Unification News for May 2004
Wave of Evangelism Hits the Pacific Northwest
by Gerhard Wiesinger
On April 24th and 25th, the Seattle Region held a leaders witnessing seminar titled, "Bringing the Blessing to the People." Over 40 leaders from around the region attended the two-day conference. Even though so many other programs were taking place at the same time, the regional community turned out in great numbers to gather, share ideas, listen to speakers and continue to work out new strategies for witnessing in the region.
Inspired by the recent national leaders conference in Maryland lead by Dr. Yang, Rev. Michael Jenkins and Rev. Philip Shanker, Bishop Lee was deeply encouraged and inspired to bring a similar leadership conference to our region.
Bishop Lee set the atmosphere with his testimony of fishing recently with Father Moon and many other members on the Hudson River. "Our life of witnessing is like fishing, " has said. "We must be creative and never give up. Some forms fishing work for some and not for others. We all need to find out what techniques and styles of witnessing work for each individual and family." His wisdom was to gather the region to brainstorm, give testimonies of successful models and overall give people a chance to refocus on outreach and growing our congregation.
Rev. Gerhard Wiesinger, the vice regional leader, did an excellent job in moderating the seminar. He led each session with Father Moonís words on witnessing from the serious to the humorous. He pointed out that these very words are applicable now as they were when they were first spoken. Rev. Wiesinger often made the comment that even the smallest examples of witnessing are important. "You can hand out cookies to your neighbor and that is a great start for your community outreach," said Gerhard. "Donít think you cannot do it because the task seems so large. First start with what skills you have and begin there."
Those who attended came from various parts of the community from executives in the fish company, to owners of their own business to housewives and church ministers. They all were elders and respective leaders in different areas of the church. These community people have dedicated a great deal of their time over the years for the sake of the church. Their hearts are burning with the desire to double the members in the next couple of years. They wish to see more and more new people join our church and they have the hope that this will occur.
As part of the seminar, the church service with the theme, "Being a Light to the World" began our second day. Testimonies from some who came back from the fishing tournament on the Hudson River set the precedence for another inspiring day. During the Sunday Service, the church echoed in one voice a renewed determination to be the "salt of the earth" and "a light set on top of the hill" to be a witness to Lord Jesus and Father Moon in the desire of all mankind to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
Rev. Mike Yakawich, pastor of the Family Church in Montana, gave personal testimonies and breakthroughs among the congregation in Montana. His presentations demonstrated that there can be a great deal of joy and excitement in witnessing. He emphasized that to love your spouse and your family is the best start to any form of witnessing. From the family, we can be a witness to the community and invite many to our church. People will see the love we have and see our actions are speaking louder than our words.
Topics presented ranged from "What is witnessing all about?" "Overcoming obstacles-Empowering the Leader". "Strength and Power through stabilizing our family" to "The public is our Friend" and "So much to learn about marriage-so little time". They were thought provoking and stimulated a great deal of discussion. How to schedule our time from work, family and witnessing?" Or "Who should I witness to and where should I start witnessing?"
Mrs. Susie Evans recent trip to Oceania inspired those attending the seminar about a fire of evangelism taking place further out in the Pacific Ocean. Others rekindled their earlier experiences of witnessing; door-to-door evangelism and the good times spent developing Home Church outreach.
The seminar ended with a deeper sense that as a community we wish to make a determination to witness much more. Many expressed repentance for not reaching out more to the community when they could have and made a new commitment to do so. As Bishop Lee summarized, "We will need to meet more and strategize more on what can be most effective. However, this is a great new beginning." He praised the membership for what they have done so far especially in their dedication to the national and internal providential programs, seminars and outreach. As Rev. Wiesinger concluded the seminar, "I look forward to your own personal testimonies on how you witnessed and broke through. I am confident our community will be even a greater light to the greater community in the months and years ahead."
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