Articles From the November 1997 Unification News


Montana Blessing

by Michael and Yukiko Yakawich-Billings, MT

The mountains jut out from the Great Plains embracing the great "Big Sky Country." How we love the land and the people who dwell in this state. The cultures are vast and as wide as the state. Even though the population is not huge, the heart of its people is broad and deep. This is Montana.

As we gather in Washington, DC for the Nov. 29th event, I reflect on the many who will be part of this event even though unable to travel so far to be in person to be with us there in DC.

This has been an exciting year. The summer days now wane into autumn as the snow-capped mountains beam from afar. We have traveled many miles throughout Montana working on pre-Blessing programs. From the local church events to door-to-door, table setups and community events. It is here for a moment that our memories of the Native American people are revisited.

The Native Americans have touched a special place in my heart. They have indeed been a big highlight of our relationship and our work with the pre-blessings. Though we have gotten to know each other through fundraising activities and USA programs, this summer help deepen our bonds. Not intending to make a cultural or historical analysis, this article is simply a tribute to the nations of the Crow, Salish, Kootenai, Pend d’ Oreilles, Gros Ventre, Northern Cheyenne, Assiniboine, Blackfoot, Sioux, Chippewa-Cree, as well as the many other Native American Nations we could have met or interacted with.

Their appreciation for "Chief" Sun Myung Moon has been expressed in their own appreciation for us. Inviting us to their homes, sharing over pre-blessings at table set-ups and community programs, they have donated and expressed their kindness in many ways.

At the Crow Fair, the "Teepee Capital of the World," we could meet and interact with so many Native American nations. Their traditions of dress are so beautiful, their songs and dances so rich, and the foods very tasty and unique. Here we could present a large wood inlay of an eagle family to the Tribal Council before the large audience in August on behalf of the Family Federation for World Peace.

As we gather in honor and in blessing, we were reminded in Pryor, Montana how dignified and how much value is placed on the family. Even though their culture has been faced with the same problems of drugs, divorce and other social problems, they still strive to maintain the values of respect for elders, reverence to the Creator, care for the creation and keeping the extended family intact.

Some called us the Blessing Minister as we traveled through some of the towns. They gave us fried bread and jerked meat to eat. I was "smudged" by one elder giving me his blessing in return. Some offered us gifts as simple and as precious as a feather or some carving in gratitude for our work for the Family Federation for World Peace.

Therefore, our country is filled with so many wonderful nationalities, cultures and traditions. As with the Native Americans, they are the true founders of this great land of ours and to me deeply my brothers and sisters. It is through the vision of Rev. Moon that all races and peoples may live as one family. As with these, traditions of family and the Creator are also deeply embodied within the Native American culture. They have been my teacher and have inspired me to a deeper understanding of the land I walk on, the people I interact with and the life I live.

As I worked at the pre-Blessing table in St. Ignatius, MT, a wood carver came to me and said, "Here is a wood carving of a Native American couple. Thank you for all that you are doing for my people." Another time, as I was working door-to-door, a child came running after me hollering for me to stop! Having pre-blessed her parents, she ran after me to give me $5 from her parents in gratitude for what I just did for them.

One grandmother rushed to the door to great me at her home. She said, "You must be the Blessing Minister. I have heard about you walking all over my town. Please come in and meet my family," expressing to me such special humility and kindness.

The DiLorenzo’s, Martins, Reuther-Affor and Lamphier couples also have many other testimonies as part of the Montana family’s work on the True Family Festivals.

For all of these experiences, I thank God and Rev. Moon for such precious opportunities and such rich memories. The summer of 1997 has been an unforgettable summer. Now as the seasons change and we gather in Washington, DC for the main Blessing event, I do give tribute to the many people who continue to be part of this event. Even though there are many who will not be able to travel so far to DC with us, we acknowledge them as part of this unique and worldwide event. We will bring back to them the heart of this event to share with them in their homes and in their communities in order to continue the blessing and building stronger ties for all the families we have met and more to meet in the future.

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