Unification News for April 2004

Pilgrimage Testimonies

Rev. Luis Andrews:

What moved me most was traveling on the Sea of Galilee singing and praising God in harmony with my brothers and sisters. I have a deeper insight into my calling that I should stand firm and continue to do Godís will in the sprit of joy and long-suffering.

Rev. Dr. Walter Fauntroy:

I thank Father Moon for allowing me the opportunity to come to the Holy Land again. The situation is urgent and it must be addressed by genuine spiritual leaders. I feel the call from this journey and especially witnessing the Al Aqsa Mosque incident, I feel that the situation is quite similar to Alabama in early days of the movement with Dr. King. I am determined now more than ever to set up non violent conflict resolution workshops for the religious leaders on both sides. We must address this urgent crisis. It can be resolved with God's power.

James Cowin:

I am Jewish and quite proud of my lineage. All my life I have considered the Palestinians, if not enemies, at least alien. In years past, given the political struggles we endured, such a view seemed in line with the providence. Yet, in Gaza, in the midst of seemingly the most violent of the adversaries of my people, I found myself volunteering to help the Palestinians in their campaign to publicize their efforts to bring normalcy and peace to the hearts of their children. I knew I could not have done this without my life of faith in the Principle.

Probably my most meaningful, experience of the trip was up on the stage in the banquet hall in Nazareth, when Rev. Jenkins called all the Jewish members to stand with him and receive applause. Before this, all the groups introduced had received warm but normal applause. But, suddenly, every Palestinian in the hall was extremely alert, and when Rev. Jenkins said, "Weíre not just doing things on stage; all these people are working to bring peace to Palestine," the applause was overwhelming. I was experiencing the culmination of my experience in the church. Before this, I had known that I could not fulfill our church mission with my old consciousness. But now I deeply felt that I was in the process of changing. I still puzzle over the feelings that I am supposed to have when my worst enemies applaud me for helping them to defeat (at least on an external level) my own people.

Jo Ann Crooks:

I have been trying to comfort Jesus at all the holy sites of his life we visited. I didnít know if it meant anything. In answer to my prayer, Jesus said to me, "You comforted me and welcomed me in my own country. That means a lot to me." I felt he took my hand. I cried a lot.

Dr. Margie de la Rosa

Thank you, Mother and Father Moon. I saw Sacajawea and Pocahantas in the spirit world speaking about their way of peace. As sisters we must gather the sisters and help them to teach peace in the homes, the schools, the city, the country, and all nations. Our sisters have asked us to help them in their crisis, the death of their loved ones, and their broken spirits. They asked me to stay and come to their homes. Our sisters cry in Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Israel and in other areas of war. Father, you are the earthly instrument of accomplishing the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven.

Imam Mohammed Jodeh:

Every minute of the trip was a source of re-charging. The 45 minutes in Aqsa Mosque on Friday (during the time the Israeli Military came in) put me at the closest point with God. All the religious services we did brought down all walls and melted the hearts into one. My heart was touched by God.

I was very touched in the Upper Room. The birth of Christianity was at one time a mosque, a worship place for Muslims. This is very clear proof of how close Islam and Christianity are.

I was very disappointed in the great ignorance of many members of the Arab-Israeli conflict and ignorance of Islam. A pre-trip basic education should be given to the pilgrims.

Most thanks to Father and Mother Moon, for their vision and support for just and peaceful solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Diana L. King:

I have blossomed into a radiant flower ready to take this experience to others and witness to all to take heed and take charge.

G. K.:

Every moment the Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders spoke from their heart in gratitude or praise of True Parents took me to a higher level. I could not help feeling thankful when I see true world leaders leading the spirit world and people on earth to do so. I only wish I could help to bring more people of heart into this circle of strength. This group was an unbeatable fortress with the protection of True Parents,

I see Rev. Rawls speaking in the pulpit on Palm Sunday, singing Godís word because he felt it so deeply and needed to express it in a way close r to the language of the heart song..

I can still see Mrs. De la Rosa teaching us, correcting us, and fine tuning us to Godís way of life.

And I am so touched by the kind of giving love (not taking love) that Rev. Bette Davis has for True Parents.

I learned that we are brothers and sisters with different personality, all of which are sacred, and whatever expression they take is a form of God. Therefore, everyone must be respected and protected to the highest degree.

I gained a sense of purpose. I love people and I want to grow through them and with them, always in the direction of serving the fighting and troubled people of the world, especially Israel.

I send my love and utmost humility before the True Parents. I am sorry that I cannot hear God many times. I am sorry that sometimes His will seems impossible. Therefore, my determination is to be willing to go this boat, mindful of my responsibility taking his direction in stride every day, and praying to be able to work for a mission as important as this in the near future.

Richard Sapp:

The incident of the attack on the mosque showed not only how serious the division between Jews and Muslims is, but also how difficult it will be to resolve the bitterness in the hearts of the participants.

The greatest insight into the teachings of True Parents is that they only have real meaning to the extent that I actually put it into practice in order to restore myself and others.

I must go back to my community and reach, at all cost, the Jewish leaders and bring them to join with us.

All that True Parents have invested in me can now be worthwhile as I now determine wholeheartedly to invest in this peace effort.

Rev. Betty Tatalajski:

I was touched in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which we visited only a short while after it was desecrated by the Israeli solders. We were invited in to pray, and a peace pact was constructed.

I gained insight into the immense capacity of this great Holy man (Father Moon) to stand between the physical and spiritual realms and direct the plan of God for humanity in this age.

I witnessed the power of "one manís (or one womanís) ability to stand in the face of danger and feel no fear.

In appreciation to you and this commission I received to attend this pilgrimage and to represent the American people, I vow to "do more," both spiritually and physically to represent your vision.

Rev. Ralph Martin Thomas:

I just want to thank you, Lord for Rev. and Mrs. Moon our True Parents and their providing this Holy Land experience for allowing me to become what I have and will always strive to be: an Ambassador for Peace.

Thank you for ACLC and the opportunities which will enlighten and quicken me with the power and motivation of the Holy Spirit.

Help me, guide me, use me, for I want to be all I can be, do all I can do, and most humbly listen to, read, study, understand, and be a true doer of the Word.

Rev. Martin J. Walker

I gained insight into I learned more about other faiths and to be more tolerant of otherís faiths and interact with people of other races. Father Moon, please continue to do what you are doing for peace in spite of opposition. Hold up marriages that follow Godís way.

Andrew Wilson:

Godís power and glory is present in the most dangerous and difficult place Gaza. I felt an unexpected and mysterious joy pervading the conference room. It softened the rough edges and pain of all the Palestinians. God really loves the suffering people of Palestine. I can no longer hate them. I only have compassion for them and wish them all success. As a Jew, this was a happy thought. I want to honor and bless even the most murderous terrorist.

On the bus in Gaza, while waiting at the border, I had a profound experience of the Holy Spirit. I was totally overcome. We were singing hymns and dancing, when suddenly I was overcome with a spirit of holy laughter. Rev. Edwards laid hands on me and I fell down on the seat. I couldnít move. I marveled at this. While others experienced the Holy Spirit at the Upper Room, I experienced her touch in Gaza.

I know that God meets us in places of suffering and self-denial. Going into Gaza is life and death. I gave up my life to go there. I went on that bus ready to die. Instead, God met me and gave me an experience of unforgettable joy.

I will never stop working for peace in the Middle East. It is my determination and my destiny. Thank you, True Parents, for lifting my life into a place of historical significance. I will not fail you.

Sheila and Dave Zohman:

Although I am not a member of the Unification Church, I have profound appreciation for these joyous and spiritual, thought-provoking experiences. My love for my Savior was deepened as I walked in His footsteps in the Holy Land. My understanding of the conflict in the Middle East completely changed my perspective. I am committed to sharing this message of peace.

Another new love I felt was for the many pastors, rabbis, reverends and religious leaders who serve the Lord according to their personal conviction. How I love and admire them in a whole new way

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