Unification News for November 1996


The Prayer

by Victoria Wilding-Richmond, B.C., Canada

The century-old wooden planks of the social hall verandah creaked under my resolute gait. I walked out of the snug staff-room and into the cool, fresh air of Aetna Springs, California. The camp staff had just finished an intense three-hour meeting concerning the children's lack of respect, focus and motivation. So far, the standards here were not comparable to those I had experienced at a camp in New York last summer. The challenging spiritual and physical training, strict rules and sacrificial leadership there had been the elements of success. They had provided fertile soil in which all participants could grow and produce fruits of profound joy. Now, one year later, I wanted to recreate this priceless experience. The children here needed to rid themselves of their infectious laziness and complaints. As a group and exercise leader, I not only had the opportunity but the crucial responsibility to provide them with the desperately required discipline, training and direction.

Walking toward my room, I passed by the large white sign hanging in front of the dining area. "ONE HEART CAMP" it read in bold red letters. Below it in smaller blue letters there was printed in Korean han ma-um, which being interpreted signifies: one heart. One Heart Camp is a Unification Church camp based in Korea. My church camps are not for mere fun. They are meant for experiencing spiritual growth and the resultant divine joy. This fundamental goal had finally dawned on me during staff meeting. Until then, the grip I had on my group was feeble. Our most recent group meeting had been tumultuous and disorderly. Walking to staff meeting earlier that night, I had felt I was drowning in a sea of infirmity and helplessness. But now, I felt my heart had seen the lighthouse and was swimming diligently toward it. I arrived at my room. Inside, the room's walls and closed windows had trapped all body heat emitted by the rows of sleepers. Surrounded in warmth, my body felt at ease, yet my mind was still restless and unstable. A fervent desire to pray drew me back into the chill night, out on the porch. Repelling the lurking fear of obscurity, I began my prayer.

I began by repenting for the all-too-many times I had failed to understand, recognize and unite with God's Heart. Indispensable tears started slipping down the sides of my face, turning themselves in at last. I repented for my impotence as a group leader and as a role- model to the entire camp. My eyes had become a trickling fountain, my heart its source. Now shaking with emotion, repentance evolved into thanks. My heart swelled with gratitude for being in a leadership position. I prayed I could inspire and motivate others with a parental heart. On this high note, I closed my prayer. It was three o'clock in the morning, but before resting, I made sure everyone was well covered. For those few who weren't, I silently spread one of my blankets on top of them. The love and care I felt for the children in those moments is indescribable. Their well-being and futures were the sole thought on my mind as I went to sleep.

I awoke promptly, early the following morning. I made my way through the parched yellow grass to the Holy Ground to begin my day with God. After praying, I hustled over to the social hall steps, where everyone was soon to gather for morning service.

Children and group leaders gradually emerged from their various nighttime retreats at a generally sleepy pace, and began to form lines. Seven-thirty, the official exercise time, came. My responsibility started. I stood at the top step. After straightening the lines, we began warm-ups. I made sure everyone was counting loud and in unison. Laziness is like poison to one's spirit. It was not to be reflected in morning exercises, let alone the whole camp. We continued with running. Unlike previous runs, this time we were going to run in two straight lines, shouting "Hana, dul, set, net! Shim-jong tong-il!" (One, two, three, four! Unity of heart!) The emphasis was on unity, because as a group, unity is a vital key to accomplishment not only now, but especially in the future.

The third and most challenging component of morning exercises came next. It was time for "unity jumping jacks." Three, four and seven were our numbers that morning. This meant those three numbers would be skipped while counting from one to twenty-one. We started, counting "ONE!"..."TWO!"... Amidst the silent pounding of feet, rising dust, swift raising of arms and innocent pants, came a lone "three!" With a short sigh of disappointment, everyone stopped jumping. Some glanced at the culprit. Most were anxious to re-start. I led everyone in an energetic "UNITY! FOCUS! LIVING FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS!" and proceeded.

I gave us three chances to successfully complete the exercise. Each try failed and led to punishment (indemnification). The first was "unity squats," the second was pushups, the third another run. Amazingly, following each one, I was met with rows of exhausted yet determined children endeavoring to reach their goal. We stopped there, only because we had already reached our internal goal. We had persevered through the difficult struggle without complaint or resignation, but in unity. Victory and absolute joy lay in each of our hearts. My prayer resounded from the depths of my heart. It was through prayer that God was able to work.

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