Unification News for January 2003

A Testimony to UTS

by Chen Lawrence Fong

I was part of the second graduating class of our seminary, class of '76. By now, I consider myself an ancient dinosaur of the past history of the school. But Heavenly Father gave me a gift during my visit to the campus this past summer that renewed my faith. My wife Kyoung-Sook and I, together with parents of STF teenagers, participated in an STF workshop. I definitely felt the hand of God and True Parents through the hearts of the families and the STF staff who came together for the annual orientation and send-off of our STF children.

More than the beautiful weather that weekend was the profound spiritual atmosphere of love. It was a new feeling unlike my student days. I never felt so light and bright.

That Saturday afternoon, our couple decided to walk Father's trail on the grounds of the seminary. A rush of memories came to me of those seminarian days with Father. His visiting the seminary got to be so wonderfully often that I began to worry that we would be neglecting our studies and upsetting the professors. As we were walking, I began to share a lot of memories with my wife: about Father's fishing project in a lagoon on the Hudson River, then a farming project, then a water pond expansion project, and the hours upon hours he spent talking with us. He said that we did not understand the value of our time with him. We certainly did not.

As we walked along the trail, I particularly remembered the day when it was time to set up the long fishing net in the nearby Hudson lagoon during the cold early spring. Many students had to go in the smelly, mucky, cold water to hold up the net in order to properly set it. Father was directing the project. A few seminarians had passed out and had to go to the hospital, including Dr. Hendricks.

As my wife and I approached a rest area, a clearing with a view of the lagoon, several STF teenagers were already there looking at the view. I heard them talking about Father's fishing project. One of them was asking the others where the net might be and was wondering about the time when Dr. Hendricks did his heroic best to hold up the net. Was it coincidence? It was a surprise to me that they were talking about this. Of course I interrupted and shared my eyewitness account of the whole fishing expedition with Father and the seminarians. Then a few other STF members came to the viewing area, looked at the Lagoon and started talking about the same thing. Again I shared with them what I had proudly experienced.

My wife and I continued on this interesting walk along Father's trail. A tremendous rush of emotion came through my whole being as I was thinking on the meaning of what I experienced at the clearing. I felt God giving a special love to me, a member of the first generation. All the hopes and dreams that Father had were given to us, the first generation. He personally cared enough to raise us seminarians up in a special way. Now I see our second generation inheriting that home. It was heartwarming to see our second generation trying to make sense of our first generation's faith. They are learning to take ownership of life of faith. There were testimonies during the workshop by our teenagers who have gone through a year of STF. They tearfully said that they experienced God and True Parents and realized and appreciated what their parents had gone through in their life of faith. It was so gratifying and comforting to hear this. If there is a generation gap, the STF effort is helping to close it.

Who knows what the small fishing incident may mean to our second generation, than the third, fourth, etc.? But if our faith is to grow, I believe it must have a meaning for our children's life of faith in a more profound way than we, the first generation, who are generally slow to understand our significant times spent with True Parents. My deepest gratitude to our Beloved Parents of Heaven and Earth, from an unworthy person such as I.

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