40 Years in America

Cristen Quinn


Cristen Quinn led the march from Omaha to Des Moines. Father greeted the team on their arrival.

It was March 1974 and Father was on the 32-city speaking tour. I was in the Nebraska family. (It was a family in those days.) The Nebraska family had experienced True Parents the previous November when Father had come to Omaha for the 21-city tour. Just before Father came in November, I was kidnapped by Ted Patrick. I was the first church member to be kidnapped. Father sent Nora Spurgin to help and several weeks later I was free. Father talked to me about it and told me, "Your are a good daughter."

We wanted to help bring people to the Iowa speech and we wanted to offer something special, so we brainstormed and came up with a plan to walk to Des Moines, Iowa from Omaha to advertise his speaking tour. We got crates and crates of bananas, rubber-banded fliers to them about the walk to see Father and passed them out at lunch rush hour in downtown Lincoln. We got five people to come with us on our walk.

For five days we walked the 150 miles from Omaha to Des Moines. Each night we camped in Christian church basements in different little Iowa towns. Each evening after our meal, the Divine Principle lectures would start. The night before Father was to speak, we gave Conclusion to the guests. In tears all five accepted our True Parents and signed to join with us to build Godís Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Our prayers were fervent! Our hearts were joyous! We would soon see our True Parents, and we were bringing them new children.

Father was in a small rented house located in one of the Des Moines suburbs. We were slowed down that day because the press stopped us and the weather turned cold. It started sleeting and snowing. Just two hours before Fatherís speech, we finally made it to within blocks of his house. I was in front of the line with Anna Swearson. We saw Father in the distance and screamed, "Father is in the yard!" Anna and I broke into the fastest run we could muster. As I got closer I saw he was beaming and clapping for us. Can you imagine how we felt to have him clapping for us? When we got to Father we literally dived at his feet. We would have stayed there forever but he touched our backs as if to say "Itís okay. You can get up." In the pictures of this you can see the total joy in Fatherís face.

We followed him into the house and all crowded into the small living room. Father was visibly moved by what we had done. Ye Jin was about 14. She cooked warm milk for us and was passing it out in little paper cups. Her demeanor and heart was so humble, sweet, loving and serving.

Father talked to us and asked questions of the new members and state leader about what weíd done. And then he pointed to me and said, "Cristen, how are your parents?" I was amazed he remembered my name. I said, "Father, they are very negative." He said, "You must love them." I have to admit that was kind of a new thought for me at the time.

He had us all sing songs to him. And I think he had Mother sing to us. Then he got serious and spoke to us till right before his speech. He talked for a long time to this dirty, ragged little bunch about the early days in Korea when they were so poor that the only diversion he could give to the members was to take them for walks. He told us that what we had done reminded him of how they would walk miles into the countryside. He saw us off outside and waved. Then he threw a few baskets with Hyo Jin in the basketball hoop in the driveway.

Within a half an hour he was speaking publicly. What a Dad!

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