Articles From the August 1995 Unification News
Sunrise at End of Spiritual Journey
by Bruce Grodner-Camp Sunrise, NY
I was very fortunate recently to be a part of the end-of-the-beginning of a young man's spiritual journey that started in earnest six years ago.
In July 1989, while Brian Mead was in the Navy, he asked God for a wife who would help him in doing God's will. From this day forward he knew that he had to remain pure. Only time would reveal how difficult this would prove and how close he would come to breaking that promise!
His service in the Navy took him to the war in the Persian Gulf where he repaired electrical systems for naval aircraft. In November 1992 he was honorably discharged.
After his return from the Navy, the desire to get close to his father would take him to places that would be spiritually very dark, and his relationship with God became distant.
Over the past few years his life seemed to be narrowing down, while God and the spiritual world were preparing him for something he could only dream about. For most of his life he contemplated the coming of the Messiah. For the last six years he was caught by the idea of being alive at the time of the Messiah-little did he know how close he was.
In May 1995 he was instructed by God to sell everything and head south. He went out to buy essentials for this journey on the Appalachian trail, following God's instruction. Brian obeyed, but not without deep thought and some reluctance. God reminded him "to trust and He will provide." On a number of occasions he was without food and, seemingly out of nowhere, there would be apples or beans left by other campers. Carrying his 70-pound pack up and down the mountains in the heat of the day, a cool breeze would continuously remind him of God's presence and give him the strength to continue on his journey southward.
On the 21st day of his trek, he arrived at Harriman State Park. His nose was so sensitive that half a mile away he could smell people barbecuing their food. He said, "God, I'm so hungry in more ways than one." He felt it was time to sell his fishing equipment and to buy food. He met a park ranger and asked if he had any interest in purchasing his fishing gear for $25.00. The ranger bought it, knowing it was the Christian thing to do. Brian asked where the nearest grocery store was. "Well, you could go either back 8 miles in the direction you came from or 17 miles in the direction you're heading." Brian didn't want to go back, but going forward 17 miles at this point was a bit much. The ranger looked at the weary traveler and had another idea. "I know a religious camp I'm sure would give you a meal." "I'm a God-fearing man," Brian said. Then the ranger drove him to Camp Sunrise where he would meet Debby Grodner and Tom Corley. Brian felt so appreciative to eat and to share details of his journey.
I have always felt that there is no accident when people mysteriously arrive at the camp, and Debby knows my feelings well. Brian described Debby upon meeting him "as a kid waiting to open a Christmas present on Christmas Day." "You have to wait to meet my husband; he's not here, but he'll be back soon." Debby said. I knew from the first words we shared that he was really prepared by God.
Brian was so grateful for food, hot shower, and a chance to hear a brief overview of the Divine Principle presented by Andy Compton. He said, "I don't eat for free," and was so eager to help; his skills were abundant. He felt so much like family so quickly that everyone was happy and wanted to hear his story.
I listened to bits and pieces of his life; to my amazement the scars of his past were not evident at all-his suffering and abuse as a child in 14 foster homes. God had guided him to forgive those who hurt him so deeply, and to go forward and fulfill his own responsibility-to help others along the way.
He has completed a 2-day and 7-day workshop and two Blessing seminars, and now awaits the matching. With an absolute conviction, he has purchased his suit and his ticket to Korea because he knows this is the moment when God has promised to give him this eternal gift.
I am deeply grateful for allowing us at Camp Sunrise to be part of the end-of-the-beginning of Brian Mead's spiritual journey and to see a young man's dream come true.
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