Unification News for July and August 1998
Special Task Force
by Joni Choi
The Special Task Force (STF) was created by True Father on August 4,1994 as the front line activity of World CARP. It is a program designed for high school graduates before they enter college. Time spent on STF is first of all service and public offering. For a whole year or maybe two, participants are faced with the challenge of living together with a large group of members all in pursuit of a common but difficult goal: to transform the American campus and save the spiritual lives of young students. During the first year of STF only five Second Generation participated, now there are twenty this year along and more are joining up for next year.
These one or two years have given spiritual rebirth to many Second Generation and gave them the chance to find out who they were and establish their own faith as opposed to simply following their parents. It serves as part of a formula course, which prepares the Second Generation for the challenges of college and the Blessing. For many it has been described as a conversion experience. Here is one of many testimonies from the participants this year. Cemo Runyon is 19 years old and participated in the STF program. This year she also was matched and Blessed to Sang Pyo Kim during Blessing í98.
by Cemo Runyon
STF was definitely an experience for me. I went through hell to find heaven. Trust me, getting to heaven is no easy ride- I had to work my butt off to even catch a glimpse of paradise. However, the bumpy road along the way was well worth it. I wouldnít have traded my experiences for a smoother more comfy ride. I gained a lot these two years here, internally as well as externally.
By summer time, I will by celebrating my second year anniversary in surviving STF. Okay, maybe surviving is a harsh word-I mean to say Ďof happily living in STF.í
Either way, Iíve been here for two solid years and I know how much Iíve drastically changed, and that is why I feel indebted towards STF. NO doubt I went through the metamorphosis kicking and screaming at times, but sometimes the best medicine is the bitterest.
My first year was about breaking concepts-not only about God, this crazy church and other people, but about myself as well. As much as I hate to admit, it was fundraising that changed my way of thinking for life. It was just the prescription I needed. My whole life I ate, slept and breathed in this imaginary box I built for myself. It was my protective shield against the world. It decided what I could and could not do. I concocted a belief system that was very unhealthy for me. I had complete faith that there were certain skills and talents that I would never attain so there was no use in even trying; to make matters worse, my concepts didnít stop there. I misjudged people by the way they looked or behaved, I misjudged God based on my experiences in the church, and I misjudged the church based on my experiences with the people in it.
Okay, so I had misconceptions coming out of my eyes and ears. Then one fateful day on a long road towards Texas, my very Japanese team captain (a.k.a. the limousine driver) said in the friendliest way possible, "Okay Sheemo San, you are the next drop off." And so I began my life as a fundraiser on STF. Something inside me began to change. People who I was certain would never buy, loved my wind chimes and those who I thought would buy every chime on my display, kicked me out the door before I could utter a word. Instead of stuttering and bashfully talking to strangers, I began to confidently communicate with whomever crossed my path. And the idea that God was a Caucasian dude a long white beard (similar to Moses), who communicated from a distance with His wooden case was crushed by a different viewpoint. God became someone more personal, someone who actually had character and personality.
All of a Sudden I had stepped out of my small box and say the world and myself in a different light. People in general did not seem so different from each other (Youíd be surprised at how many people tell you the same jokes if you are selling wind chimes on Christmas day). Things I would have never dared to do became a daily ritual (its actually not so difficult to sneak into a restaurant and fundraise to customers once you get used to it). The tears I cried and the pain I felt on the battlefield became my strongest connection to God. And I began to believe that anything was possible when it came to changing myself for the better.
When I changed enough and had finally realized perfection, I decided to stay another year of STF for the purpose of guiding those less fortunate than I. Okay, it was a joke. My point is, even though my fundraising days have changed me a lot, the road to maturity is longer than I can even imagine. Yes, I did break many concepts that year but I have many more to defeat. My protective box may have widened but it definitely has not shattered. The more I grow, the more I realize just how much more I need to know. Isnít life interesting?
My path onward to another year of STF did not happen without a bit of coaxing. And now I find myself, wrapping up a second year as a professional STFer. My second time around gave way to even more winding roads and surprising turns. Hell became more real and heaven seemed less attainable, but the times I did meet God became more precious. And before the second year began, I knew there would be some nice new struggle waiting for me.
The most surprising turn of events happened the day I was sent to Chino Hills workshop site and became an honorary staff member. I remember that day very clearly because that day I was sure I was going to die. That never happened but I came pretty darned close. The first several weeks there felt like eternity. I never went through such a wide range of emotions. Since my responsibility was to take care of guests, my biggest struggle was stuffing down all the anger and tears and slapping on a happy face when a guest walked through that Chino Hills door. I couldnít put my emotions first; I had to give when I felt like there was nothing left to give.
I thought for sure the leaders had made a big mistake when they chose me as staff and that it would not be long before they realized this truth. I missed everyone at the LA center and all the familiarities of that lifestyle. I had no idea what I was doing and was an emotional basket case most of the time. So why am I telling you all this? Because things did finally change.
Suddenly I found myself spouting out principle that I didnít even know I knew and relating deeply with people Iíd met only a couple of hours ago. I found the strength to be an example and guide people towards God. Of course, I still have my hang-ups but when I rise to the occasion, I am able to pull myself up. Iím constantly amazed at my own ability to underestimate my true potential.
In the back of my head I always knew that members must go through some transition process from being a "non-moonie" to a complete "moonie". However there was a time when I strongly believed that our "moonies" just poof-appeared. I mean, how could someone completely change their perspective on life by some seminar, and then agree to have their spouse chosen by a total stranger? In other words, I did not believe the Principle was that potent. That was, of course, until Chino Hills. And that was, of course, until I saw people change right before my eyes there. The guests began testifying to me about the power of the Principle, and I remember thinking, "Uhhh yeah, I guess they are right. Whoa, Iíd better shape up and catch up to these guys."
And donít worry, I did.
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