Unification News for July and August 1998
Special Task Force
Jin Hun Nim inaugurated World CARP about four years ago in 1994. At the same time he established STF (Special Task Force) centers around the country as life of faith training grounds for young second generation and CARP members. Since then these centers have grown significantly. After the PLA Tour of 1997 there was a great increase in second generation participation in STF. Here are a few testimonies from some of those members about their STF experience:
by Victoria Wilding
Before joining STF, I was called "holy" by other Second Generation. This is because I pushed myself to keep a high standard. However, as some people noticed, my efforts to maintain a high standard were not completely sincere. I just had blind faith with not much heart behind it. And living for several years isolated from other Second Generation, I depended too much on my vertical relationship with God, having not much horizontal give and take with other brothers and sisters. For example, during the Pure Love í97 tour, I was scolded several times by some onnis for not being horizontal enough. And it was true. In a way, living in the fallen world, attending high school, I had built myself a wall of protection. I made it clear to all that I was pure and holy. But behind this wall was an unsure young girl, waiting to grow up.
My first 21-day fundraising condition was like the great big metal ball which demolishes old brick buildings. It smashed the wall I had built around my heart. Of course, there was a lot of it left, but I felt more free to be myself. Some of both my childish nature and fallen nature came out, but people noticed a change, saying "Vicky! You look brighter! Youíre laughing!" I could see more clearly where I was at and what I needed to change.
By the time it was Godís Day, when everyone was gathered in Boulder, Colorado, I was reflecting back on 1997. My heart was feeling like a desert, empty and dry. I realized that although I had been maintaining a so-called "high standard" by reading Fatherís words every day and praying a lot, etc., it was as if I was forcing myself to do so, and it was not coming from the sincere depths of my heart. So I made my determination for the year of 1998: "To love God and True Parents, and to be able to do things because I love them and want to do them." I feel God took my determination seriously, because during the following months of witnessing He gave me the opportunity to accomplish my goal.
At first, witnessing was like a duty. It was hard to find motivation within myself to go out and witness. Recognizing this, I set my internal goal to be desperate, and earnestly tried to carry it out.
That is when I met Kenichi Nakanishi, From that moment, the battle had begun. I have never in my life invested so much effort into one person, but through it all I could become much closer to Godís Heart. For the first time, I could experience Godís longing heart for His children. I shed tears of pain like those of God when central figures failed to fulfill their responsibilities and He had to go through the long and difficult process to find a new person. I shed tears of joy like those of a mother at the time of birth. And I shed tears of repentance for following so far behind our True Parents. In short, witnessing to Ken was as much of a conversion experience for me as it was for him. I now feel the reality of the spirit world, and can connect more to Heavenly Fatherís parental shimjung. Also, I understand more deeply the significance of True Parents and the urgency to share our blessings with others.
To recount all my experiences on STF would take an entire book. But they are so carved in my heart, and I will remember them for eternity. I have learned and grown so much this past year, but of course my heart is still so small and my love of and faith in God and True Parents so shallow. So with Godís help Iíve been allowed another year with CARP. Iím looking forward to this new challenge and I am determined to win the future!
by K. Ito
I really didnít know what to expect in STF. I just heard that there would be a lot of fundraising and witnessing involved. However, what I gained in STF is so precious I would do it all over again.
The í97-í98 STF year is about over. The year has gone by so fast. There is just so much stuff that I have gone through-it is just insane! The most important part of STF is that I could develop a real relationship with God and True Parents.
I can see now that fundraising was really establishing a foundation within myself. Every day I would go out to build my relationship with God and True Parents. I can really see that fundraising is truly a place to learn Principle, to learn about the basics of life of faith. From what I gained through fundraising, I went on to the foundation of substance, witnessing.
At the beginning of witnessing, I was really struggling over finding the heart behind witnessing. Every day I would pray, "Heavenly Father, I want to understand Your heart, I want to come closer to You...." Every day I would pray this way. One Sunday, near the end of February, I could somehow feel True Parents are really my parents. My prayer at pledge was so different from before. I canít really explain it, but I felt really close to True Parents. After pledge I went back to sleep. I had a dream about Father. The first part dealt with us STFers going to a new workshop site (at the time we were searching for a place to hold workshops). The place was really messy, so we spent the day cleaning the place up. I was wandering around and came to a glass double-door. I went through and found myself at the bottom of a large, dark stairway. I went to the top and found a chapel. In the chapel there was a large picture of True Parents. I then realized that there was a person in the chapel and was headed my way. I suddenly felt as though I wasnít supposed to be there and tried to hide. Then suddenly Father appeared; he was half standing, half sitting on a chair. He ran towards the stairs and jumped, slid and ran down.
Out of curiosity, I slowly went down the stairs. I saw that Father was preparing some lecture notes. I kept moving down. When I reached the bottom, I suddenly couldnít see, as if a bright light was shining in my eyes. Even though I was blinded, I could sense where Father was sitting. I thought I should do a full bow for Father, but I tripped and fell into Fatherís lap.
I just naturally wrapped my arms around Father and began to cry. I just cried and cried. I donít even know why...I started to feel better and I let up some. Father then asked me "What else?" I was really confused; I said something like "Iím sorry" and I started to cry all over again. This time Father began to cry, too. He held me so tight it hurt, but what I felt was an intense, deep love for me. The tighter he held me, the more love I could feel. The love I was receiving hurt; it hurt because I was feeling so much of it, it seemed to physically hurt my heart. Father cried so much, not our of sorrow, but out of love. I couldnít stop crying. I kept crying uncontrollably. I even woke up at one point and I was sobbing into my bed. I quickly returned to the dream. I was soaked in tears and in sweat.
Eventually the tears lessened. Because we were both completely soaked, Father suggested a bath to wash up. Suddenly water appeared and Father washed me. I wanted to give something back and wash Father too, but I woke up. I couldnít go back to the dream, I couldnít go back to sleep. It was definitely more than just a dream.
I had a similar experience a couple of weeks later in prayer. In my prayer, I suddenly found myself in a beautiful banquet room. The best tables, the best china, the best silverware and beautiful decorations adorned the room. The place was huge, there were also many, many rooms for people to live in. But the place was empty, it was dark, all the lights were turned off. The entire building felt so alone, so empty. At the end of the banquet hall was a table and two chairs set up. The chairs were for Father and Mother, but they were empty too...but I could feel that God was waiting. God is so lonely, waiting for people to come, to come fill up the rooms with cheerful faces, cheerful voices. Yes, I cried in my prayer. I knew that this was our mission in witnessing.
I am so, so grateful for STF. I would never have met God or True Parents anywhere else. Most definitely, STF is the best preparation for the Blessing. Since I have applied, I can really see the value STF has in my life. I know that I can take my experiences in STF to life in school and I see how STF is really a starting point in my life of faith.
by John Sapp
Just last week I started to realize that witnessing lifestyle is fun. Maybe fun is the wrong word...: fulfilling. When we first started, I didnít want to witness. I mean, inside I wanted to, but when we went to campus, I "struggled" a lot. In fact, I thought it was stupid and old-fashioned even to teach straight Divine Principle.
Later, I figured out, by witnessing I can learn a lot about myself. Primarily: Iím weak, donít have determination, procrastinate too much. I could go on and on, but it would just make me look bad, so I wonít. Witnessing gave me the opportunity to challenge my shortcomings in everyday life, an adventure Iím still enjoying. Not only have I learned about myself, but about other people as well. Iím more assertive, and can discuss almost anything very easily. Many times, I know what a person is like just from looking at them, or hearing them talk a bit. When you have approached so many people and conversed with them deeply, you gain a sense about peopleís spirit.
For most of the time we were witnessing, that was my reason for going-to better myself. Just in the last weeks, though, Iíve realized how amazing witnessing is. At present, we have six guests in two-day workshop, three in seven-day, two in twenty-one day and four in forty-day actionizing. Do you know what that means? Those last six are members. One of them came out here to be an actor, but gave all that up for True Parents. Another was a Mormon priest when we witnessed to him. He went through so much learning about Principle, Fatherís life and developing his faith as a Unificationist. Heís not just some Joe Schmo. His life goal was to be a saint for God. Heís an incredibly dedicated person. He was pretty arrogant when he went through seven-day DP lectures, but sobbed through Fatherís life-course videos. One thing he said was he feels sorry for Father because, despite his greatness, his members have such low standards. I was like, "What?!? Who you calliní low standard?!?" I didnít really say that, but felt it. I thought about it later and realized itís true. All of the problems of the church came from members who didnít work hard enough or live by Fatherís teachings. The guyís name is Ken (heís Japanese). Vicky Wilding is his spiritual mother. He really made me more determined to live by a high standard. The coolest guest so far is a Filipino named Jun. Cool name, huh? Heís is actionizing right now. He was studying art before he met CARP, but it looks like heís here to stay. Right after seven-day, he told me how his life is so clear now and heís already figured out how to influence future society to live a principled life through his life and art work. Whoa, man, Iíve been living with the Principle for 18 years and I never thought about how Iím going to influence the future like that. Iíve done art all through school, but I never dedicated my art to changing the future social climate of ignorance. Jun only had three days and seven days learning Principle at that time and he already thought like that. Makes me think about myself. How can I impact the future? They are actually cool people whom I probably wouldnít be cool enough to hang out with at school myself, but they are learning the Messiah is on earth and dedicating themselves to working for him.
So thatís where I am. Now I can see the result from our witnessing is quite amazing; we are actually changing peopleís lives. Itís not just CARP members, but regular old Second Generation who are doing it. When I see how these people feel so fulfilled in learning the Principle and seeing the love at the CARP center, I wonder what would have happened if someone never walked up to them to witness. They would be living such a lower and unfulfilled life. We really are giving life to people. It makes me want to bring spiritual children. I want to have a life-changing impact on peopleís lives. Iím getting closer and closer all the time, but it takes total dedication. Itís not easy at all.
Iíve still got more to learn. Of course, itís good that I want to have spiritual children, but I think my reason for witnessing should be purely for God. Because I want to bring people back to Godís side. Iím still growing and changing all the time. I can definitely say, my life will be better after STF. Iím trying to get my school to let me stay another year. With one more year, I could learn so much more than I did this past year, because I know what to expect and how to take full advantage of my time.
Looking at the movementís present situation, my desire to volunteer longer for CARP solidifies. Simply pumping Second Generation through fundraising and witnessing doesnít insure spiritual development. Honestly, if I didnít have older BCís around this year to tell me about their first-year struggles, I would have cracked early on. One second-year STFer made me sick with her desire to please God and make her fundraising goal. She was just too holy for the likes of me. Later, she told me how she used to hide in her room every day and beat the guts out of her pillow crying because she didnít want to fundraise. I realized through her a relationship with God is not automatic, but can be built over time. By remaining on STF for one more year, I can fill that older brother position for the incoming group. Blessed Children have incredible strength in their unity, and are eager to learn from each other. Personally, I would not likely have made a sincere effort in STF had it consisted of a bunch of CARP members telling me what to do (no offense meant to CARP members). I donít know if you appreciate the urgency of Second Generationís situation, but we hear of our childhood friends falling left and right. The only way to change this pattern is to let experienced BCís teach life of faith. In other words, without a two-year STF program, we have little hope of bringing True Parentsí message through the next century.
I donít know if any of this sounds corny or fake to you, but itís not fake. I mean, everyone wants to have a family of love someday, and CARP is where Iím learning how to make it. If every person in the country went through STF (not just members-outside people, too), divorce and family breakdown would be a concept of the past. Maybe when you joined you expected the world to become perfect in a few decades or years. Well, it didnít happen. Does that mean True Parentsí teaching is not worth carrying into the future? If Blessed Children are to carry and pass on the virtues of True Parents to their children and society, they must be clear in their faith. So far, clarity has come neither from the home or from school. Donít let go of that fiery dedication we always hear about from the í70s. We arenít here just to convert people but to teach life skills and learn life skills for ourselves.
by Miho Yoshida
I knew that coming to STF would help me grow, but I never realized how much it would change me. Although Iíve known my parents all my life, I never knew much about their past experiences. Even if they did share something, I could never see its value until actually experiencing it myself, and now I really respect and admire my parents for their sacrifice. Through STF, I could also experience the heart of True Parents and Heavenly Father. Being on the front-line has helped me realize many things about myself and how much I still have left to go in order to become like True Parents.
When I asked my elder brothers and sisters how their experiences were, they would tell me that they could realize their fallen natures through STF. However, I thought that I would not want to know about my faults, mainly because I thought that I did not have so many. However, by actively participating on the front-line, I could realize how many fallen natures I had. During fundraising, my Cain-side would sometimes block me from loving the people and being sincere with them. It seemed hard for me to deny myself to the very end, as if I were weak and gave up easily. I realized that I still need to make a lot of effort to become like the True Parents.
Before coming to STF, my life seemed all right, but many situations would come up where it seemed okay to be rebellious, arrogant or self-righteous. I would be a very helpful and "good" person, but when I was in conflict with people, I would never really make wise decisions. My original mind always told me to be humble or selfless, but then I would think that I could handle it myself, most of the time hurting others or spreading evil to peers. Then I would feel depression and self-pity not knowing where I went wrong. I was ignorant about serving others no matter how much pain or persecution I received. Living in a CARP center has helped me to open and grow my heart by really living for the sake of others and experiencing a small course of our early pioneers.
Through fundraising, I could meet many challenges, especially of my character. One day is like going through a small life-course.
Witnessing has been a very good experience for me. Actually dealing with peopleís lives is an incredible responsibility, and I am so grateful to have been able to go witnessing, and for the wonderful facilities and educational sources we have. Witnessing is very tough, but I have really grown a lot and actually experienced Godís and True Parentsí shimjung. At first, I felt really dry and could not bring very many guests to the video center or Culture Night. The guests I did bring were not inspired by the Principle or could not commit to workshop. It was also really hard to push them. My attitude could eventually change as I got deeper into the heart of witnessing. I really wanted to save someoneís life. I would stay in Hollywood as late as I could, and if there was an evening program and I had not brought any guests, I would help out with the dishes. Eventually, I could meet Saul, a brother from El Salvador, who is attending the 21-day workshop.
When I first attended 2-day seminar at Chino Hills, there were four guests altogether. As they received more of the truth each day, I could see their faces brighten and felt that God really treasured these precious children. I realized how much life we could give to them by bringing them back to God. Everyone without True Parents is missing a big piece of their lives. After the workshop, I could see how important it was to save someoneís life. I also experienced Heavenly Fatherís pain when I met someone who was so into their form of Christianity that they could not be open to a new truth. These people believe they are so close to God, but their close-mindedness makes them reject Him. Also, I feel sad when I meet people who are happy with their lives because they still do not know Parents.
Last week, I realized how hard it was for me to love people. I brought a guest to Chino who could stay for seven days. He was a really hard person to love because of his arrogance. I discovered that many times guests reflect their spiritual parents, so I really repented with tears and at the last moment asked him to trust God and give Him a chance. Unfortunately, in the morning, the guest turned his back on God and broke his promise. I tried to love him and stuck to him even if I could not like him. So I feel God could see my effort, but I felt so much of a lack of heart. These days I am trying harder to see from Godís viewpoint.
In STF, I could also gain a deeper understanding of the Divine Principle. Especially through attending workshop, I saw the importance of events like changing blood lineage and cutting the dove. The D.P. is a testimony to Godís heart. My heart really opened and grew during my STF year. I hope to continue helping out with CARP activities as I return to Chicago to start school. Thank you very much for this wonderful experience.
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