Unification News for November 2002
Colorado ILTP, STF/ATF Workshop
by Michael Balcomb
About 45 parents attended the recent Blessing Workshop with the STF/ATF members at the YMCA in Estes Park, Colorado. It is a beautiful, scenic place surrounded by mountains with herds of wild elk walking around the grounds. Also attending were about 100 International Leadership Training Program (ILTP) members from over 23 countries who are in America for fundraising and leadership training.
On Oct 5, all members gathered for the quarterly workshop in Colorado. For three days preceding the Blessing Workshop, they listened to lectures by Young Ju Kim, Director of Second Generation education worldwide, under Hyun Jin Nim.
On Oct. 8 the STF/ATF Parents Association Board of Advisors met all day to review many issues of safety and parent involvement for STF and ATF. They were joined by Martin and Isabella Byrne, who were invited to the workshop to share their testimony with STF/ATF members and parents who were there attending the Blessing workshop.
On the morning of Oct. 9, Martin Byrne poured out his heart in appealing to STF members to understand the great love of God and True Parents for the second generation. It happened to be that he came to speak just 2 days after the end of 40 days since Jin Jooís ascension to the spiritual world. He testified how he had experience Godís love and support through so many wonderful brothers and sisters, and the leadership of Family Federation and CARP, during this painful time. When he heard of Hun Jin Nimís testimony, at the time of Shin Ae Nimís ascension, Martin determined also not to shed a single tear for 40 days, so as to make a victorious offering of Jin Jooís sacrifice. We all felt a strong sense of indignation towards the crimes that Satan commits, and the hurt and pain that exists in a nation where such things happen, especially to such a pure and innocent person as Jin Joo. STF members and their families determined themselves to work more strongly than ever to make America a place where such things can no longer take place.
After their testimonies, Martin and Isabella Byrne passed out a beautiful gift to everyone present: a laminated card printed from Jin Jooís journal, with her favorite words from True Father, and the poem she had written, "True Pearl," which describes herself going to heaven. There were many tears and hugs as everyone lined up to receive these cards one by one from the Byrneís. Truly their couple has set an outstanding example of faith and heavenly attitude.
They testified to the power of forgiveness towards the enemy as the only way we can keep going forward. They said that they had visited the mother and grandmother of Eugene, the boy who killed their daughter and that they prayed together with tears. Martin asked us all to reflect on who we need to forgive and not to wait to start working to cleanse our hearts of any resentments or bad feelings.
Later that morning we began the 2-day STF/ATF Blessing Workshop led by In Soo Kim and Matt Jones. Speakers were Rev. Phillip Schanker (Vice President FFWPU USA, DP lectures), Rev. Michael Jenkins (President FFWPU USA, Rev. Insoo Kim (Director of 2nd Gen. Dept. USA), and Matthew Jones (Second Gen. Dept. USA).
Rev. Schanker talked very honestly with the second generation members. He told them how important it is to be pure, and if they have made mistakes to confess and indemnify them now. He was very sensitive that there are second generation who are suffering in broken families or who have a parent who is negative to the church. He comforted these children by assuring them that there is a way for them, and they are carrying the baton now, and not to accuse their parents but to have a heart of gratitude.
Pres. Jenkins challenged our faith by asking difficult questions, and talked about the importance of proclaiming True Parents. He encouraged STF/ATF members to realize who they are as Blessed Children and to work hard to understand this in their own experience. He told them not to hurry to be Blessed, but to be ready for anything and to be prepared in their hearts to accept their parentsí choice. Rev. Jenkins was full of love and incredible spirit. Many of the members said they liked his speech the best because it challenged them and encouraged them to be bolder with their faith.
In addition to the profound spiritual guidance of the lecture content, parents and second generation were also blessed to participate in a "Cash Prize Show" rendition of a question and answer session led by Kevin Pickard. He was able to create a light and humorous atmosphere, while at the same time addressing some of the most serious and central issues we face together at the prospect of matching the second generation.
After two days of lectures, testimonies and question-answer sessions, parents and children spent a day of recreation in the mountains and the nearby village of Estes Park. That evening, we were blessed again with joint heavenly entertainment -- first and second generation together -- for 4 hours! The MCís were Mrs. Cynthia Hiromitsu and her son and daughter, Takeo and Tamaru, who are both STF members.
On the final day of the workshop, all STF and ATF members received a full day of special Safety Awareness training, led by two members of East Garden security staff. Jerry Heying is the director of East Garden security and owns his own security company, which provides protection for celebrities and public figures. His presentations focused on the importance of recognizing dangerous situations and avoiding trouble before it starts. Jack La Valley also gave "street smarts" training and demonstrations in simple self-defense techniques.
Following the safety presentations, STF/ATF membersí new teams were announced and preparations began for witnessing and fundraising to start immediately.
I particularly enjoyed Kevin Pickard's 'cash prizes' interactive session. It provided everyone (BC's and Parents) an opportunity to express their heartfelt feelings about the matching. I was surprised that so many of the Kids' wanted to trust their parents completely in the selection of a spouse. In my case, I raised my hand to support the position that the kids should have some input in the process. When Kevin polled the kids on the same question, both my daughters had their hands up in support of parents deciding everything! That was a mini-revelation.
I think that we: BC's and parents, were able to come to a common understanding. The kids want to have confidence that their parents are able to be used by God to prepare the best matching. For them to have that confidence, they need to see the vertical effort of their parents - not doubt, hesitation and a "oh my gosh, how are we gonna do this?" attitude.
My wife, daughter and I have been doing a simple 40 day prayer condition just to clear out some spiritual space in which to work out the matching/blessing. It was my daughter who requested this. This prayer combined with the workshop has given us clarity and confidence to begin the process.
Up until one week ago I had spoken to no other parents about my daughter as a match for their son. Now there are two candidates and its very exciting. Now we need to pray about how to decide when every possibility is a great one. Larry Krishnek, STF parent
I was deeply impressed by the quality of the lectures and presentations. They were really focused on the internal aspects of matching and Blessing preparation through Divine Principle and testimonies.
STF is very much a front line experience and provides the Second Generation with wonderful growing time and preparation for both matching and college. It's the best way that I know of for them to experience God and establish their personal Foundation of Faith. I hope everyone seriously considers this experience for their children. Jim Stephens, STF parent
Rev. Schanker gave the principle in a very deep tone advising the members to understand God's heart and to really challenge themselves to become Mr. or Mrs. Right, not to think they will find Mr. or Mrs. Right. This was a great concept and helped us all to understand that we must be concentrating on the Foundation of Faith and Substance right now, by uniting with the CF and with our brothers and sisters to understand all kinds of personalities and dynamics of relationships. The bottom line is that, to be prepared for the Blessing one has to have a deep and personal relationship with God and True Parents. It can only be obtained through suffering and sacrifice. STF is a fast way to get that opportunity.
There were a lot of questions from the floor, concerning the choosing of mates, and the general consensus is that almost all of the members really want to be able to trust their parentsí decisions about their matching. They do not want to hear, "Well, who do you think looks good?" from their parents. The big problem is that many parents do not know enough people. So in a parents meeting we talked about ways we could meet each other without the children. I don't know how that would be possible, but it was a good discussion. We also went over the situation of all of those great kids who do not have the opportunity to go on STF to get this training. It would be so good to help them get a taste of this, so they could be more prepared to be matched." Shelley Watanabe, STF parent
Matt Jones enraptured the audience with his detailed testimony that had me on the edge of my seat to hear what he was going to say next. Nothing speaks like experience and the kids loved it! He really gave it his all, as did all of the presenters.
There was a feeling of substantial unity of the 1st and 2nd generations of Unificationists, egging each other on to higher aspirations of life, serving God with the True Family at the helm. This unity is further necessitated by the fact that True Parents have bequeathed the Matching to the parents of Blessed Central Families and that requires trust and agreed-upon criteria between the 1st and 2nd Generations. This does not allow for a "generation gap" to exist. Kevin Pickard so skillfully led us in an evening game show style exercise that playfully and amusingly led the audience in this direction of trust by its design.
It was most inspiring to meet the heavenly soldiers (2nd generation of the former Communists) whom True Parents said would come from Russia to educate American youth. And there they were, even Koreans who speak Russian! (and English) They are Blessed, and they are sacrificing to take care of the 2nd generation amazingly well. It goes without saying that the Japanese commanders and adult leadership of STF give their 100%, including sacrificing their Blessed Central Families. We owe a debt of gratitude to Hyun Jin Nim and the staff of STF for picking up the challenge of making straight the way of the Lord with the 2nd Generation." David and Karen Rogers, STF parents
As with the STF kick-off workshop in Barrytown in August, I was once again so moved and blessed to attend the STF Blessing Candidate /Parent Workshop in Estes Park, Colorado. I am grateful to Heavenly Father, True Parents, Hyun Jin Nim, Mr. Aoki, and all the hard-working STF/CARP staff who sacrifice so much for our 2nd generation. At each workshop I was caught up in the energy of our young people, and the power of the Divine Principle lectures, and flashed back several decades to the time when I first joined the church. My spirit was revived and I wanted to re-do my past. I thought, if I had the wisdom and understanding and confidence then that I do now, I would have done a much better job. Jerry Linek, ATF parent
As I left Colorado to return home I prayed that Heavenly Father could prepare someone for me to witness to on the train, and that I could have the courage to witness. I felt that whatever we are asking our children to do, we must also be able and willing to do. In this way we can feel a deeper connection to them and work alongside of them even when we are apart. When I got on the train in Denver I noticed a young man and felt compelled to sit in the seat behind him. His name is Darvin Blair. I had a whole day to witness to him, off and on, and I pray that I can find a way to bring him all the way back to Heavenly Father. Before I reached Martinez I read some of Father's words to him and we exchanged addresses. I'm going to send him some things right away and pray for him like I never prayed before.
I believe that God doesn't want to throw away the first generation. I believe He wants to bring us into Canaan side by side with the 2nd generation (not to mention the whole world). In fact, I don't think the 2nd generation can do it without us. I felt this several years ago at a One Heart Camp prayer meeting. And I really feel it again now. Mr. Aoki needs our support and wants our support. He recognizes the wealth of experience, wisdom, and maturity which can benefit the 2nd generation. STF and CARP are so under-staffed. Most of them have families too and they are sacrificing so much. There are many ways we can help. Let's all do what we can to work together to bring the "Breakthrough in 2003" that Hyun Jin Nim is so desperate to accomplish. Perhaps we can get together to find practical ways we can support them and the STF providence. Jerry Linek
Second Generation Testimony
"I thought it was very insightful. It definitely made me realize things inside myself that I didnít see before. It is very clear to me now what is the formula course that I must go before I can be worthy to receive the Blessing. I have come to trust my parents more. My way of thinking about the Blessing has changed. I am more determined to prepare myself in the best way possible for my future spouse and family." Jinju Watanabe
"I had a lot of doubts and negative thoughts about the Blessing, but now I am more open-minded about it. This workshop could not answer all of my questions, but I could understand the importance of the Blessing more than before." Anonymous
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