The Number "21", UTS, and I
by Gunnard Johnson (Class of '79)

I entered the Unification Theological Seminary twenty-one months after meeting True Parents and the Unification Movement. I first met Father upon the conclusion of my seven day workshop in Brooklyn, New York, in early November, 1975. It was on Children's Day. My first impression of Father was through a spiritual experience: I was sitting about one-third of the way back from the stage at Belvedere, and as I was trying in almost total futility to understand the meaning of the words spoken by Father, I could clearly see a laser-like spiritual light beaming from Father's eyes where ever he looked. It was so intense for me that I even got a headache. Father spoke about the importance of the moment in God's Providence, how we had to fight the spiritual battle with Satan's forces, and especially how we had to defeat the power of communism in the world.
Twenty-one months later, in August of 1977, I went to UTS as a candidate for the third entering class. Father came to speak about the significance of the fact we were the third class, representing "perfection". I felt a long way from perfect. Having recognized a significant improvement in my spiritual state, however, mostly arising from my efforts on the MFT, where I had spent the entirety of my life in the UM after completing 21 day workshop, I had faith that I and my classmates could indeed establish at least a conditional level of "perfection" if we all hung tough and stuck to our faith in God and True Parents.
UTS in those days was strictly a two year Masters in Religious Education program, so when I graduated, I completed my second twenty-one month course in the UM, following my initial course on the MFT. After graduating UTS in 1979 I did an abbreviated twenty-one month course in CARP; abbreviated due to Father's establishment of Ocean Church in October of 1980. I went to Florida and did shrimp trawling while praying for Reagan's victory over Jimmy Carter. When Father started the Washington Times in 1982 I felt called to attend that inauguration. Although I remained in New York to work at the Newsworld and Noticias del Mundo, I felt I had participated in the birth of the Washington Times.
After a slightly elongated twenty-one months, I went out on the IOWC where it became clear that my life was to work in evangelical matters rather than in the more external activities of our movement. I always felt a little empty when staying with the external affairs, like I was missing something important.
Now, after twenty-one years in the Unification Movement, I find myself as a National Messiah. My nation is Lithuania, a place where I had the opportunity to visit and work in the summer of 1991, when Dr. Seuk and World CARP had established an education program for thousands of students, teachers, professors, parents, and government officials from within the entire Soviet Union. Because of the opening of the way through Father's meeting with President Gorbachev, we had fairly easy access to many of the top level ministers of education and other authorities who could open doors with the stroke of a pen.
At the conclusion of that summer's activities we several hundred Unificationists were all getting ready to board our buses bound for airports or train stations, to take us back to America or Western Europe, via Leningrad (St. Petersburg) or Moscow. I had requested a couple of extra days to travel to Moscow, a place to where I had never been, because it was the fulfillment of the dream that Father had given us some fifteen years before, when he proclaimed after the Washington Monument victory, September 18, 1976: "We must go to Moscow!"
But, what a dream this turned out to be! As we gathered in an auditorium filled with about five hundred people, more than half of whom were Soviet citizens, to get our bus assignments, Mr. Jack Corley, our coordinator, got up to announce that President Gorbachev had been "incapacitated" and that an "interim" government had been formed! The Soviet professors, with whom I had just shared a seven day workshop, given by our own Dr. Tyler Hendricks, were in shock. They cried that this would set things back at least twenty years. I, however, felt very differently. I knew what Father had taught us about the dispensational time-table. Communism's day was over, done, finished! This temporary interruption was NOT going to change anything. I shared this with as many Soviets as I could. Many took comfort in my efforts.
We then proceeded to Moscow, as originally planned, and, true enough, within three days, the "putsch" collapsed! The attempted coup to oust President Gorbachev in favor of a hard-line Communist government had failed. The people were overwhelmingly in favor of the end of communism. Everywhere we went we saw signs showing the hammer and sickle (communism's symbol) equated with the Nazi swastika. Painted blood dripped from the old communist emblem. People's relief after seventy-four years of occupation by the God-denying regime of communism poured out everywhere. "Armies" of citizens marched in groups of several hundred at a time, carrying the Russian flag of red, white, and blue. The red Soviet flag was burned countless times. Trucks of government soldiers waved the "Peace" sign in obvious jubilation! A party atmosphere blossomed. It was a party of relief from decades of hell.
Today, the former Soviet Union still has many problems. Having leapt into political democracy before setting up an economic system based on the free-market concept, there is a lot of catching up to do. Corruption is everywhere. If one has enough money, nothing is impossible. Without money, nothing seems possible.
Enter the Completed Testament Age centered upon True Parents. As my new nation of Lithuania struggles to find an economic base from which to compete with the other free markets of the world, there is even more deeply expressed, a spiritual hunger. Young people especially are open to the idea that the world is poised to make a major new step. Indeed, the signs cry out for boldness and courage to enter a new age of world community! With the "sexual revolution" openly assaulting the former Soviet nations, the older generation is horrified, while the generation in their late teens and early twenties is hanging in the balance, not sure which way to go.
We come here, therefore, to share what we have received from our long relationship with True Parents. We come to show and teach what True Parents have given us. We recognize our own imperfections, yet have confidence that these, too, shall be overcome. We want to let these young and old alike know that God has not forgotten them. God loves them and yearns for them to realize the Three Great Blessings, as much as He does anyone on earth. But, most of all, we come here feeling that this is the front line: God is eager to work here, while Satan is also hoping to catch his prey. It is intense, as the opportunity to move forward in a fresh field of planting is awaiting. We are in a race to plant the good seeds of God's Tree of Life before Satan can plant his evil seeds of the false tree. From moment to moment, we have the feeling that we control our own destiny, yet that destiny requires the fulfillment of our own portion of responsibility. Attacks to our weaknesses come, yet we have seen that if we follow Father's methods, we can overcome anything. We have hope, because we have our True Parents and True Family.