Unification News for June 2004

Walk Across America - A Prayer Of Peace And Reconciliation

by Rev. Thompson

Many people, upon hearing that an 1800 couple Japanese brother was planning to walk across America from California to Connecticut June 1, 2004, had the same reaction. "What kind of crazy Kamikaze Japanese guy is this?" However upon meeting Mr. Matsuo Machida the doubts and skepticism is washed away by the realization that this is one of the most unassuming brothers one could ever meet and that he feels very clearly called by God to do this. Mr. Machida has walked the length of Japan twice and walked from Pusan to the 38th parallel in Korea to reverse the course Father walked from Hungnam to Pusan. Bill Bechtel who has volunteered to be the assistant to the travel for the first leg from San Francisco to Reno, Nevada commented that this man is so humble and yet you feel that he is living in the joy of God. Indeed that is the sense that many people felt after a short time with Mr. Machida. He seemed quite overwhelmed and rather embarrassed by all the fuss that his Walk Across America is generating.

Originally the walk was planned from Los Angeles to Connecticut but because of the hot weather which would be encountered in the southern states it was decided to begin in San Francisco instead. This seemed to make sense from the viewpoint that the first Holy Ground in America is here at Twin Peaks and the birthplace of many of our members was here in the Bay Area. This change of venue presented a problem logistically for Rev Man Ho Kim and the church staff who had to prepare in just two days on Memorial Day weekend. The church members rallied around and were able to prepare a wonderful welcome and send off for Mr. Machida.

On May 31st at the Bay Area Family Church we held a kickoff ceremony for this historic walk. We heard that one of the reasons Mr. Machida is walking across America is to bring attention to the fact that 20 years ago America put True Father in Danbury prison and this is a wrong which is yet to be corrected. After watching a video about Fatherís time in Danbury we heard from former President of HAS-UWC Dr. Mose Durst that Father was the same in prison as he is anywhere else, always a man of heavenly dignity. Dr. Durst said that was one of the lasting lessons that he learnt from Father was the dignity of men and women of God and he contrasted that to todayís world where we see the breakdown of culture. Rev Leland Harrington, an ACLC minister came and gave his words of support and encouragement for this endeavor.

Mrs. Yasuo Erikawa did a great job of introducing Mr. Machida and also Mr. Yasuo Inokuchi. Mr. Inokuchi has fasted 40 days on 7 different occasions and planned to start another 40 day fast on July 20th, the anniversary of Fatherís incarceration. Mr. Inokuchi and Mr. Machida flet like kindred spirits in often being misunderstood and lonely in trying to follow and carry out godís calling. Mr. Inokuchi found out that at the times he had fasted in the past, unbeknownst to him that was the exact times that Mr. Machida was walking. Somehow, by Godís hand, this Walk Across America has brought them together to offer their dedication to God ad True Parents.

Mr. Machida was moved to tears and those tears in turn moved the heart of the audience. By the time we had the cake cutting and Manseiís we were all inspired and ready to participate with Machida san on the walk.

Next day June 1, 2004, the anniversary of Yankee Stadium, we went to Twin Peaks Holy Ground in San Francisco. On a typical brisk morning brothers and sisters prepared our hearts and offered amazing support for Mr. Machida as he started his historic trek at the sight of Fatherís first Holy Ground in America created on February 1965. After powerful representative prayers by Rev Baek Joong Ku, West Block Director, representing Korea, Mrs. Yasue Erikawa, World Itinerary Worker, representing Japan and Rev. Bento Leal, ACLC Regional Director, representing USA, words of encouragement from Ambassador For Peace Il Kyun Shin we then had a powerful statement of determination by Mr. Machida. 3 Manseis and we were off walking. First destination was the Golden Gate Bridge. This caused a mini stir with the Park police who run the bridge and the surrounding Presidio as they thought they were witnessing a protest, which they are very cautious about. Upon reassurance that this was not a protest and not an attempt to disrupt bridge traffic they gave permission to walk the bridge, albeit without any signs or flags on display.

And so the historic Walk Across America has begun. Mr Machida is on his way. He is determined and committed to making this a great spiritual condition for the liberation of the Danbury situation and to be an inspiration to the elder son nation of America.

The Third Day began bright and early at 4:00a.m. and the course took Machida san through the town of Fairfield and into the countryside on the way to Davis. Two of the accompanying staff Mr Inokuchi and Mr. Takeda returned to Japan leaving a travelling party of Mr Shin from Korea, Mr. Machida from Japan and Bill Bechtel from America. Communicating together in broken English and heart they have constant decisions to make and routes to plan out. On the way they meet all kinds of people.Very early in the morning a man bicycling to Sacamento and later, looking rather out of place a man building a 36 foot boat in the countryside. They were joined for part of the day by a few KEA members who offered their support and walked for a while. Tonight they will stay once more at the home of Rutherford and Olga Smith in Davis and then be off early in the morning heading through Sacramento and beyond.

Another early start at 4:00a.m meant that another day of great progress could be made. Walking at over 3 miles per hour and walking for 13 hours means that they have been covering 30-40 miles a day. Mr Machida seems to be at his best with very little fuss and when he can just put his head down and go. Today they hit the capitol city of California, Sacramento. They were hosted for lunch by Shinoske and Miyano Takahashi at their Japanese restaurant and they had a wonderful sharing together. Then back to walking. This time they walked until 9:00p.m. then they met with Sacramento members at the home of Family Church Pastor Charles deWatteville. A wonderful welcome for Mr. Machida and a chance for the members to hear his story and his motivation. Tomorrow they leave Sac`ramento and head for the mountains towards Lake Tahoe--spectacular views but more challenging walking. One member said Mr. Machida is like teh Buddhist monks who would walk from temple to temple, praying as they go.

Walk Across America - The Fifth Day

Through the city of Sacramento on to Auburn and then to Applegate. The Walk Across America started at 4:00a.m. and kept going until 10:00p.m. After a wonderful night with Sacramento members and a good (short) sleep Machida san was off walking and keeping a good pace. He ran across two women who asked him what he was doing. When he told them he was walking across America they said "Are you kidding?" When they saw his sign they realized he was not kidding and they whipped out their cameras and started taking pictures. They wanted to be helpful so they gave directions as to how he could cut some time. Unfortuantely following those directions was not easy and they got Mr. Machida off track on Christian Valley Road. Then by some divine guidance Brian Goldstein was driving along with his two sons and came across Mr. Machida. They walked with him for a while and then realized that this was not the right direction and so they were able to get him back on track. The deWatteville family walked for a while and kept him company. Now he heads into the Sierra mountains and on towards Nevada.

The first day of climbing started bright and early at 4:00. Leaving the home of Paul and Junko Eagle, Mr. Machida set off for the Sierra mountains anxiously looking forward to the challenge ahead. Through Auburn, Baxter, Dutch Flats and Cisco toward Immigrant Gap the walk kept going. As the body of former President Ronald Reagan ( the President when Father went to Danbury) was crossing the country from coast to coast so the body and spirit of Matsuo Machida was walking across America, one step at a time. Todays climb took him to 6500 feet above sea level and involved 14 miles of freeway walking with traffic whizzing by. The Highway Patrol said told Bill Bechtel that there was no legal issue with walking on this stretch of freeway but they did say that it is highly dangerous and to walk with extreme care. This plus the steep grades made the walk the most challenging so far but Mr. Machida simply said, "I love it!" The party will sleep in a camp site at Immigrant Flat tonight and then move on towards Truckee and Reno.

On the 7th Day California was completed. Mr. Machida said "Ronald Reagan was #1 Californian and now he will help me on this journey." Last night the group camped out. Bill Bechtel estimated how far Mr. Machida would get and chose a campground. He just finished pitching the tent and was about to go pick up Mr. Machida when who walked into the campground---Mr. Machida. They were so happy to see each other and connect exactly at the right place that they hurried towards each other. Bill considered giving a "High Five" but because of cultural differences thought better of it and then was thinking to bow and in the split second of indecision they both hugged each other and experienced great joy on the Sierra mountain top.

They slept in the chilly tent and rose at 3:30a.m to begin again. Yesterday there was a lot of freeway walking but today was much more rural and very few cars. Spectacular views all around as they passed Soda Springs and Donner Pass (where the famous Donner party had met the severe winter and had to turn to cannibalism to survive) and on to Truckee. Over 7000 feet in elevation they had climbed.

In Reno they all visited and prayed at the original burial site of Young Jin Nim. Then they went to the home of Michael Smith for dinner. The Reno family members brought two Ambassador For Peace guests who had both walked across America in their younger days and they were able to share their testimony with everyone. Dr Yang in turn shared about the recent Israel Providence and all of the great work for Peace In the Middle East. Patrick Hickey gave a gift of a book about Highway 50 "The Loneliest Road In The World' as that is the next stretch that the walk will take through Nevada. A new driver came to relieve Bill Bechtel who had done a great job in getting the party safely through California in a timely manner. Now 2nd Generation Jessie Berndt will be the driver and he is looking forward to the adventure

Today Mr. Machida had company as he started off walking in Nevada. He had Dr Chang Shik Yang and Mrs Erikawa to walk with him. Dr Yang offered much encouragement and advice and Mrs. Erikawa walked together the whole day Now the walk is on Interstate 80 on a wide strip next to the freeway. They experienced the first rain today, just a light drizzle and it was welcome. The scenery was so beautiful with early morning mist coming off the lake and gorgeous meadows.

Interesting story in today's USA TODAY about a man who is walking from North to South, Florida to Boston covering 1200 miles. At the same time that Machida san is walking west to east. The purposes of course is very very different and on a total different level.

Jesse Berndt had his first day at the wheel as the support person and is learning from Bill Bechtel what he needs to do. He is the right brother for this mission and is going to have a memorable experience. Tonight they will stay at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Song in Carson City the they hit the long lonely roads of Nevada.

Mr. Machida saw a rainbow across a lake and he was very excited because he remembered seeing the same thing when he walked Japan and he said this was God's sign that he was going to be successful on the walk.

Patrick Hickey asked Mr. Machida what he thought about while walking and the emphatic reply was "NOTHING--I think about nothing---and then every once in a while God gives me some amazing thought and my task is to capture it to share with brothers and sisters.

The trek moved onto 1-50 from Carson City to Fernley then on towards Fallon. This is the route of the old Pony Express and of course it is also "Bonanza" country. On for 350 miles across Nevada the walk continues.

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