Unification News for July 2004

Cross-Country Walker for "Reconciliation and Peace"

by Jim Flynn

After crossing the desert from Reno, Nevada, Mr. Matsuo Machida arrived in Heber City, Utah, on Friday evening, June 25. This leg of his cross-country walk for "Reconciliation and Peace," which began June 1 in San Francisco, brought him close to the 800-mile mark. After walking through the desert for days, Mr. Machida was understandably very happy to walk through mountains, past rivers and waterfalls. He and his young traveling companion, Jesse Berndt, then drove to Salt Lake City, where they were hosted by Michael and Wendy Stovall and treated to a Japanese meal at the Sakura Sushi Restaurant.

Mr. Machida, who lived in the United States for 14 years, made his determination to undertake this walk after September 11, 2001. He said, "I had visited the World Trade Center many times. When I saw the victims and the collapsed buildings that were full of memories, I asked God desperately, ‘Why has this happened? What should America do?’ God answered me, "America, love your enemy.’" He is praying that America will turn to God at this time and find the way to peace.

On Saturday morning, more than forty guests gathered in the Stovall’s’ garden for breakfast to welcome Mr. Machida to Utah. Mrs. Stovall, Utah Coordinator for the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, officially welcomed him, and Rev. Sung Jo Hwang of the Utah Family Church gave an invocation. Then guests mingled and had breakfast and took photos with Mr. Machida. The children present were especially inspired by Mr. Machida’s marathon effort and that he took the time to speak to them personally.

Mrs. Stovall presented Mr. Machida with a commemorative gift and two proclamations. Mr. Machida was also presented with a yellow Utah tee shirt and a book entitled "Utah on My Mind," which all the guests signed.

Following the breakfast, the guests were invited to join Mr. Machida on a symbolic walk in Salt Lake City from the Capitol to the Temple Square of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and along to City Hall. We then drove to a site that overlooked the city where a concluding prayer was given.

Because Mr. Machida’s right leg had become slightly swollen during his walk across the desert, he had it checked. The doctor said that he had developed an infection and that he should come back on Sunday for a check-up. Although he had been planning to leave on Saturday, news that Mrs. Yasue Erikawa was flying into Salt Lake City late that night to see him, helped Mr. Machida decide to rest his leg.

The following morning, after the doctor confirmed that his leg was much improved from the rest and medication, we went to the Utah Family Church where Mrs. Erikawa gave a Sunday Service and introduced Mr. Machida, who gave a short talk about how he first met Rev. Moon years ago in New York state. At that meeting, Rev. Moon talked to him for a long time in Japanese. "Father and Mother Moon have taught me the way of repentance and how to live beyond national boundaries," he explained. "It was because of them that I came to America and grew to love this great country."

"Both in Japan and in America, we are worried about our youth and the breakdown of our families. We feel that we need God. … Father Moon is asking America to turn to God at a time when this country is so challenged from within and from without."

After lunch at the church, we finally bade farewell to Mr. Machida and Jesse. Mrs. Erikawa and Rev. Hwang accompanied them back to Heber City, where Mr. Machida re-commenced his walk along Route 40 to Vernal, Utah, and then headed into the mountains on his way to Denver, Colorado.


by Peggy Yujiri

Mr. Matsuo Machida arrived in the Denver area late on July 11th. He stayed just west of Denver in Golden, Colorado and then continued his cross-country trek at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. By 7:00 am he had reached the Denver Family Church where he stopped for a quick breakfast. From there, he was accompanied by Rev. Shang Seon Park and several second generation youth. They walked all day across Denver, into Aurora and almost to the outskirts of the city.

In the evening, after finishing his walking, Mr. Machida was brought back to the Denver Family Church for a reception in his honor. Dr. Chang Shik Yang and Mrs. Yasue Erikawa had flown into Denver to greet him and to encourage him in his goal to walk across all of the United States, promoting peace and reconciliation.

After dinner the Denver church members and local Ambassadors for Peace gathered in the sanctuary to hear Mr. Machida’s moving testimony. He was introduced by Dr. Yang, who shared with us that True Parents had been deeply moved by Mr. Machida’s determination and had asked that American members also support his trip and walk together with him. Mrs. Erikawa shared something of the background and history of the Machida family. She told us that God’s spirit was with Mr. Machida and that thousands of angels were following him on his way.

Then Mr. Machida shared with us. He told us that his power comes from his deep gratitude to True Parents for the love they have shared with him. He told us all a story of his encounter with Rev. Moon at Jacob House in the early 70’s. He also explained that he was present at the final sermon of Rev. Moon before he was incarcerated in Danbury prison. At the time he felt such anguish to see this great man who had sacrificed so much being unjustly imprisoned. He determined that some day he would do something to try to demonstrate Rev. Moon’s genuine heart for reconciliation and peace, and to work to clear up the misconceptions. Now he feels that he finally has the opportunity to do just that through his cross-country mission of peace. His walk is an act of prayer that all people can understand the heart of God at this time, calling us all to recognize that we are one family under the parenthood of God. He has determined to carry out this cross-country walk no matter how difficult.

Mr. Machida wears True Parents’ picture on his chest and also carries a sign which proclaims his support for Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s message of reconciliation and peace on his backpack. He is always proud of his affiliation with Rev. Moon and he wants the world to know. Beyond the language and culture barriers, he is bringing this message to America.

Today Machida recommenced his arduous journey at the eastern edge of Denver and out onto the Great Plains, heading toward Kansas City. Mrs. Erikawa, Rev. Park and many of the Denver Church members joined him this morning for today’s walk in almost 100 degree heat under a blazing sun. We will all be praying for his success in his noble journey. Thank you Mr. Machida!

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