Unification News for December 2002
Ambassadors for Peace Conference on the Big Island of Hawaii "Rev. Moon’s Vision for the Unified Nation of Cosmic Peace"
by Rev. Tom Cutts
The Ambassadors for Peace Conference -- "Rev. Moon’s Vision for the Unified Nation of Cosmic Peace" -- was held December 9-14, 2002 on the Big Island of Hawai’i at the beautiful Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort in Kona. ("Ohana" means "family" in Hawaiian, and Kona is one of the two major towns on the island.) The program began with an opening banquet on Monday, December 9th, and concluded with breakfast on Saturday, December 14th.
On the fourth evening of the Ambassadors for Peace conference, after meeting with True Parent four times, completing six Divine Principle lectures and receiving presentations about Rev. Moon’s global activities, the 150 conference delegates from Korean, Japanese and American met separately nation by nation. As a preface to the American meeting, Mr. Antonio Betancourt, the North American Secretary General of IIFWP, shared that "Heavenly Father instructed Father Moon to anoint 5,350 Ambassadors for Peace in America". He also stated that "Father Moon was commissioned by God and given the power to remove the Satanic lineage." Mr. Betancourt concluded that Rev. Moon wants, through the Marriage Blessing, to remove the Satanic lineage from every person on earth before he goes to the spiritual realm.
Being the first time the delegates could ask questions about and comment on all the lectures and presentation they had heard, the American staff anticipated some hard questions regarding the conclusion of the Divine Principle, and perhaps some hesitation about the Ambassadors for Peace assignment. The participants, however, used the opportunity to affirm their determination to support Rev. Moon as Ambassadors for Peace and planned concrete action steps for generating more Ambassadors of Peace and expanding the Blessing Movement.
Several participants began evaluating their own activities in light of their new understanding of God’s providence. One delegate shared her determination to promote the Blessing Movement, because she "felt Father Moon’s sense of urgency." She had experienced the essential nature of this Hawaiian conference.
True Father wanted to bequeath everything to the Ambassadors for Peace, and for them to take ownership of the mission to liberate God. Throughout the conference, we felt the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. One afternoon during a break, one of the participants looked into the clouds and saw the face of her deceased son. In that same cloud, her roommate saw the face of Jesus. Many participants were moved to tears during the program, and most were very surprised by the extent and influence of Rev. Moon’s global work for peace.
Fifty delegates from each of the countries of Korea, Japan, and America participated in this international conference. On Wednesday, there was a brotherhood/sisterhood ceremony, where fifty trinities were created with one Ambassador from each of the three countries. The whole atmosphere of the conference changed after that.
Before the matching, delegates sat with people from their own country. But after the matching, everyone made effort to get to know his/her counterparts. It was beautiful at mealtime to see people from different countries sitting together. On Thursday morning, True Parents took photographs with each of these trinities, then a photograph with the delegates from each country, and finally a photograph with the entire conference.
The hotel facilities were extraordinary. The summer cottage of King Kamehameha is located right on the property. And beside his cottage is the royal fishpond. (Hawaiians have been practicing aqua-culture for hundreds of years.) The hotel is built on an ancient lava flow and the verandah overhangs a tidal pool. This large pool is protected from the ocean surf by a line of large lava boulders. Giant sea turtles swim in from the Pacific to sun themselves on the rocks in the tidal pool, or to munch on vegetation growing on the rocks. From the verandah, one can see colorful fish darting about. The whales migrated early this year, and far out to sea, we could see them blowing watery air high into the sky. And all around the hotel you could hear the enchanting songs of the brightly colored tropical birds.
Kona has a constant temperature of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and surprisingly low humidity. (The huge mountains of Hawaii force the trade winds to drop their moisture on the northeastern side of the island. Hilo, a town on the windward side of the island, is the wettest city in the U.S.A. But Kona, on the lee of the island, receives very little rain.) Any flying insects are kept at bay by the gentle breezes. Because of these constant and pleasant conditions in Kona, the hotel lobby, verandah and restaurant are open-air spaces with only the ceiling covering them. The evenings were delightful, and three of our conference dinners were held outside in a coconut grove garden. We enjoyed a taste of paradise.
We had the good fortune of meeting with True Parents four times during the conference. During the opening banquet, Father Moon addressed the delegates for one and a half hours. In his prepared remarks, entitled "God’s Fatherland and the One World", he spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven, and challenged each of us to consider our present life and how much we are actually contributing to the building of that Kingdom. Father beseeched us to inherit his mission, and help liberate the heart of God.
Our morning sessions were originally scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., right after a 7:00 a.m. breakfast. But at the opening banquet, Father changed all that. He invited everyone to join him the next morning for Hoon Duk Hwae at 5:00 a.m. and this schedule continued throughout the conference. Amazingly, our "Gathering for Reading" was very well attended every morning. Latecomers even had a difficult time finding a seat.
At the Tuesday morning Hoon Duk Hwae, Father interrupted the reading soon after it started, and spoke until 6:45a.m. He shared about the selfless nature of God, and how He created mankind and the universe as His love objects. After Father spoke, Rev. Peter Kim continued the readings, which were the declarations from the founders of the four great religions and from the saints in the spiritual realm.
That Tuesday evening, Rev. and Mrs. Moon treated the conference delegates to a Hawaiian feast in the coconut grove. After dinner, Father stood up behind his chair and spoke for over an hour, advising as a grandfather would his grandsons and granddaughters. He mentioned that lineage is the only thing that remains, and that each of us should offer our 100% devotion to God. We have to live for the sake of others, and nations have to live for the sake of other nations. When we invest 100%, the return is even greater. Father mentioned how he once gave expensive rings to True Mother. When he later asked to see them, he learned that Mother had given them away to church members. But, he couldn’t be upset with her. We really felt how much True Father lives by his words of "giving 100% and forgetting that you gave". Father then presented to everyone an early Christmas gift, including Kona Coffee from his own farm, and a Hawaiian tee-shirt.
Our last meeting with True Parents was Thursday morning at Hoon Duk Hwae. We read Heung Jin Nim’s January 2002 report from Spiritual World. This provided a fascinating account of life in the afterlife. The letter was also a testimony to the extraordinary work of our True Parents, and to the incredible changes their initiatives have effected in the Spiritual Realm. After the reading Father spoke very deeply about his own life course, and especially about how he restored the foundation that was lost when he was rejected by Christianity at the end of World War II.
During Rev. Moon’s fifty-day fifty-state tour in 2001, I was shocked by the determination of our True Father, who was 81 years old at the time. He was risking his life to save America. But during this particular Hoon Duk Hwae, I was struck by how the failure at the end of World War II meant that Father had to waste fifty years of his life to return the world to the circumstances right after Second World War. Now, at 83, Father is pushing himself to do the work of a thirty-year old.
Father also explained why he had brought the participants to this lovely island, usually known for recreation and self-indulgence. Instead of relaxing, Father was getting them up early, held them in conference sessions all day long and then matched them to people from another country with whom they couldn’t even speak. Father wanted them to step outside their comfort zones, and learn to live for the sake of others.
After the Thursday morning reading, True Father spoke for a little more than an hour. It was the last time Father spoke to the conference. He then surprised everyone by taking photographs with each of the Korean/ Japanese/American trinities. The original plan was to take photographs with only the national delegations, and with the whole conference. On Friday Father and Mother left for Chicago, to participate in the Saturday afternoon True Family Values Banquet. What an incredible schedule they keep.
The participants of the Ambassadors for Peace Conference included many influential leaders. There were former Japanese Diet members (like the US Senate), and Japanese House of Counselors (like the US House of Representatives), a former provincial governor from Korea, and from the United States, one state senator, three state representatives and one city councilman.
Originally the delegation from each nation was to meet separately to hear the Divine Principle lectures. But just as Father changed the time of our morning sessions, he changed the lecture format, as well. Instead of meeting separately, the entire conference attended all the sessions together. Each person had an FM radio, and could listen to a simultaneous translation when their language was not being spoken.
There were six Divine Principle lectures. Two lectures were delivered in Korean by Dr. Sun Jo Hwang, the President of FFWPU International. Two were delivered in Japanese by Rev. Oyamada, Chairman of the IIFWP in Japan. Rev. Tom Cutts, the Southeast Regional Director of the American Family Coalition, gave the Fall of Man lecture, and Dr. Tyler Hendricks, President of the Unification Theological Seminary gave the Mission of the Messiah lecture. Dr. Hendricks introduced something novel in his presentation. Before his lecture, he played a recording of the song "Jesus Wept". The words were so moving that the translators had a difficult time controlling their own tears as they repeated the words. One Japanese ambassador later asked to have a copy of the song.
The participants’ response to the Divine Principle was extraordinary. No objections were expressed. Most participants wanted to hear more, and one American ambassador pledged to read the Divine Principle seven times. Several African Americans were sincerely grateful for the Fall of Man lecture. They work with young people, and needed tools for explaining the dangers of free sex. The Fall of Man gave them a clear explanation of how Satan continues to dominate fallen mankind.
We heard incredible testimonies about the life of our True Parents and the worldwide activities inspired by their vision. Speakers included Rev. Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of the IIFWP International, Dr. Sun Jo Hwang, President of the FFWPU International, Rev. Oyamada, Chairman of the IIFWP Japan, and Dr. Chang Shik Yang, Chairman, IIFWP North America. Rev. Oyamada gave an incredible history of the movement in Japan. He spoke of the impact Father had in bringing Communism to an end, and the influence he continues to exert on public policy around the world.
Dr. Thomas Phillips, President of Service for Peace, described the significant work of World CARP and introduced the purpose and vision of Service for Peace. Dr. Tyler Hendricks, President of the Unification Theological Seminary, introduced the mission and activities of that institution. Dr. Frank Kaufmann, the Executive Director of the International Religious Federation for World Peace, presented a report on Rev. Moon’s interfaith activities. He showed photographs of top religious leaders from around the world receiving the Marriage Blessing. This gave the conference delegates hope for interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and made the Blessing Movement an important action item.
On the last day of the conference, True Father wanted the Ambassadors for Peace to see the magnificence of the island. The Island of Hawai’i was formed by five volcanoes. And of the world’s 13 climate zones, eleven can be found on this island. Mouna Kea is the largest mountain in the world, rising up from the ocean floor some 30,000 feet. It rises nearly 14,000 feet above sea level, and during the winter months it is snow capped. Where else on earth you can snowboard in the morning, and ride the ocean surf in the afternoon? Cattle ranching is a major industry in the grassy uplands of the interior. In fact, the Parker Ranch is one of the largest ranches in the world. On the northeast side of the island we drove through rain forests, crossed over deeply gouged gorges and saw plunging waterfalls. The lowlands of the eastern coast are practically desert, and reminded me of Arizona. Hawai’i is an island of extremes.
We also visited Volcanoes National Park and drove up the side of the Kilauea Volcano. Unlike the steep sides of composite volcanoes like Mount St. Helens, this massive shield volcano has gently sloping sides. At the top we peered down into the caldera. Over the millennia the top of the volcano collapsed leaving a gigantic circular pit, or caldera, many miles across. The pit has a relatively flat bottom and steep sides, and we could see sulfur gas steaming up from cracks in the volcano floor. Kilauea is still active, and since the 1980’s lava has been flowing out of the eastern flank into the sea. In the park there is a natural tunnel made by the volcano. An ancient lava flow cooled more quickly at the surface, and after the arch hardened the molten rock inside drained out leaving a lava tube. It extends for several miles, and is large enough for several people to walk through side by side. To complete our circuit of the island we visited a black sand beach and saw more giant sea turtles. White sand is partially formed by the breakdown of coral. This part of the island is so young geologically that white sand had not yet replaced the granulated lava.
The Hawaiian islands are a string of islands extending some 1,600 miles. Below the earth’s surface there is a stationary hot spot, which causes volcanic action to surface. As the earth’s tectonic plates shift to the west a line of islands formed. The "Big Island" of Hawai’i is the easternmost, and youngest island in the archipelago. In fact, it is still being formed. (Honolulu and Pearl Harbor are on the island of O’ahu, which is a much older island.)
After our extraordinary ten-hour tour of the island, the day was completed with a closing banquet hosted by Rev. Kwak. In his final remarks, he explained why True Father made Korea, Japan and America the Father, Mother and Elder Son nations, respectively, and how countries should relate to one another.
The conference staff did an incredible job in a very short time. Mr. Jim Flynn, the President of the American Family Coalition headed up the conference for the American team. He and Joe Wakaria worked deep into the night for two weeks before the program. During the conference they were joined by Bill Selig of IIFWP, and I don’t know when any of them slept. They were always ready at 5:00 a.m. for Hoon Duk Hwae.
The staff effort was also greatly bolstered by the leadership of Rev. Hiroshi Matsuzaki and the support of Rev. Hu of Hawaii. Their volunteer team of Japanese sisters, who reside around the various islands, provided the mother's care and attention for the guests that helped glue the event together. Mr. Furuta and Mrs. Naoko Brazil (Japanese/English) and Mrs. Hee Hun Standard (Korean/English) along with several Japanese sisters provided simultaneous translations. Translating is exhausting work, and they worked long hours covering every session. Without their tireless efforts, the conference with so many international plenary sessions could not have taken place.
Other key people for the success of the conference were Mrs. Sae Won Brown and David Jeung of Seil Tours also worked tirelessly on conference details and hotel arrangements. Rev. Ken Doo from FFWPU Headquarters was a constant help with audiovisual needs during the sessions and capturing the historical record in photographs and video clips. Rev. Doo also provided ongoing reports of conference events through the FFWPU website.
This Hawaiian conference was an exceptional experience. Friendships were made that will last a lifetime. Many of the American Ambassadors are already communicating with each other, and are planning activities to further the cause of world peace. The Ambassadors for Peace feel a real sense of responsibility to follow True Parents and establish the Unified Nation of Cosmic Peace.
Rev. Cutts is the Southeast Regional Director, American Family Coalition.
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