Unification News for October 1998
The Mobile Homes: A Mistake?
by Tim Comey-Boise, ID
A recent memo circulating on the internet referred to the purchase and deploying of mobile homes in the 80's as being a mistake. This was an example of "even Messiahs sometimes make mistakes."
I guess there are many ways of looking at the world. I wanted to share a thought or two.
Father brought some of the American regional leaders (Jenkins, McDevitt, etc.) together in the early 80's for a uniquely memorable experience for over a week, as I recall. In addition to some travel, and close personal time with his family, Father shared his enthusiasm for the bus tour idea. The reports on the time spent together were extra special.
We then proceeded to organize tours, rent buses, and bring our contacts to New York, to see the sights and attend an evening program at the World Mission Center. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Dr. Bo Hi Pak. All in one day ! Wow !!
I'm not sure how other regions implemented the idea. But Father had an inspiration at that time, and shared it with key Americans in the field.
He knew the importance of getting our contacts, members, and ourselves "up and out" of our circumstances and able to experience something new -- to laugh, interact, to feel, to understand anew. This way of working has meant a lot to people who appreciated our efforts over the years. How many times have we heard, "This was the best experience of my life. " There has been tremendous gratitude for our projects, conferences and achievements.
In that same spirit of adventure, the mobile home providence was initiated. I understand that there was considerable debate about it, and heavy lobbying from competing points of view, with sparks and fur flying. Advice and council was given. Decisions were agreed upon.
Matthew Morrison, the Northwest Regional Director at the time, once told me that it was important to Father that at the time of the trial, intense persecution and approaching sentence in Danbury Prison, the activity of the mobile homes was like Father's "face" all throughout America. It was our pride. We were visible and at work on the front line.
The IOWC Teams campaigned throughout America. Trucks and mobile homes were dispatched. Then the videos and video machines were shipped by the ton. The equipment took hours to unload. It was to reach out and lift up America. Educate, inspire and energize ! Father would laugh with us as he described the living arrangement -- 10 members per mobile home, sharing one restroom.
I understand that the trucks, which would serve the churches in particular, in their efforts to help the poor, were purchased as Father was going to prison. He wrote the check on the way to prison. He would give generously, even while being rejected. His response to the injustice was to give, and to forget. And in prison, he would conceive of the ACC.
There was a call one day -- it was probably in the middle of the night -- for all seminary graduates to come to New York for a conference with Father. It was about mobile home leadership. Seminarians were expected to take a leading role. As I recall, not many responded. This would affect the function and success of the teams throughout America.
Recently, when cleaning up a mobile home, I realized how much Father envisioned us being out in the splendor of America's beauty, directly experiencing a full range of situations, and learning to work closely together. He envisioned the large numbers of Americans of all ages meeting us, and hearing our ideas on video tape given by exemplary American lecturers (Tom and Pat).
It all may have been as much for us as it was for the nation and providence- at-large. I guess a loving parent thinks that way. Give a hope, an opportunity, a promise.
Remember the devotion which some teams demonstrated in the care of the mobile homes?
The heart of members from around the world would be given for America. And they gave abundantly. The American movement would have faltered without world support.
In the 1980's, Father would awaken the American mind with the Religious Freedom Crusade He would empower America through the CAUSA movement, with conferences, slides and projectors, and revival. Then, church buildings in every state would be purchased. The ACC would begin. Years later, the most gifted and/or determined would win elected office.
That must make Father feel very good. I remember Father once said to us long, long ago, "You are my calling card." We serve that role on the front line.
He said long ago that it is vitally important to know the Providential Time, to "know what time it is." "What is God doing at this moment ?" he taught us to inquire. Father has always demonstrated that he is responsive to God's time table, and consistently demonstrated that he was instrumental in what God is doing. Our pride as church members has been, in part, being on the front line and cutting edge of the Providence. Father can see a broader dimension than I, and knows how history is unfolding, and what part we play in the incremental steps to its fruition. We have all come to regard Father's directions with this understanding, and have attempted to respond with the proper attitude, willingness, and urgency. In hindsight, I can see that the course of action was the right thing to do... in the greater sense, and was also in our own best interest.
A section in the new "Exposition of the Divine Principle," in "Some Lessons from Noah's Family," (P. 203, section 2.3) reads: "Yet instead of trusting Noah, who had been justified by Heaven, Ham criticized him from a self-centered perspective and showed his displeasure by his actions. His disrespect had the effect of frustrating God's long labors to work His providence through Noah's family. We, too, need humility, obedience, and patience to walk the path toward Heaven."
I would emphasize the part about "God's long efforts," and apply this quote to the idea of "what is God doing now ?" and how I reflect on a direction and a leader. Noah wasn't perfect. Sometimes I can't get the picture without really thinking it through.
We have tried to avoid being a barrier to the work in progress. My offering is lamentably small. Many people endure the consequences of our shortcomings. Some areas will go completely neglected without our sincere investment. God seems very forgiving, for the most part. But directions from the central point are our best asset.
I think Father is big enough to include different points of view. He has laughed about some of our flaws, and we've laughed along with him. (I made him laugh pretty hard a couple of times. After some reflection, I figured out what he found to be so humorous.) He wanted us to be self-sufficient as ACC. I think he trusts that we can get the job done. He knows that we make mistakes.
On a calm Sunday, one may look upon the old World War Two battleships in a quiet salty harbor and see just a memory. But one time,... long ago,... they were proud, strong, ready, with flags flying and powerful engines working for history's triumph, with sailor boys - some too young to shave - on board and ready to fight, maybe with a photo or two of someone they loved and some letters from home in their duffel bag.
Sometimes you see an old car in the annual parade. It still runs good. And looks good, too. Like some members I know.
There are some good mobile homes out there. You can still feel the prayers that were offered when you sit inside.
Like at Valley Forge or Gettysburg. You don't feel that you are alone there.
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