40 Years in America

Alice C. B.

I said, "Whos that guy?" Someone answered, "Oh, hes the gardener."

I met the church in New York City in May 1973. I was teaching English as a second language at two schools on 42nd St., one of them a Japanese school. One day a Japanese brother gave me a pamphlet on the way to the subway. I was interracially married at the time to a black brother who grew up in Bedford Stuyvesant. We had had our struggles, and I was still searching. I went to Union Theological Seminary for one year. I never found my vocation, so I got my ESL degree. I was in another searching phase, going to Brooklyn College.

I found out by chance that my husband was having an affair at the time. One night I came home and the door was locked, while the woman exited through another not to go home one night after work and I took out the leaflet the Japanese brother had given me. I was at a real crossroads in my life. I was at Central Park and intended to go towards 71st St. Before I went I sat in the park and I cried for my lost love and lost life and lost purpose. I cried for a couple of hours and then went to the center. My heart was very open and clear, very receptive. I was ready for God to show me something.

Wayne Miller and Jaap Van Rossum were the directors at Belvedere at the time. I went to a 3-day workshop, and it was easy for me to stay. We were having discussions in groups on the grass.

Suddenly there was a man on a riding lawn mower. Everyone was twittering and conversation wandered off as we became interested in the man. I said, "Whos that guy?" Someone answered, "Oh, hes the gardener."

There was an obvious interest in the lawn mower man who drove in our direction. All of a sudden he headed right for us and our plates and papers went everywhere, as we had to jump out of the way. That was my first experience with Father!

I joined the church quickly; I made a decision quickly, because my ties were cut. I went back and told my husband that I was moving out. It was very sudden. Lewis Burgess helped me to move out. There was kind of a showdown in the apartment, sort of a final fight. He locked me in the bathroom, trying to talk me out of what I was doing, yelling at me. Lewis and my husbands friend called the police and when they came (six of them), my husband convinced them that I was the crazy one.

We had to check into a hospital for mental health evaluation because we accused each other of being crazy. They determined that I was of sound mind and let me go. Mr. Kamiyama was interested in me then; he sort of took me under his wing as a spiritual parent. When I cleared my stuff out of the apartment, Mr. Kamiyama helped me load all my stuff into his car. I had china animals, a sewing machine and religious textbooks. Then the car got a flat tire and Mr. Kamiyama didnt know how to change it!

Later I asked him if he could be my spiritual parent, and he said no twice. Finally, he asked Father about it and then Father said he could be my temporary spiritual parent. But True Parents became my real spiritual parents.

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