Unification News for October 1998

Bringing the Blessing to Burkina Faso

by Will Suttles-Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

In recent months you have probably read that Burkina Faso was one of the top ten Blessing countries for the 40 Million Couples Blessing, after such well-known luminaries as Ukraine, Philippines and Zaire (now Congo). Your first response may well have been: Burkina Faso? Where is that? (Or worse: What is that?) Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, is a relatively poor, landlocked country in the center of West Africa.

I came to this country in 1996 as a part of the National Messiah providence. At that time there were two cities with church centers and an active membership of around 20. Using a method pioneered in Burkina Faso called "community Blessing," the members had blessed over 3,000 couples in the 360,000 Couple Blessing. They were preparing to do the community Blessing for 1998 with basically the same people and same method. At this point our Korean National Messiah, Rev. Dae Sub Jung, appeared on the scene and transformed the country. He and the former missionary, Kenichi Ito, held a 21-day workshop in the Chung Pyung tradition with clapping and singing and reading in addition to lecture practice and Divine Principle lectures. Then all the members who were willing were sent pioneering. Fund-raisers or office members or CARP leader or general affairs, all who volunteered were given a province. Where before there was one team which covered the whole country, now there were 12 pioneer centers focused on the Blessing. We spent the next 9 months helping with the Blessing providence.

In our faithful 1983 Peugeot 305, Rev. Jung or Peter Haller and his wife, or myself and my wife and sometimes Jason (our 4-year-old son) would travel from village to village with the local pioneer giving the Blessing. The chief or his representative would call the people and they would come out. The pioneer would give an inspirational talk and reveal why all needed the Blessing. Then all who agreed, usually everyone, would line up for the Holy Nectar. Since most villages had substantial Moslem populations, no alcohol was served. Sometimes a mint syrup drink was used or a local drink called Zoom Koom, made with millet and sugar. Rev. Jung would pray Fatherís prayer, and three cheers of Mansei and a photo would complete the ceremony. Sometimes the Chief would present Rev. Jung with a chicken or even a sheep. Or they would have a presentation of dance with African mask figure. Then on to the next pre-Blessing.

Many of the villages were off the main asphalt road. Many were off anything which could be called a road, and we pushed our Peugeot to the limit more than once, sometimes driving through dry river beds, sometimes through not-so-dry river beds. Many times the asphalt road turned to a dirt road, which turned to a track, which turned to a path, which would have been a challenge for a Land Rover. But we never turned back.

After the Blessing of Nov. 27, 1997, Rev. Jung gave the direction to expand all the pioneer centers to regular church centers with center members and witnessing activities. The pioneers, now church regional directors in charge of 3 to 6 provinces with 2 or 3 province leaders under them, secured larger houses with indoor plumbing (!) and telephones to communicate with Headquarters in Ouagadougou. Now instead of 12 pioneers, there are 35 (out of a total of 45) province centers, many led by new members who have gone through the 2-7-21 day workshop system instituted by Rev. Jung. Total active membership is well over 200 now and rising. And the Blessing process goes on. June 13 found us with almost 400,000 new pre-Blessings.

Now we are looking to the future. While the village Blessing continues, Rev. Jung has started a system of workshops and witnessing and fund-raising teams to train especially those bound for the matching. The witnessing team will visit villages all over the country and stay in the local church center, a kind of IOWC.

In Ouagadougou, where the power of community and the authority of the chief are much less, we are starting a different process, a network of Blessed Family Clubs, called Club 360 Million Ouaga. In the introductory meetings we introduce and give the Blessing. Then we invite them to educational meetings in which we introduce True Family Values, in depth study of the four Blessing Vows, the Fall, etc., information that can improve the quality of their family and community life. We began the Club last month. In Club 360 Million Ouaga, the family can learn how to be a true family and at the same time learn how to survive in the 21st century with real skills and progressive attitudes, as we will include health, education and economic talks with the family information. We hope these clubs can become popular so that the new members can promote the Blessing to their friends and their friendsí friends, creating a multi-level expansion pattern. The motto will be "Itís good to be Blessed!" How about you? Donít you think itís good to be Blessed?

If you have any suggestions (or donations!) feel free to contact us at FFPMU, 01BP 1255, Ouagadougou 01 Burkina Faso, West Africa or by e-mail at africom@cenatrin.bf. (Mention FFPMU in the subject line.)

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