Unification News for February 2004

MEPI Peace Luncheon in Mobile, AL

By VRD Terry Yamane

On Saturday, January 31st 2004, the FFWPU of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana together with ACLC, and AFC Alabama, sponsored a MEPI Peace Luncheon to create a southern wind in preparation for True Parents’ historic event on February 4th. That wind was more like a tornado!

We held the event in our beautiful church building and it was (almost) filled to capacity when we reached our goal of 200 attendees. The program was high spirited, powerful, and though 5 hours long, and it flowed seamlessly from one great presentation to the next.

Terry Yamane was the MC and welcomed everyone at 10:30, with the powerful voices of the 20 member Miracle Faith Healing and Deliverance Choir brought by ACLC minister Rev. Floria Washington of New Orleans. They raised the roof and everyone’s hearts as we joined in a heartfelt prayer led by AOP Rev. Dr. Simmie Harvey.

Opening remarks were given by the Alabama AFC Coordinator, Mr. Brett Dungan, who set the tone of the event by emphasizing how we all must work and cooperate together by taking responsibility for our communities rather than waiting for someone else to fix them for us. He also informed everyone about the upcoming events of February 4th on Capitol Hill.

Next we showed the 11 min. video, Peace Under One God II, which moved many hearts to tears, especially those who were new to the program and were seeing for the first time the depth, seriousness, and sense of mission the participants had who took part in the pilgrimages to the Middle East. It was just the right introduction to the sincere yet powerful testimonies which followed.

Imam Kamal Saleem from the Mobile Masjid of Al Islam, eloquently captured the spirit when he shared how he realized in Israel what it really means to be "Christ-like" (he is, of course, a Muslim) and how the key is to love one another and not judge each other by our beliefs. He was moved by the tears that were shed and the prayers that were shared together in the Holy Sights, especially at the Al Aqusa Mosque. He truly enlightened many of the Christian participants in the room by his humble heart of sincerity.

Next we heard from one of our 2nd Generation participants to the Pilgrimage, the courageous Brinda Dungan, who shared her experience being in Israel with Service for Peace. She amazed the crowd by sharing about all the different service projects they were able to organize and accomplish in such a short period of time, joining together with other international students and with local Israeli students as well. Everyone was inspired seeing that the youth were actively interested in and involved in the same vision of our founder.

Pastor Floria Washington gave testimony of how God personally spoke to her heart on the pilgrimage, from when she lost her luggage with all her beautiful suits and shoes in it and had to wear the same simple outfit for several days and focus more internally, to how deeply she was moved by Jesus’ Coronation and how she saw with her own eyes the acceptance of the ceremony by the Rabbis. She prayed deeply for our True Parents with gratitude.

Finally we heard testimony from the amazing Rev. John Hancock, the pastor of the Calvary Apostolic Baptist Church of McComb, Mississippi. Rev. Hancock, who had traveled to Israel with his wife and with elder Rev. D.C. Corson in December, truly inspired everyone in the room by his stature, his sincerity, and his moving testimony to True Father’s determination to keep focused on the goal for so many years and his "refusal to take no for any answer..." when the whole world, it seemed, came against him. The respect was profound. He also shared, in tears, about his experience in Gaza and seeing first hand the strife and bloodshed yet the Christian heart still remaining in many of the people, in contrast to our seemingly idyllic life here in the United States which has caused many to become more and more self-centered. We look forward to doing many things together with the Hancocks in the future. He also had just returned from Korea, attending True Parents "incredible" birthday celebration, and drove 4 hours with jet lag not to miss our event.

After a bounteous and beautiful buffet lunch prepared by the loving efforts of our sisters, Mrs. Ruthie Finamore, Kayo Pedersen, and many helping hands, we were treated to the highlight of our day which was the MEPI PowerPoint Presentation by our ACLC Regional Chairman, Rev. Steve Wilson. Rev. Wilson skillfully presented the new expression of truth with faith and conviction which truly inspired both guests and members alike, bringing us to a better understanding of why it is our ultimate destiny to live in a united world without boundaries. The pictures of the pilgrimage participants marching through Jerusalem and the rally of December 22nd, also brought everyone’s minds to a higher level, which was the perfect preparation for all to part take of the Holy Wine, as our Japanese Missionaries led us in singing "Let There be Peace on Earth".

The final session of our day was the presentation of Ambassador of Peace Awards to 5 new, worthy recipients and an overview of the meaning of the award by Mr. Brett Dungan. Mr. Dungan again reminded everyone of the event taking place on February 4th and how everyone can help bring the victory by writing and encouraging their congressmen to attend.

The whole program, the music, the testimonies, the words of truth, the unity of our members in bringing about this wonderful event, we want to offer it all with love and gratitude to heaven, as our first program in 2004, 4th Year of Chen Il Gun. We are grateful to our True Parents, Dr. Yang and Rev. Jenkins for your strong inspiration, and to our Regional Director, Rev. Wean Geun Kim for all his prayers for us while in Chung Pyung.

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