Unification News for January 1999

Thatched Roofs and Straight Truth

True God’s Day 1999 in Punta del Este
Dr. Tyler O. Hendricks -- NYC

Punta del Este. I think it means the eastern point. Montevideo is on the southern side of Uruguay, across the broad expanse of the La Plata River from its neighbor to the south, Argentina. This river, 100 miles wide at Montevideo, extends north into the heart of True Parents’ kingdom in South America. It passes by the Hotel Salobra, within a few hours of Jardim, and up into the Pantanal. Moving south from Montevideo, it opens out into the Atlantic Ocean. Driving along the coast to the east and then turning north from Montevideo, you pass the airport and enter a very pleasant coastal environment. It is a place of vacation homes. I could compare it with Carmel, California; call it the Monterrey of Uruguay. It is here, after an hour’s drive, that we find this pleasant estate we call Punta del Este.

It is just lovely, a land of thatched roofs. I have never seen a thatched roof up close, but Punta del Este is just full of them. Curious and quaint, mixed among the Frank Lloyd Wright wannabe’s. South America, wherever I’ve gone, shows little evidence of the urban planning one finds in North America. This may be the reason the houses seem so disparate from each other. Or it could just be my gringo unfamiliarity with the culture; maybe we are the strange ones, with cookie-cutter dwellings and some degree of color and materials consistency. In any case, each dwelling seems to me to be an architect’s fantasy, one of a kind in all the world. It made for fascinating bus rides to and from the beach.

I picked up some local color from members. Most of the homes in Punta are owned by Argentineans who made their money in beef during the 30s and 40s, selling to both sides. Today, money is so short, the people so poor, and the atmosphere so -- wild west?wild west? -- that the banks are guarded by soldiers. Bank runs from a McDonalds are taken with several guards holding loaded machine guns. We are close to Paraguay, and there are a lot of bank robbers in Paraguay. Once I heard that, I realized what was strange about the sounds of celebration we heard at midnight God’s Day. They were not fireworks; they were guns.

Arrival at our estate was uplifting from the first moments. The air was lit yellow from the setting sun -- it was mild and fragrant, and the lawns and trees spread silently in all directions. Brothers and sisters came and went, not many, and I soon learned that Father was speaking in the theater and so most people were there. I filled out my registration form—a torn piece of paper because they had run out of copies, paid my fee, received my map of the property and found my way to the brothers’ bungalows.

These were two huge tents, reminiscent of Chung Pyung Lake, large enough for 200 or more sleeping bag, -- uitcase and toiletry displays. They turned out just big enough. Almost no one was there when I arrived, but the sleeping turf had been claimed to a great extent. I followed my spiritual nose and found a place to squeeze between two anonymous sleeping bags—later that night I was pleased to find old friends Rev. Sudo, Dr. Shimmyo and Mr. Takahashi (of CARP martial arts fame) as my neighbors.

I rushed over to see Father speaking, and he was holding forth in the golden light to 500 or 600 members, walking up and down the aisle of the large t -- nt enclosure. The staging was a colorful and creative amalgam of the Star of David, fish (for Christianity) and the yin-yang symbol, surrounded by the branches of trees. John Morris, State Leader of Ohio, filled me in on what Father had been talking about—mind-body unity. Father spoke at length about breaking habits, forgiving and forgetting, serving and serving, and everything centering on study of God’s words to reach the whole world. He spoke of setting our personal agendas within the context of preparing for 10,000 years in the future.

Here I am, I thought, having traveled across oceans and continents, night and day, by plane and bus, into this unknown corner of the world, to meet the golden sunlight and the Messiah speaking exactly what he would be speaking at Belvedere, at the U.S. Congress, at a science conference, or on a fishing boat in a swamp. Here he is, perfectly at home and absolutely himself. The good things in life stay that way.

We broke for dinner and dressed for the midnight prayer. The food was just fine -- lots of beef and bread, fruit and vegies. Little packets of Brazilian coffee you could make as strong as you liked by the discrete use of hot water. We enjoyed the array of many tables set under the pine trees for eating and conversation. Where can one find a better restaurant and more convivial company?

The day cooled off into a suitably brisk evening and I was glad for the winter coat I had been wearing in New York. Everything at Punta is out- -- f-doors, and when you are just sitting, and you are not far from the ocean, it does get chilly. It was nothing like last year’s True God’s Day, though, the Holy Day of rain. Our brothers and sisters were drenched in rain and slogging in the mud. This year—magnifique! It rained a couple of time during the night, but each day dawned crystal clear. Even the fourth day, when Patrick Kirkbride was warning everyone that a storm was coming, high winds were all that we experienced. Father said he might do True God’s Day there again next year, and that they should improve the facility. I expect a five-star hotel, based upon the amount of improvement over the past year!

We did Hoon Dok Hae until midnight. It consisted of Father’s words about his early life. We had several sessions from those manuscripts, and they were precious, for me they were the deepest element of the teachings this time. Here are some of my notes of what we heard prior to midnight:

The Easter morning I was crying in prayer, Jesus gave me many instructions and teachings. He asked me to play a special role, in short, the whole spirit world unfolded before me, and I could speak with the saints and Jesus. The conversation is the essence of Divine Principle now. I never met Jesus rejoicing, only serious and in sorrow. He went through suffering. Easter was resurrection. But Christians have not understood the meaning of resurrection. So how sorrowful is God. We have to be Jesus’ friends who can heal his heart.

I remember that time. I was young and wanted to keep playing, but my life turned around. I had to keep this heavy burden to myself. To fulfill this responsibility was a big problem. I knew that Noah and Moses were strong but couldn’t fulfill their responsibility. I sacrificed the present for the future.

No one witnessed to me. The starting point was God. I asked to the end if God really exists. I asked if God has hope -- yesyes -- and do you needand do you need -- yesyes -- and how much? I struggled with my faith. I wanted to go to Japan and America. How much you need to know God’s situation and purpose! So I studied the Bible and other scriptures. Since age 16 I lived with Jesus. I could go to spirit world. I could see glimpses on the new age of glory. It turned into Divine Principle and God gave me the mission to spread it. This truth has been buried. I traveled the country. I lived as a beggar. I hitchhiked around the country. I would buy food for the driver, then he would pay for it. I was determined to offer my life.

Because I am still alive, there is still a path to go. Who does God love? Not the strong, not the determined, but those with love. With love, you can go everywhere. Even my parents could not understand my path. The human path follows the heavenly path. To do so you must not have your own self.

I couldn’t buy a present for my parents, because I had to love God first. I will never rest until it is fulfilled. I couldn’t teach my own parents. I had to love others first. You have to decide, yes or no, and answer to your destiny. Even if everyone betrays me, including my family and followers, I will sweep them away and still follow Heavenly Father.

Exactly at midnight Father and Mother prayed. After the prayer, Father wrote this year’s motto: The cosmic expansion of the true blessing and uprooting Satan’s blood lineage.

Then Father spoke for about an hour.

How can God restore the children of His worst enemy? It is a million times more difficult than the creation process itself. He has to find the true family and go through the reversal course through the illegitimate children. But the environment is completely full of Satan’s dominion. So what was closest to God was offered; that was the OT age. It was the way to find the sons and daughters to be the chosen people to bring forth the son of God. This led to Israel and the Roman Empire. But the foundation to receive Jesus killed him instead. This divided the physical world and spirit world and created a new chosen people, the Christian realm. They were to restore the children of Israel, because the body was lost.

They expanded to the world level, step by step. They had to make sacrifices of blood, until 1945. People chosen by the spirit world laid the foundation and the substantial Lord of the Second Advent was ready to come. The chosen ones were like John the Baptist, who was to transfer his foundation to Jesus. The Christian foundation should have gone to Lord of the Second Advent in the position of bride at the end of World War 2. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and all the saints and martyrs had laid the foundation to solve the world’s problems.

If Christianity had received the blessing, it could have established parentship and kingship and turned the world around in one moment. But the entire foundation shattered. It was worse than Jesus going to the cross. The body and mind were separated at the cross. The Lord of the Second Advent should have restored it, but could not, so the 40 year course had to start. How sorrowful and miserable to go through the restoration course of Christ.

By the way, I want here to extend my thanks to Mr. Katsumi Otsuka, president of the church in Japan, for provision of the transmitter that enabled us to have translation, and to Jin Seung Eu and Jin Man Kwak for their tireless interpretation.

It sprinkled on the second night, during the night, but everything was dry by morning. True Parents officiated the Day of the Victory of Love ceremony at 6 a.m., and Father had Won Ju McDevitt read his 1984 speech on Heung Jin Nim’s transition to spirit world. After the reading he spoke for about an hour. I won’t even try to explain what he said; it was too, too intense. Somehow, these veterans of the wars of the Lord absorb everything and cheerfully amble forward on the schedule. The schedule was to divide by lottery into eight teams for the Second Annual World Fishing and Sports Tournament.

After breakfast the teams were off to the beach. The day was bright and sunny, and we drove thro -- gh the town and saw the beautiful vacation homes. We drove to a large public beach and divided into our teams. Eight teams; mine was the red team. We all received a white tee shirt and nylon shorts with our team color. Each person could choose their sport—some beach fishing, some boat fishing, some soccer, some volleyball, some foot racing, and everyone tug-of-war.

The sterling athlete that I am, tough and weathered, running 18 mi -- es a day rain or shine, pumping iron after dessert and of course a compleat angler, for my contribution to this global competition I chose to invest my considerable skills in volleyball. The first task was putting on lots of sunscreen. The second was to figure out where the volleyball court was. Further, we had to calculate how many players were supposed to be on a team. After that, we challenged the task of whether or not the score would be counted sequentially, and to which team points should be credited—the one that hit the successful shot or the one that had the successful shot hit against them.

Then entered Mr. Ishi to set all matters at rest, and the competition ensued. Believe it or not, far from its humble beginnings, my team reached the finals in volleyball on the first day. A raggedly crew, we did feel ourselves hopeless at first, but somehow we developed teamwork. Although there were no stars, everyone was solid enough to get the ball across the net more often than not and to keep out of the other fellow’s way if they were going for the ball. Not only that, on the second day we won the whole tamale! First prize in volleyball, against some incredible 8-foot tall monsters, I’ll tell you! On our team were Mike Jenkins, Farley Jones, two Mr. Oh’s (Sae Ick and Taek Yong), Mr. Takahashi and several Japanese. On the second day, Kyung Ki Sa, president of our church in Europe joined the team, and as we approached final victory, amazingly enough, more and more fatherland leaders joined our team!

True Parents came both days and watched the soccer games and walked about the beach. The weather was sparkling. We arrived back at our estate grounds -- which were reminding me more and more of Belvederewhich were reminding me more and more of Belvedere -- around six on both days of the tournament and cleaned up and had dinner. On the second day, we heard a vague rumor that we should head over to the theater for an awards ceremony. Talk about an understatement.around six on both days of the tournament and cleaned up and had dinner. On the second day, we heard a vague rumor that we should head over to the theater for an awards ceremony. Talk about an understatement. -- The top brass of eastern Uruguay were on the stage. Governors, mayors, tourism directors, newspaper editors and diplomats were there. They gave speeches. They handed out awards to us sports champions. Externally it was not the Olympics, but internally, we—and they—were Heaven’s champions in front of our True Parents.

The True God’s Day entertainment was heartistic and full of enthusiasm. The local acts were touching and, well, really good samples of local culture. Our sister Sandra Lowen mobilized a group of Japanese sisters to sing O Happy Day. Two Brazilian dancing groups were lively, displaying the happy combination of Amazon culture and American rock, the bridge being the powerful electric bass. (As Pastor Glen Martin puts it, "I want to feel God this morning; turn up the bass.") These dancers were pretty and young and it is great for God to see them on His side, standing for purity against the ways and wiles of Satan’s world.

The audience called Hyung Jin Nim to the stage and, with this writer, he performed a spirited rendition of "La Bamba," his signature song, and then, a cappella, a Korean song. But it was True Parents’ performance that stole the show. Father sang four songs, staying long past his desired moment to leave. On his way to the stage, in fact, he feigned departure, taking the turn toward his house a few steps rather than toward the stage. Happy members blocked his path.

Once on stage, with the spirited dancing in front of him, Father gave his heart, giving up the microphone at one point and dancing like a man half his age. He danced with Mother, holding both her hands in his and swinging her back and forth. She didn’t know what to think, but danced along. I wondered, do True Parents ever have the chance to dance together? Out in front of the stage our Korean elders joined in the dance, and then the 20 or so Brazilian dancing girls joined them, livening up the antics of the elders with girlish joy. Now that is world family! Dressed as Amazonian primitives, with paint on their faces and grass skirts, the girls somehow fit with these Korean grandpa’s, innocent enough to dance to the Messiah’s raucous folk songs. These Brazilian girls were truly ecstatic to be close to True Parents. "I was THIS CLOSE," cried one to her friend.

John Chisholm, our East Garden brother who is taking care of our properties in Uruguay, did an incredible job single-handedly preparing the stage, sound and lights for the event. Out of this environment, our WACOM staff in Montevideo broadcast the event on the internet to Japan and from there around the world. They sent the broadcast from the side of the tent.

Our neighbors in Punta play hardball. The night of January 3, from, oh, about 1 or 2 a.m., a friendly neighbor pumped up the volume of a tremendously loud sound system. It was playing music. Not just any music; this was designed to inflict exquisite torture: it was disco music. A full night of disco music blasting through the Monterrey of Uruguay! Can you imagine? It may have been worse than rainstorms. A night full of the BeeGees and Olivia Newton-John. Dan-sin, ye-ee-eh! Stayin’ alive, sta-ayin’ alive! The disco music was mixed with Uruguayan dance music, which sounds basically the same, except more trumpets and mucho macho. We had it full blast through everything, through sleep, through waking up for Pledge, through reciting the Pledge, … until Father started praying.

As Father started his Pledge Service prayer, the sun rose and the, ahem, music stopped. Magic. Heaven. God is alive.

We had a particular blessing by participating in the world-level memorial service of Grandmother Ok -- Ok Sae HyunOk Sae Hyun -- one of the first members to join Father in North Korea. She had passed to spirit world a while Father was in Punta, and Father gave her the title, Sungmo Nim, which means "early mother." Mrs. Hyun Shil Kang, the first follower to join in Pusan, testified about Grandmother Ok’s life.

Mrs. Ok’s husband and she were wealthy people and leading Christians in Pyongyang. She was fifty when she met Father, and she gave up everything to follow him. Her husband, her children, her church -- everyone attacked her and attacked Father. Then Father went to Hungnam prison. Grandmother Ok took him food and clothing once a month. I will quote some of Mrs. Kang’s words:

If someone criticized Father, she would curse them and fight them, and they would be surprised that this elegant Christian woman would speak so. She could not overcome her temper, no matter with whom she was speaking, she would attack with acerbity.

Living there (in Pusan), I went out witnessing and one day came back and saw her face and Father’s face very depressed. She said that her son had come and beat up Father, banging his head against a wall. She told me that her best son came and beat Father. She was willing to separate from her children to serve Father.

She shared deeply when my faith in the second coming was down. If he is the one, I asked, why does he live in such a humble house, wearing summer clothes in winter? Father said he was crazy for God’s will. He and she would encourage me.

She said she visited Father in prison and took him grain powder and made clothes for him, in secret from her husband. It was difficult for her husband not to notice. On the way back from prison one time, she was tempted to cease the visits because of her family, her husband’s opposition, and her lack of money. As she prayed about this, one grandfather with white clothes and a white beard appeared to her and quietly said, "why do you want to stop the visits? He is suffering in the dark room of the prison, but soon Teacher Moon will appear as the Messiah. He came with the mission of savior and pastor, so please continue no matter how difficult." He almost begged her. So she said to herself, "If I discontinue the visits, he will be so disappointed because he longs for my visits, so I should continue no matter how difficult." If the grandfather had not appeared, she could not have continued.

She told me this at the time of my difficulty, and told me, let’s wait a little more. Teacher Moon is not an ordinary person. He came with the mission of the second coming. I was surprised. I loved Jesus and was longing for his return. I always prayed to Jesus that if you come, I want to be the first to meet you! (laughter) Even at night, looking at the moon, I was asking Jesus to come. Now Grandmother Ok was telling me, he is the one you’ve been waiting for. But I thought he would come on the clouds. So I said okay, it is easy to believe in a Jesus in spirit world, but difficult to believe in a Jesus in the physical world, because he endures many trials. If I had lived with Jesus 2,000 years ago, I might not have been able to believe in him. Often I wondered if Father is Jesus. But for Jesus 2,000 years ago it was even more difficult. Jesus was born fatherless, I thought, but at least Teacher Moon is better than that. (laughter)

<-->I do not have the time or space to capture the entirety of the True God’s Day experience this year. Father’s words were continually powerful and revelatory. His accounts of his early life and the life of the early church members brought everything that is happening today into the context of God’s suffering love. True Parents long to care for the whole world. They have promised God that they will make us, all 6 billion of us, one happy family. It may appear as a speck of humanity now, but it is not a speck—it is a seed. Father and Mother did a lot of watering and nurturing at Punta del Este this year. I pray that the ripe fruit will come soon.

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