Articles From the November 1994 Unification News
A Plea to All Who Staffed the Baltic and Crimean Seminars
by James and Megan Smith-Riga, Latvia
This past summer marked the beginning of the fourth year of our work in the former USSR, since that historic summer of 1991 in the Baltic ILS seminars. It has been my great blessing to have been involved with those first summer seminars, as well as the subsequent seminars in the Crimea and then again in the Baltics during the summer of '92, when we educated over 18,000 students, teachers and pupils!
Ahhh, the euphoria, as anyone who was involved can recall. It was the greatest harvest of all time. It was a rapture of thousands of people into the love and truth of God and True Parents. Who can forget the sense of hope and awe at the phenomena of those great seminars? One could say that the last days were truly at hand!
Since then, the seminars are smaller and regionally organized, though no less rapturous and inspiring. But for those of you who participated as staff in those first seminars, an obvious question would be, "What ever happened to those hundreds of young children we educated and cared for?" That question has gone through the minds of every member who worked in those seminars, and though I may not be the most qualified person to say for certain, I can share what I have witnessed in working here since that time.
As with everything, we can fairly judge something by considering both the internal and the external. The same applies to the results of those first seminars. From an internal viewpoint, the seminars can be counted as a total victory. The sheer number of people who participated created the momentum to push our work to levels unimagined by any of us. Most notable is the curriculum project. Within a few months following the summer seminars of '92 we were holding conferences with high-level education representatives from each republic about the creation of a curriculum on morals and values. Today virtually thousands of pupils are studying the course "My World and I," which derives most of its ideas directly from the Principle. The broad base of support is an unshakable foundation for our work in the CIS and Baltics, and it all began with our labor of love during those wonderful seminars. The seeds that were planted in those short summer and winter months will surely bear great fruits in the years to come.
Yet there is another result from those seminars, a result that no one wishes to answer for or even openly discuss. For the fact is that only a fraction of all those thousands of participants went on to become members. The percentage is so small that one can't help but counting it as a phenomenon of a different kind. Why didn't more of them go on? What became of the inspiration and zeal that so many of them caught during their short time with us? Again, I speak for myself, though I find that my conclusion is in accordance with the views of others who also saw the whole providence unfold.
The key to witnessing to the Principle and to True Parents goes back to the fundamental key of how most of us joined; a single person, or a close group of people, who cared for us and raised us up as a mother nurses her newborn baby. The fact is that it is only in the extraordinary cases that a person receives Principle, determines that it is the truth, and then dedicates themselves to it. Most people go through a long deliverance of struggles and spiritual battles before they able to give themselves to God's will. And it is in that period that you, the spiritual parent, are most urgently needed. It is unfortunate but obvious to observe that in most cases, that person, that precious single connection to True Parents' love, was not there for these children. A great chance was missed for our movement, both for the CIS and for America. There were hundreds of spiritual babies, crying out for love and guidance, yet there was no one to answer their call. It is a sad story and it was repeated all over these republics.
I am calling this to your attention for an important reason, in that it is not too late. Each of you who were over here know what I am talking about. There is a person, or a number of people, who were bonded to you in a special way, who looked to you as a child looks to its parent. Did you nurture that bond? Have you written them over the years and encouraged them and counseled them in their difficulties? I have seen how much a letter means to them. A simple letter that shows you care. Don't send money or extravagant gifts; believe me, it sends the wrong message. But a family photo, a spiritual book, something to give them life-that is what they need. It's not too late, and with Christmas and God's Day coming up you have a good excuse to open a line that has for too long been shut!
There is another thing you can do, an action that would carry you to a great new level in your own life and in the lives of those people you will touch. The work here has but one limit to its potential in bringing new members in the shortest span of time. There is only one thing blocking God from working, and that is that He has so few people to work through. These new members need True Parents' representatives! There is no greater calling than this-to stand in the position of True Parents' representatives to a community of young believers. Yet because so few people have heeded the calling, our work is suffering greatly. How many of you who had served here during those seminars were called by God to come back, if even for a time period? Yet so very few every followed through. Oh, the harvest is so great, yet the workers are so few! I beg of you, please consider it again. These children are waiting, and they need parents so badly. And what's more, the foundation has been prepared like never before.
My wife and I have worked as the leaders in Riga, Latvia over the past two years. I am far from being a great leader, I've never been to seminary, my wife delivered our three daughters here in a Latvian hospital (which was practically free), we have many limitations, and yet in this time we have raised up a foundation of ten pledging members, half of whom will partake in next year's Blessing. We have introduced hundreds of pupils to the curriculum course, we have a constant Sunday service community of 30 people and many others who are sympathetic to our cause. We have learned more in these past two years than in all the years combined of our time in the Church. But now we are in a position where we must return to America, leaving our spiritual children like orphans because there is no one else to take our place.
I pray that this letter is read by all the people who were involved in this CIS/Baltic providence, and that each of you can consider deeply how you can continue in the investment you so honorably made to these precious children of God and True Parents. If you feel at all called to help our work, don't hesitate to contact us: James and Megan Smith, Staiceles 11/29, Riga, Latvia LV1084.
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