40 Years in America
To Japan and Korea
Tyler Hendricks shares a light moment with Japanese members.
From the island of Kodiak, Alaska, on August 18, 1999, Father announced an exchange between Japanese and American leaders, the key point being to create one nation of three: Korea, Japan, and America. Father directed 52 American leaders to go to Japan for 40 days; and, concurrently, 52 Japanese leaders to go to America, beginning September 1st. (It was determined that 30 days be spent in Japan with the final 10 days in Korea.) America, the Elder Son nation, needed to make the condition to inherit the heart of the Mother nation Japan, and to learn the tradition of the Father nation, Korea. Father said that America will receive blessing from this and that very meaningful things will arise from it. Having attended that whirlwind meeting, I found myself embarking two weeks later for Japan, still uncertain of many details. Though expecting to experience something exceptional, I never could have imagined the extraordinary course into which I walked while in Japan and Korea for 40 days.
Assigned to Kumamoto, Japan, on the southern island of Kyushu, I went through some of the most humid weather available in Japan. Because Japan is surrounded by water, and the humidity had made me extremely sweaty, and it had rained a lot, I described being there like bathing in the water of Motherís womb. And more water (tears) would swell inside as I substantially felt the life of sacrificial offering from the Japanese members. All to give new birth to America, the elder son. Father had asked us to inherit the heart of the mother nation from Japan. Though I had for years worked with them in America, nothing conveyed their true course more than being on their own soil with them. Not just myself, but all the Americans assigned to different places in Japan, witnessed and absorbed their overwhelming life of quiet, tearful sacrifice.
I actively sought to embrace their heart and could weep in prayer each day, feeling united with my Japanese family. After three days there, I had a dream that I was held by my mother, Japan, and taken to Korea and embraced by True Father with such a love as I had not known before -- a warm, familial comfort. It became crystal clear to me the principle that we cannot but go through the Mother to get to Father.
This was the time to inherit the Motherís heart, to know her situation, intimately. The Japanese Family lives on the front-line of Godís Providence, with many young members witnessing and fundraising, eagerly and endlessly. Their spirits shine bright and energetic as they pray in tears, desperately seeking results, huge goals, and to fulfill the conditions given by Father for Japan. Of course, many are tired. I observed some quality, quite remarkable -- and as such unnamed by me -- about the character of the Japanese to consistently sacrifice for Godís Will. The Japanese described it to me themselves as the heart of the mother who is willing to give even her last drop of blood for her children. For the most part, the spirit and regimen was very similar to my old American MFT days. To me, being assigned to stay with the Youth Church offered me a special blessing. Their schedule began with Hoon Dok Hae at 6:00 a.m. It ended with prayer service and testimonies at 11:30 p.m. Every night the leaders and several members would stay up past 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. Every night. As the deadline for their goal approached, the schedule became more intense with the nighttime prayer service lasting well past 1:00 a.m. and often past 2:00 a.m. But they continued to rise at 6:00 a.m. I loved their schedule.
Going out with them, though I was limited, allowed me to meet the people of this land directly, albeit approaching them in broken Japanese. We felt a powerful bonding in this joint activity. Some previously unfelt feelings of love emerged. My Japanese wife of 18 years, a former fundraising star and team mother in Japan, had many idiosyncrasies not understood before by this feeble American mind of mine. This time in Japan, however, my mind expanded along with my heart to grasp a deeper respect and gratitude for my wifeís uniquely Japanese characteristics. I cherish her more now.
One day, we drove 100 kilometers to visit the Shiro Memorial in Amokusa. Shiro was a very faithful 16-yearold Christian boy martyred there about 350 years ago along with another fifteen thousand Christians as the Japanese elite decided to eliminate the growing influence of this strange foreign religion. One sister could see many angels at the shrine where we prayed. I sensed the happiness of the spirit world there at my presence representing Christianity from America. I believe American Christianity needs to join hearts with these Japanese martyrs. They pioneered but were never able to establish a ground for Jesus in Japan as the Christians did in America. Upon True Fatherís foundation we can now work side by side with them.
The next day, I was inspired to visit a local Christian church. I met the ministerís wife and prayed in the church with her -- a long, tearful prayer such as my heart felt. I could see the ministerís wife drying her tears, too, when I left. The next day, I returned and met the minister himself. We talked for a good two hours -- a rich discussion. We prayed together. We hugged, and he invited me to speak at his service the next day, Sunday. I told him the name of our church, but the translation may not have been clear. And I mentioned the name of Sun Myung Moon three times, but he wasnít fazed. He said to me that he felt as if he had known me for a long time as a brother.
I spoke the next day at his church service about how Jesus has touched my life. I spoke about the suffering course of Jesusí life, and, therefore, we should not just ask Jesus for things in our prayer but ask what we can do to comfort Jesus, instead. It was very well received. Though he later turned passive, I will never forget this ministerís original heart of acceptance and joy at receiving me. This I offer to Heavenly Father.
I experienced Japan as the substantial Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit convinces Christians to repent in tears and to come to Jesus, I felt the Motherís heart of Japan convince myself and my fellow American leaders there to feel the tears of God in a special way. It is this substantial Holy Spirit quality that Japan, the Mother Nation, represents. As the Japanese sisters tour America, I believe they have the potential power of the Holy Spirit to convince our Christian friends to cry in repentance as we witness to our True Parents anew. Literally, Japan gave me the opportunity to bathe in sweat, during their intense humidity, and to bathe in tears, amidst absolutely sincere sacrifice and dedication. I soaked it in. One example was 2:00 a.m. in a meeting room filled with 195 brothers and sisters who did 210 bows together. Even an air conditioned room will not prevent the sweat from rushing down backs during such a bowing session. This demonstration of their determination to reach their goal was normal. I sensed no resistance from the members with this condition as directed by the central figure. When I returned to my sleeping place about 3:30 a.m., I went to sleep right away, but some of the youth team members knocked on my door at about 4:00 a.m. to have me pray with them for tomorrowís area. I slept through their knocking, being informed of it the next morning.
This kind of effort is naturally created by the atmosphere of the Japanese leaders who lead with uncounted tears. America has been dry, for the most part. In America, we have uncovered but sparsely the hidden heart of God. But I believe this must and will change. Now that the American leaders have been baptized in the spirit, so to speak, in Japan, members in America can inherit this foundation by mixing their tears with the Japanese members now in America. Motherís heart will revive America.
One concluding thought about what this "condition" means in the Providence. Previously, America in the position of Archangel Nation could not receive directly the love of the True Parents as did Korea and Japan. Father speaking through translation, in one way, represents the indirectness of Fatherís ability to give to America. But today, Father has bequeathed to us the position of Elder Son nation. This means not only that our responsibility increases, but that we must understand the internal situation of the Father completely. We must no longer seek to receive love but be in the position to give mature love back to them as True Sons and Daughters. By going to Japan, through this bath of tears, Americans understood Motherís situation and could inherit the realm of the Motherís true heart, exactly as Father requested of us. Emotion so quickly fills me now just by looking at the photos of my brothers and sisters from Kumamoto. My heart has been relieved by Motherís love, and I continue to be bathed in the mystical heart of tears induced by my precious Japanese brothers and sisters. I wish that such gracious feelings will touch each American member.
On my very first day in Korea, within hours of landing, I felt a victory of heart in the fatherland. The first day, the Americans stayed at the Il Hwa Central Training Center. Many historical photos of our True Parents line the hallway walls there. Upstairs from my sleeping quarters, I discovered a huge, elaborately framed photograph of Father and Mother, relaxed amidst a background of an autumn forestís resplendence, smiling charmingly at each other. Literally, engaged, I felt swept up by the scene.
The Parentsí love emanated from this photograph. It felt magical. I had arrived home, not literally, but home in a spiritual sense. Home, where my heart is at rest and at peace. Home, from countless years traversing the wilderness. Home, as cannot be felt but through the desire of a lost and loveless child to be with his true parents again. Such an answer it was to my long prayers. The following days added icing to the cake. Staying with three churches over the next nine days, allowed me to see and experience Korea from the unique viewpoint of being both an honored guest and a longtime family member. To mention the land of Korea now invokes images and feelings in me both vast and intimate. To describe them fully means dipping into the Kochuchan (hot pepper paste) of Korea.
This time the Americans were matched with the Japanese brothers who had just spent a corresponding month in America. We traveled in pairs everywhere in Korea. An amazing fact to consider is how much -- because of Fatherís training -- we share a similar heart with our Korean Church brothers and sisters. Who could believe such a common feeling transmigrates over the oceans and cultures between us? Only due to Fatherís training, by the hand of our True Parentsí love, have we become one. This trip by American and Japanese brothers and sisters who went to Korea confirmed what we know deep down in our hearts already: we are one in heart. It takes not 40 days to realize this. Members in America can realize this immediately based on the foundation of heart now existing. But I learned something deeply special in Korea. Two words encompass the totality of my experience there: parental love. With each Korean Church leader I visited, I put myself in a position of son. I would think of True Father and how much he would be wanting to show us his homeland himself. I took everything like that. Father expects us to learn the traditions of heaven from the Korean church.
One point that I could not have learned but by going there, was how close the family feeling is shared amongst all the Korean people. Once when going follow-up witnessing to a home where the son is not married, the church leader spoke directly to this personís mother about her son going to the Blessing. I felt, "Well, this is pretty strong. No informalities to ease into the situation." Afterwards, I asked my Korean leader how he could talk so bluntly to this person who is not even a member. "Because we are all family in Korea. We don't need informalities with those we feel are our own family members."
This consciousness of a nationwide family had to seep into my Americanized brain. Americans cannot readily do that kind of talking. Because we come from a myriad of diverse backgrounds, we do not live with one national family culture in America. Instead, we try to be sensitive not to hurt anotherís feelings. This family underpinning of Korea must be lived to be felt. This became my search while there: to feel at home in this family and to live as one in this family culture. In Korea, people hold hands freely. In America, if two men hold hands it would make people think they are homosexual. But in Korea nothing of the sort is considered. It is as natural as apple pie in America. Often I would hold the hands of the church members during picture time. With the "Sa Mo Nim," or church minister's wife, I became like a son, too. Occasionally, I witnessed her tears. Well, this one Korean "mom" took me in as her son. We would rub close to each other. She laundered my underwear despite my persistence to do it myself. She hugged me in the end and even patted me on my bottom, pushing me along. Such is the taste of closeness available to the direct children.
Another powerful lesson that I experienced during this short heavenly sojourn in Korea is the anguish of the language barrier. Korean leaders in America communicate with us in English, though not smoothly, but we feel something from them. In Korea, however, it was Hanguk mal all the way. More often than not, in every city in Korea no translator rescued us from sitting together and being empty of words. So much went unsaid. To make a simple inquiry such as "What Blessing are you?" sometimes took such an immense toll on sign language skills, producing awkward smiles, that these simple informative conversations never took place. Of course, we smiled and laughed together over jokes half translated.
For ten days in Korea, I lived in the Korean churches, eating, praying, witnessing and doing fellowship together. Fellowship is what they do as an art in the Korean churches. For example, the members of the Chonan church located in a countryside community of about 30,000 people would drop by the church center in the morning and settle in like family. Exchanges of greetings, of smiles, and of comforting fraternal laughter, would predominate. Food would be served. I vow never to forget those ebullient times etched in the memory of my heart.
My pinnacle experience occurred on the ninth day in the third church at which I stayed. That afternoon, I went with two Japanese sisters and one Korean sister to revisit their contacts in the countryside. We stopped at what looked like a shed, but it was the home of a grandmother. Her son who was interested in the Blessing was not home. She invited us to sit and served us cha on her quaint porch, it being a beautiful sunny day. A cute, little white dog with brown ears yapped at us, trying to get our attention. A faucet dripped continuously into a big water basin. About a dozen ceramic food pots filled the humble yard in front of us. The radio played some quiet Korean music in the background. The sun shone perfectly on a temperate day. We all sat on the porch, I with my glass of cha, slowly sipping it, slower than most days.
As I sat, feelings of peace warmed over me. The serene atmosphere melted my eyes to watering. My handkerchief kept absorbing the soft, peaceful tears silently seeping out. The invisible graciousness of Godís love in such a simple country setting welcomed my spirit as if coming home to the home of homes. The peace of such a place would not let me alone. I looked down in an effort to not look at anything, to quiet my tears away, but the plastic floor mat looked so beautiful my tears would not stop! Why this place? Why these tears? Why this absorbing tranquility? A couple of days later, we visited the first Unification Church headquarters church at Chung Pa Dong. There I stole away quietly to one of the rooms and sat, again sensing the very peace as on the countryside porch: the quietest of quiet. I knew this was not just the peace of Korea but the peace of our True Parents. This absolute stillness lies in the bosom of our True Parents, where they beckon us ever patiently, ever anxiously to join them. This is our original home. Who could dream of this mind that carries on the task of restoration amidst severe turmoil and distress? The realm of True Parentsí heart contains such victory and comprehensiveness.
How can I take my experience and translate it for Americans? How can it become everyoneís victory? An undying love has been born in this American for my Japanese and Korean cohorts across the sea. This amazing 40-day experience submerged in the "womb" of Japan and, then, dipped into the kochuchan of Korea, as Father called it, seems unlike any other expedition of faith in our entire movement. I have to be ever grateful. To recall the faces of my Japanese and Korean brothers and sisters, the simple moments, the hands held, the Sa Mo Nimís touch, the terrific determinations and internal spirit of the leaders, the upright joyous expressions of victory from their mouths, the hugs, the bows, the parental fondness expressed in gifts, their level approach to witnessing -- to pass those images in my mind again overwhelms me with gratitude.
This 40-days interlocked our spirits forever. By fusing with the Japanese and Korean Family, Americans have unlocked the global realm of Godís Family. I hope that all Americans sense what we have created between our nations: "one nation," as Father sees us. Americans need no longer breathe archangelic feelings of insecurity, or inferiority, in America. After twenty or more years, we have grown up as elder son. That is not just our position, it is our heart. Out of this time in Japan and Korea, after feeling intimately the tears of Motherís sacrifice and the immensity of Fatherís tears of reunion, the Elder Sonís victory of heart has been won.
In America, we can now develop as a true son. We can achieve what we always felt was ours to do. We can bring total expansion of the True Parentís ideology to our fellow countrymen and to the fellow nations of the world. Without doubt, we can do it in united step with our Korean and Japanese brothers and sisters. Our three nationís destinies are intertwined as we proceed to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And the more we three work together, the more the gates of heaven will open. It is a great time to be on the frontline.
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