Unification News for May 1997

Taking my Parents to the Blessing

Michael Yakawich
May, 1997
Billings, MT

As my parents received the Blessing of their marriage on March 30, 1997, my wife and I were flooded by many memories of the past 18 years. During the ceremony, my mother was moved to tears. She explained later that "the ceremony was very nice." The past years have presented tough and uncertain times between my parents and myself. Nevertheless, I can sincerely state that it was due to my association with the Unification Movement which brought me to a closer appreciation and a deeper love for my parents.

When my folks first heard of my joining the Unification community, they were surprised and alarmed. There is no hiding the fact that much persecution and bias was spread and that these influenced my family. It wasn't easy for many people to accept my new faith and lifestyle as a missionary. Nevertheless, the years of contact through letters and phone calls, when miles separated us, and visits in later years, have helped dispel many misconceptions.

No son could have better parents. Their dedication to the Catholic Church was and continues to be an inspiration to my wife and me. In fact, we send our children to Catholic school. That framework of a family life and role model is what they set for all of the nine children they brought into this world.

How did this journey lead to today and to sharing the Blessing with them? I can only give great credit to them for all their love, patience and parenting. They have welcomed many Unification missionaries to their home. There was always a hot meal and a warm conversation available. Making sure that each fund-raiser or itinerant missionary traveling through with me or alone would be well-fed and taken care of has always been my mother's standard. Of course, there would be plenty of room for questions and comments about their own life of faith.

In 1979 when I joined, my father's words still remain embedded in my heart. He said, "When times are difficult, don't give up. Evaluate and maybe try another position, but don't be a quitter." Since arriving back in Montana on assignment from Rev. Moon to pastor the state activities, my father and I have shared many exciting experiences. In 1993 we traveled to Seattle to hear Rev. Moon speak. During the United to Serve America programs, he traveled with me to his hometown, Roundup, Montana, to introduce me to his the mayor and other friends of his. In 1995 he traveled to Alaska to attend another talk by Rev. Moon and later to do some deep-sea fishing for halibut with church members. Later that year, he traveled to Billings to hear Rev. Moon's son give a public talk.

As a soldier during WW2 in the Pacific, a teamster by profession and a wonderful father and grandfather, he has been a source of honor and pride for me. As an artist, he had painted a watercolor which was presented to Rev. and Mrs. Moon in Seattle on one occasion. Later, he painted some pictures for special awards presented to mayors in Montana under the United to Serve America project.

Through the years I have worked on various fundraising projects for the church. Both my parents as well as other family members are impressed by the hard work and effort which goes into fundraising with flowers, pictures and other items. My dad, in fact, traveled with me one day as I fund-raised with flowers. He never forgets how some good contributors would honk their car and have me pull over to the side of the road. Now finding me, they would be so happy to get some flowers from me. Having shared such experiences with my dad, they are good memories we continue to bring up and discuss.

In conclusion, this is my way of saying how proud I am of my parents. They have treated members of the Unification movement with kindness. Even parents of members have been embraced by them, welcomed to their home and encouraged to share honestly and freely with them. They remain faithful to the Catholic Church as they love and respect others of different faiths. And I am brought back to the Blessing photo of my parents with my wife and five children. We have indeed gone through many emotions and experiences over the years. Yet the heart of parent and child remained intact and true. Their openness and willingness to come and receive the Blessing from my wife and me over their marriage of 50 years is that testament.

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