Unification News for January 2000

Japanese Heart Moves the Hudson Valley

by Sarah M. Witt—Barrytown, NY

When our Regional Director, Rev. Dong Woo Kim, announced at a special meeting that we were going to have eight Japanese Missionary Sisters come to help us find candidates for the Matching and Blessing on Feb. 13, 2000, everyone in our UTS community was inspired and excited.

When they arrived, they were warmly welcomed, and at Pres. Shimmyo's invitation they settled in to the sisters' dorm at UTS. At our first meeting with them, they introduced themselves to us through Mrs. Sachiko Carlson, UTS professor Dr. David Carlson's wife. The sisters could speak very little English, so we had to have an interpreter for all communication. Sachiko continued that responsibility throughout their entire stay at UTS.

During that first meeting with them, we discovered that all but one sister had husbands and children in Japan; one even had an infant girl of eight months' age. She cried as she introduced herself to us, and we all felt her anguish at leaving her precious baby to come, at her own expense, to follow Father's direction. We were all amazed at their absolute faith, love and obedience, which enabled them to make such a sacrifice—and that their husbands were so willing to make such an enormous sacrifice. We were profoundly touched by this very first meeting, and were inspired by their example to unite and help them to the best of our ability.

After a flurry of activity, during which time maps were studied to find suitable witnessing areas, flyers were written and revised several times, the best method of copying was discovered, the UTS community united in heart and spirit with the project.

We were very grateful for the help of Johanna Forringer, the overall coordinator, Sachiko Carlson, who personally took care of our missionary sisters as well as interpreting; Marie Kirkley, Theresia Kittel, and several other sisters and brothers who helped with transportation; and Marie-France Daugherty who, in spite of her being in the process of healing her broken leg, helped prepare the Massena House.

I took the phone calls (some at 11:30pm), since my telephone number was on the flyers they distributed. I was amazed that, even though the missionaries could not speak English, they made such a good impression on those they gave the flyers. Many who called for more information remarked on the warm hearts of the missionaries. Others threatened to sue us!

One of our guests told us he was thinking about meeting a nice woman as he was sitting on a bench in a mall, when our sisters began putting flyers on a table nearby. He walked over to see what was on the table, and it was as though his wishes were coming true. He is now prepared for the matching.

Another caller was a woman whose second husband, to whom she had been married for 12 years, after she had divorced her abusive first husband, saw our flyer in their home and suspected his wife of contacting a dating service. Fortunately, he was home when she called, and I spoke to him and explained about our program, calming him down. Those two people were ready to sue us for breaking up their marriage!

We set up tables and chairs in the Massena House, across from UTS, in the large hall previously used for Chapel services. Here our guests brought by the missionary sisters were served dinner, and given a short presentation on the purpose of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification by one of our volunteer lecturers. We held meetings six evenings a week. Several of our guests had no cars, so we picked them up. Two of those are now prepared for the matching. Dorothy Hill helped with taking photos of candidates, among other things.

Generally, I felt we were united in heart with our missionary sisters, with each other in the community, and most of all with our Regional Director Rev. Dong Woo Kim. Also we were very inspired with his wife, Mrs. Kim, who went out witnessing very often, even though they have four children, one of them very young.

I’d like to mention, also, that we placed a personals ad in a local paper for two weeks. There were many calls, but only two guests showed up and none got to the workshop stage.

For Christmas we had a wonderful party for the entire UTS community and our guests from witnessing. A beautiful 11-foot Christmas tree was decorated by Marie-France Daugherty and Marie Kirkley. Many of our guest candidates attended, and they are still talking about the wonderful time they had, the great food and the entertainment.

One experience I personally had was with a guest I met when I came to the Massena House one evening to help speak to the guests. I recognized one of the men who had called, to whom I spoke about the program on the phone. He called himself Jimmy the Greek, and looked like someone I knew from long ago. As soon as I saw him, I remarked, "I know you!" He replied, "I know you too!" But neither of us could remember when and where we had met. He owned a bakery in Kingston, just 20 minutes from UTS. He had been given a flyer by one of our missionary sisters.

I wracked my brain, trying to remember where I had met him. Then I remembered that my older son Mark had a Greek friend who came to our apartment in Chicago one day to say good-bye to Mark, as he prepared to travel to his native land of Greece. I met him then, and gave him about ten tapes of my radio program which I had started in Chicago, to give to him family and friends in Greece.

I asked myself, could this be he? The next time I saw Jimmy the Greek, I asked him if he had ever lived in Chicago. He replied that he had, many years ago. I asked, "27 years ago?" He looked startled. "Yes," he replied. Then I told him that this was where we met, when I had given him the tapes of my radio program to take with him to Greece. Small world!

At this point, Jimmy the Greek is running three businesses and working 18 hours a day. But we hope he will be back soon.

Now that our missionary sisters have returned to their families in Japan, we have revamped our program t one lecture evening a week, Wednesdays, for new and returning guests, and Friday evenings for community night. We now have seven matching candidates and a potential from the ad to have more guests for the program.

For community night, we invited families of our community and guests. The program begins with a potluck dinner at 6pm, followed by a short Hoon Dok Hae reading. We then have entertainment, sharing and socializing.

It is our earnest desire, as a community, to grow together with our guests and new members to become a healthy community body which can embrace and give birth to more and more Blessed Families.

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