Unification News for August 1999

My 40-Day Experience in Jardim

Bill Selig
Rockville, MD
August, 1999

From June 7 to July 17, my family attended the 40-day Ideal Family Education workshop in Jardim, Brazil. We were members of the ninth graduating class! Since the training programs began last year in July, about 1,000 families have graduated.

From Washington, D.C., the first family to respond to Fatherís direction was David and Vicki Phelps. They attended the first workshop in July 1998. The second was Bruce Williams in early winter, 1999. We were part of the third wave of families including Antonio and Kyoko Betancourt and Caroline Betancourt. This summer, 10 other families from D.C. traveled to Brazil.

We are very happy to have participated in this special providence. It wasnít easy. Like everyone, we faced the twin challenges: money and time. When Vicki and David came back last summer, the seed of the idea was placed firmly in our minds to go C somehow. By Thanksgiving, we started a special savings account (begging and borrowing) and began to prepare in earnest. We called several airline broker companies as well as Go World for rates. After Blessing Ď99 in February, we gathered more testimonies and information on visas, immunizations, etc. In April, we asked Go World what would be the best dates to travel in order to have the lowest airfares. Until then we told our friends we were thinking of going, but from that point, we were definitely going. We made to-do lists: shopping, stop the newspapers and mail, cut the grass, watch the house, take care of the dog, etc. Most important, we prayed every day that we could receive what True Parents wanted to give us in Jardim. Finally in May, we bought the non-refundable plane tickets. We were committed.

Like most people, I had certain concepts of what to expect. Even though weíd read various testimonies by Michael Kiely, Jorg Heller, and others, still I thought we were going to a place like Camp Sunrise, a sort of rustic, by-the-lake resort. Nothing surprised me more than to see the actual facilities. They are modern and first-class. Since we arrived early in the summer, there were only about 20 other Westerners. The few adults and older children would sit around in a circle for Hoon Dok Hae. Tyler Hendricks finished on the day we arrived, and Jackson and Kyoko Bowman assumed leadership of the Western group.

As more people arrived in the weeks ahead, particularly when school vacation began in late June, a huge number of families arrived from America and Europe. As the numbers increased, the dynamics of administering to the needs of upwards of 500 Westerners changed radically. We needed to organize. The permanent staff at Jardim is very small, so the workshop members took responsibility, especially Kyoko Bowman and Keiko Breland, who organized a nursery and a school! We also had teams for cleaning, sports, youth activities, photocopying, etc. We were tasked to build an ideal community centered on God!

Father says there are three major problem areas facing humanity: (1) immorality, (2) starvation, and (3) environment. Father wants to resolve these issues on a community level and multiply a successful model throughout the world.

Donna volunteered to coordinate room assignments and be a one-person welcoming committee. I helped in the office by maintaining the data, as well as to transcribe various messages given by guest speakers. Our 11-year old daughter, Hannah, was busy making new friends from around the world, riding horses, attending art classes taught by Joe Willitt, and helping the Brazilian sisters in the candy store for some extra spending money. But the foundation of all her activities, like ours, was Hoon Dok Hae. She attended four of the five sessions a day and basically participated as an adult. We are very proud of her.

Father said the daily curriculum should focus on three areas: (1) the Principle of Creation, (2) spirit world, and (3) True Parents. The meaning of this training is to inherit Fatherís victory at the family level. Families must be taught how to attend God and True Parents. God wanted to educate Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Father established a condition to bring God to the Pantanal. Thatís why we can call it the Garden of Eden.

After 21 days of Hoon Dok Hae, I would humbly have to say we succeeded greatly in accomplishing the first goal. Through daily study, prayer, and reading the Jardim and Sao Paulo Declarations, we gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation of Heavenly Father, His nature and situation, as well as the depth and implications of the Principles of Creation.

In terms of spirit world, we read two volumes of Fatherís speeches on this topic, along with Dr. Leeís first and second books. The latter, on the crimes of Lucifer, is especially powerful and revealing. I saw no angels at Jardim, but like at other times in my life I could see spirit worldís hand at work. For example, when Iím busy at a conference or campaign and need to talk to someone, all of a sudden that person walks into the room. Or if Iím in a hurry and need to take the elevator, then bingo, the elevator door comes. You feel everything is connecting for a higher purpose and there is no such thing as a coincidence. Thatís the way it was in Jardim. Everything sort of flows together in harmony.

As True Parentsí vision for the project is explained and we took pilgrimages to three holy places where True Parents shed blood, sweat, and tears, we couldnít help but acknowledge, for the umpteenth time, the genius and heart of our True Parents. By that standard, the workshop was a total success. We also read a translation from Korean of a newly published book of prophecies, Who is He?, which boldly and definitively identifies True Father as the Messiah.

One of the bonuses of going to Jardim is receiving a family matching, like the sisterhood ceremonies, but with a family from Korea or Japan. We were matched with a beautiful family from Japan.

On July 11, True Parents came to Jardim for a visit. It was a glorious day, just one week before we were to leave. Members lined the road leading to True Parentsí small house and welcomed them upon their arrival about 9 a.m. While True Parents received reports, and perhaps rested from their journey, we went back to Hoon Dok Hae. In the early afternoon we were all suddenly called to have pictures taken with True Parents. It was explained that more than one photo could be taken: as a family, with your matched family, and another if three generations of one family were attending together. We have an amazing photo of True Parents with our matched family, a second one with Hannah, and C amazingly C a third with just our couple!

About 3:30 or 4 p.m., True Father came to the temple and spoke to us for about three or four hours on mind-body unity, his vision for the Americas, and spent a long time speaking directly to the Japanese. At the end, we sang Um Maya while Father danced in the aisle. Hannah, Donna, and I raced over. As he passed us, Father gave me one of those famous love whacks in the ribs C a badge of honor I will wear with distinction. True Parents left shortly afterwards for Salobra.

Regarding our training program, I would also add a fourth goal about family unity. The program is designed to bring Heavenís blessings at the family level. As the Chung Pyung Providence was for the individualís growth, Jardim is for the family unit. Living together for 40 days naturally brought out a lot of feelings in each of us. But it seemed clear that everyone was dealing with the same issues of growth and development. It didnít matter what language you spoke or what title was printed on your business card. When it came push to shove, we were all one family. Many a day I would see an early member of the movement taking out garbage or mopping the floor. We were all families working together to build the ideal community, and in a family, everyone has to carry his share.

Aggressions and nationalism were taken out on the soccer field. The first couple of Sundays we were soundly trounced by the Japanese and the Korean teams. I played the first game by trading off with an 11-year-old boy from Ohio. Otherwise, the average age of our team was probably about 45! That all changed when the Europeans arrived and the older second generation. We had so many players we created a second Western team. I was relegated to lines man and backup cheerleader.

The food was adequate. Nothing fancy, very simple fare that included rice, beans, and kim chee, along with a meat entree and some side dish like lettuce or tomato. To supplement this diet we regularly went to the fruit stand owned by the local Brazilian church for fresh oranges, apples, mango or papaya. The candy store had everything else C soda, candy, chips, ice cream as well as rubber boots, toothpaste, souvenirs, detergent, etc. So between the regular meal, the fruit stand, and the candy store, our bellies were filled.

The accommodations were fine. At first our family had a small room with several bunk beds, a bathroom, and an AC/heater. Then more families started arriving and it was time to experience communal life. Zagery and Fumi Oliver moved in, and soon we were joined by Tom and Edy Iverson and their son, David. It was crowded but we managed. Eventually, the flood of members and the weekend workshops (the Brazilian brings 200 to 500 guests every weekend!) brought a drastic change. Almost all of the 40-day participants moved into big dormitories, quickly converted from classrooms. Now we really had the communal life Father is so fond of: brothers and sisters dorms with 40-some people in each. Amazingly, this worked too. Inconveniences that might be bothersome in normal life mattered not at all in Jardim.

The Hoon Dok Hae was very interesting. At first it was difficult to keep focused. The lifestyle and schedule were too different, but after a while I stopped thinking about the mortgage and how indispensable I seemingly was (not) to the Providence, and just buckled down. Gradually, Fatherís words began to make more sense. Whenever my mind drifted, a bell seemed to sound, I just knew that I was spacing out. Each time I had to make a decision: "Bill, youíre distracted. Choose. Space out or focus. Choose. Now!" Pretty soon I had trained myself (with the help of a supportive spirit world and my loyal ancestors) to be here now, and learn from Fatherís words and training course.

Besides the 21 days of Hoon Dok Hae, there were 13 days of community service, three days of pilgrimages, and three days of fishing. The pilgrimages were extremely interesting. We visited Salobra about three hours away. Thereís a hotel owned by the movement, where we had an excellent lunch. We visited Parentsí home and heard a very moving explanation of the conditions Father set for the 3.6 million and 240 million couples Blessings. Afterwards, we went fishing on an incredibly beautiful river.

The second pilgrimage was an eight-hour boat ride up the Paraguay River along the Brazil-Paraguay border past the site of last yearís 40-day workshop for Korean and Western national messiahs. A Korean elder explained Fatherís providence related to these locations. Then we sailed on to a very humble backwater hotel that Parents use as a jumping off site for their fishing excursions. It was a spectacular boat ride. We saw alligators, exotic wildlife, and birds, and even extinct volcanoes. On the return, the Brazilian boat crew turned on the music and taught us the samba! There we were in the middle of nowhere dancing the samba with Nora Spurgin, Jackson Bowman, and Peter and Phyllis Kim. What a sight!

What we did for the community service period was very flexible, depending on what needed to be done at that time and on someoneís particular skills. Antonio Betancourt gave Spanish lessons in the school. Donnaís time on the administrative staff went toward her service. A brother from Germany, Wolf Osterheld, and I were chosen for more physical work. Each day we teamed up with Mr. Watanabe, a short, powerfully built 1800 couple. We filled pot holes, cut down trees, whacked weeds, picked up trash. I enjoyed doing this work. In the end, I lost 10 pounds and felt very healthy.

The meditation period was a great surprise. There are several fishing places. The farm is located where two rivers converge, and both rivers are within walking distance and filled with fish (very clever, elusive fish). There is also a man-made pond that was "said" to be stocked. We tried all three places. On the river there are two prime locations: Motherís fishing place and Fatherís. Both are magnificent and beautiful. The images are indelibly burned in my memory. Donna expectantly casting her line; Hannah, armed with a net, targeting the minnow population; I, down the stream, just quietly grooving on Heavenly Fatherís magic. It was postcard picturesque. If the purpose was to think about God and the creation, again, Father in all his genius, chose the perfect hobby.

During our stay, Hannah had problems with her braces. I was afraid of this, but fortunately there is a very qualified orthodonist in Jardim. He took care of the problem. In fact it sort of turned into a blessing. We had to see him several times, so our trips turned into father-daughter quality adventure times. We had to organize the transportation, speak Portuguese, and since we were in town anyway, we naturally had to sample the local ice cream and delicacies!!

On the 41st day, after a heartfelt good-bye from our very special brothers and sisters, we traveled to Campo Grande for the flight to Sao Paulo. The difference in atmosphere quickly became apparent. On the counter in the candy store were several adult magazines with nude women on the covers. I felt so sad to see Satanís unprincipled version of civilization after the purity of Jardim. I stretched my sweatshirt across the counter to cover it up so Hannah wouldnít have to see this cultural trash. When we landed in Sao Paulo airport, in the departure lounge, we met a group of Korean and Japanese families who had left Jardim a little earlier than us. It was like a home town reunion. It was so good to see them even though only two days had passed.

We returned to Washington with a revitalized spirit and determination to spread the message, particularly about Jardim. Father wants everyone to attend the 40-day training. It is essential for registration into the Kingdom of God.

The next day back, I bought a fishing license and headed for the nearest lake. So far, so good.

Bill and Donna Selig were blessed at Madison Square Garden in 1982. They live in Rockville, Maryland, with their daughter, Hannah.

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