in the spirit of cooperation and understanding the importance of discipline, he learned how to practice being a fantastic ironing man so his shirts can look crisp and delicious for Sunday worship, and we acted together in unison and enjoyed this dance called teamwork. So by the time we could properly come out and greet all of you, we were a phenomenal team. That’s just a little example of the cultural differences of two people. My father stressed the importance of international marriages for many years, and he still does.

As fantastic as all the different spices are in the world, what good is a spice if you can’t use it to make a fantastic meal? Can you imagine if an incredibly expensive spice like saffron would refuse to go into paella? It’s the most important ingredient in paella, but it’s refusing because it doesn’t like the look of the pot. Maybe it doesn’t like being cooked in a wok; it wants to be cooked in its own pan that it’s used to. See, then it becomes a problem.

What my father is encouraging through these international marriages is for all of us to become fantastic cooks, metaphorically speaking, in using all the beautiful different spices that can yield the most awesome tastes and sensations on our tongues. Once they are melded together and masterfully prepared with a great deal of love, they end up making a most satisfying meal.

I’ve always believed that there’s nothing more satisfying than a wonderful family. The wonderful thing about international couples is that they provide the opportunity for people to rub up against each other. When you’re rubbing up against each other and against different cultures, you realize each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and you realize the beauty and the strength that are gained when you come together. As well, you realize how much beauty is lost when you cannot come together in this wonderful thing called a team. It’s really an invitation for us to grow.

For me as a mother, there is nothing more important for me than learning something new. Probably the greatest lessons in life that I’ve learned have been in the context of my family. Not only do I learn so much from my husband, but I learn so much from my children as well. When children grow up and want to experience all sorts of different things, mothers are always concerned about them, a bit anxious. Whenever I’m feeling anxious, I remind myself of my mother’s voice, which says, “In Jin, all you need to do is just believe in God. God is taking care of your children. Do not be anxious. Talk to them and work with them, but do not worry.”

God always has a way of reminding me that children need to go through a process. Each child is so different. You feel like you’re getting it right with the first one, and then comes the second one. Then you have to be a little bit more flexible and work with the second one. You feel like you’re finally getting some footing on this thing called parenting, and then you get the third one. And then you feel like, “Okay, this is a girl, I think have the hang of it. Maybe I have the advantage because I was once a girl, so maybe this is the way I need to work with her.”

But God always throws me a curve ball. Again, every difficulty is an opportunity to grow and to learn. My daughter and I have done a lot of growing. It’s so heartwarming for me to see her grow into this beautiful blossom of a flower. Just when I felt like, “Okay, three children. They’re well on their way, I’m good now.” then I look at the fourth one, and he is completely different. What you thought worked for the first three doesn’t work for the fourth. When you get to the fifth one, you realize, holy cow, you need another approach for this one.

Each child is so precious and unique, endlessly challenging but so deliciously inviting. You can never get enough of them, regardless of what they do or don’t do. You just love them with all your heart. Every time I find myself looking at them and realizing how much I truly love these munchkins, I’m reminded, “In Jin, God, our Heavenly Parent, loves you just as much, too.” God, our Heavenly Parent, loves us just as much.

So the parents in the audience know what I’m talking about, right? Many times when we’re with our kids we get lost in their beauty, in their awesomeness. The adolescent child might be thinking, “What are you staring at? Why are you looking at me like that?” But young people in the audience, it’s good to know that your parents love you so much and they really want the best for you. Despite all the challenges that life puts in your path in terms of growing up, going to school, and dealing with academic pressures, social pressures, peer pressures, and emotional pressures, you always need to remember that your teammates, your family, are right there with you. You are never alone.

When you’re young and the hormones start raging in your body, a chemical process takes place in the brain such that many times you have a strong feeling of loneliness. But just remember: Your family is your team, and they will not let you down. They will not leave a man or a woman behind, and they will always be there for you.

Whenever you’re feeling lonely, it’s a good time to remember this passage from the Bible, John 17:21: “The Father is in me, and I am in you.” We hold within us God’s divinity and power, and as long as we remember that we are the son or daughter of God, we become like a flashlight, a light bulb that turns on. Remember that we belong to this awesome team. We belong to God, our Heavenly Parent. Once you remember who you are and not what you are, then you open an incredible circuitry and allow this electric current of true love to flow through your veins. You realize that not only are you not alone, but you have a fantastic mom and dad and siblings that you’re working with, practicing together so you can become a phenomenal team, like the different teams that we saw at the Sports Fest.

If we remember that God is in us and we are in God, that we are part of one family, then God will be so pleased when he looks down upon his children in this fantastic and phenomenal community that we have here. How wonderful, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity, as Psalm 133 says. How glorious it is when we can truly take care of each other, appreciate each other, not suppress each other, and not try to kick somebody out because we are jealous.

If you belong to a sports team, wouldn’t you want all the other players to be better than you? You’d have a better chance at winning, right? I certainly would. As a member of the team, you want everyone to be better than you. So there is no room for jealousy. There is no room for First Generation members to look upon the incoming Second Generation, saying, insecurely, “They’re pretty good. I might be kicked off.” There’s no room for that. The only thing that the team should be thinking is “Wonderful. We’re going to win many, many games this year.”

Instead of looking at a beautiful young girl walking up to the team and saying, “Ooooh, why a girl? Get the girl off the field,” why not enjoy the fact that you have a beautiful teammate who can probably kick the ball better than you, anyway? How wonderful would that be? So do not judge a book by its cover. A beautiful woman can be a deadly weapon, too.

When you’re in this thing called a team, you want somebody like that. Maybe you want somebody so beautiful that the opponent might be a bit distracted and she scores a goal. God works in mysterious ways. So don’t be afraid to let a girl come on your team and play with you. Why not?

Instead of being jealous or being angry -- “Why didn’t you pass me the ball? I want to be the one scoring all the time!” -- instead of being angry that you weren’t the person to have kicked the ball and scored a goal, how wonderful would it be if team members could say, “Let me do all the background defensive maneuvering so the fantastic offensive players that we have can be put to the best advantage. I can give them several options from the background.”

If we have this attitude of wishing the best for each other because we know it doesn’t matter who scores the goal, when the goal is scored, then it’s a winning point for everybody. Again, when one family does well, it’s great for everybody.

It’s interesting for me because I’m in the awkward situation of my father having placed this responsibility and burden on me. He said, “You’ve done a wonderful job home schooling your kids. Now do the same for the rest of your community.” As a mother I want to share all that I’ve learned with different brothers and sisters. But sometimes there’s this look: “Yes, but you’re True Family; you’ve been handed a silver spoon all your life. What do you know about our lives? What do you know about our kids? Maybe the way you raised your kids is not the way I want to raise mine.”

As somebody who’s a part of this community, wanting to share with all of you the different things that I’ve learned, it would be great if you realize that sharing is a wonderful thing. I look forward to learning about how you’ve managed with your family and the different tidbits of wisdom that you’ve garnered over the years. I would very much love that, just as much as I would love a recipe from your family, which would make my menu at home that much richer.

If we think of ourselves as a community and as a team, then I’m in the situation where I have to be the coach and I have to come up with a strategy, a plan of action that we need to execute as a team in this thing called a worldwide family. It doesn’t matter how ingenious the strategy is, if there is no desire on the part of the team members to try it out, the team members will never realize whether it is a good plan or maybe needs a little adjusting.

The important thing is the willingness to unite with the vision or purpose of why we are doing what we’re doing. One coach might be very different from another coach. We have our individual styles, and we have our individual ways of doing things because we come with different experience packages, right? My experience is very different from that of somebody else. So instead of looking at it as, “Whoa, our old coach didn’t do that!” please realize that maybe your management asked me to come on board because they wanted to try a new method of running the show.

I am not here to say that my strategy for the game is the best in the world. But I would like to try it this way. If I can have the support of my team members, this community, and our worldwide community, I think you will see that quite a few games can be and will be won.

I’m looking at so many talented young people. It’s really my privilege to get to know not just the First Generation but also your children, the Second Generation, and the Third Generation (and now we’re on to the Fourth), and to see what a phenomenal group of people we are. Sometimes I’m lying in bed thinking, my goodness, we are the most successful new religion in the lifetime of the founder, and we still have the founder with us. How much more phenomenal can we be if we just keep this good thing going? Maybe with a little different twist, and trying different strategies on the field, but still under the same vision of God, our Heavenly Parent, and of our True Parents, who are with us, really celebrating with us each and every Sunday.

I think I should share a little secret with all of you. My father is a great fan of Lovin’ Life Ministries. When the camera scans the audience, he can see not just black hair, but yellow hair, curly hair, bushy hair, straight hair. And he sees all of you smiling and simply reveling in this team spirit. My father loves that, and he’s so busy looking at everybody. He becomes so happy because, as our father, he loves us the way we love our children. He loves all of you. He loves you probably more than he loves me. But he really loves his children, and my mother really loves her children because she can see the hope in your eyes. When they see the young people dancing up a storm here at the end, they can experience the power of the young people. It makes my parents feel young again.

Usually when I send them a DVD of Lovin’ Life Ministry, they like to watch it in the comfort of their own suite, but they like it so much that they show it the next day at Hoon Dok Hae. So, unbeknownst to all of us, it’s becoming a regular Hoon Dok Hae phenomenon, which is a wonderful thing because then we’re sharing our happiness and celebration with the rest of the world.

The only thing we have to do is remember and believe this whole concept that God is a living God, flowing through all of us, flowing in our veins, and that we are his living children. We’ve just got to believe, brothers and sisters. If we can do that, we are going to be an awesome, unstoppable, and undeniable phenomenon in this world.

As a mother who has tasted here at Lovin’ Life Ministries the possibility of what Generation Peace can look like, I can say that there’s not another minute to waste. We have to work on building our families. We have to work on establishing better relationships between spouses so we can create a great environment for our children to grow in. Once we get the young people inspired by the power of love and once our children realize who they are, not just concentrating on what they want to become when they grow older in terms of their career choice or goals, but really keeping in mind who they are and what God’s purpose of creation was when he created us and what we must do as competent and successful sons and daughters of God, then the sky’s the limit.

So brothers and sisters, I hope that you can help me celebrate the great victories of the winning teams shortly after a lunch break. We can really take the time to celebrate with them for all the hard work, all the great footwork, and all the great playing they did for the last couple of days. Also let’s take part in realizing that we are one incredible family. As long as we can remind ourselves of this every day, we’re well on our way to raising a healthy, emotionally confident, spiritually sound, and externally excellent group of young men and women, starting with our own here.

God bless. Have a wonderful Sunday. Thank you. 

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