The Words of the Kotegawa Family

My Path to UTS

Susumu Kotegawa
April, 1999

I am very thankful that God and True Parents gave me an opportunity to study at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS). I entered UTS last September, am now in my third semester and having a tremendous experience here in Barrytown, NY. Even one year ago, I never imagined myself enrolling at UTS. I am only here because God and True Parents guided me to be here.

I first began thinking about coming to UTS at a workshop for Unification Church (Unification Church) members who were also University of Bridgeport (University of Bridgeport) graduates in 1998, at which I heard True Father's direction for these graduates. I had attended the '97 workshop with thirteen other Unification Church brothers and sisters who graduated with me, but at that workshop there were no specific directions given by Father for us. However, the 40 Unification Church brothers and sisters who attended the '98 graduates workshop received True Father's direction loud and clear: "All (Unification Church) University of Bridgeport graduates have to go to UTS!"

At first I struggled to digest this direction because I thought that it only applied to the members of the class '98. I also thought UTS was a place to train future ministers and I did not consider myself to be the "minister-type". So I didn't give UTS much attention, rather I was trying to figure out what to do after graduation.

However Father's request for Unification Church University of Bridgeport graduates to attend UTS continued to be emphasized. I remember we had many serious discussions about this matter centered on the University of Bridgeport Unification Church campus minister, Rev. Hempowicz. Finally things became clearer for us when Hyun Jin Nim visited on July 16th, 1998. Hyun Jin Nim said, "I bring True Father's message today. You have to come to UTS as soon as possible". Hyun Jin Nim explained clearly why we should attend UTS, the mission of UTS and the future vision of our movement.

Finally I realized that God and True Parents were talking to ME, not just the graduates of '98, since I attended Hyun Jin Nim's speech, (I was there video-taping it). I was motivated by his words that "You don't have a root to your faith. At UTS you have to build the root of your faith, and you can inherit the vertical tradition which True Parents have established. Before you go to your professional field you have to be connected with God vertically. UTS is a place to make those things happen!" Hyun Jin Nim's visit and words opened the door to UTS for me. I realized that UTS was the very answer for which I had been praying about my course after graduation.

I had reached a turning point in my life. It was seven years that month since I joined the Church. I was feeling limits in many aspects of my life of faith. I realized that this was the right time for me to go to UTS - to seek God's heart, to learn more about True Parents and inherit their traditions from the zero point. True Father is now very old so I want to quickly inherit the tradition and make my strong determination while True Father is alive and well.

Life at UTS is for me like solving a puzzle, seeking the reasons True Father directs Unification Church University of Bridgeport graduates to come to UTS. UTS is located in the midst of beautiful scenery, and this setting combined with True Father's prayer and design provide both a wonderful natural environment and academic program. If I attend classes with a lot of preparation, I receive a lot of inspirations. UTS is a place to generate heavenly tradition and culture and here we can communicate with brothers and sisters from all over the world. To be here requires a challenging, pioneer spirit, and open mind - my horizons are being broadened.

I have also been impressed by President Shimmyo's faith. On many occasions we have opportunities to hear about the mission and vision of UTS from the President. He always emphasizes and prays that "I will take the most difficult burden of the cross." I could understand what UTS is through the President's attitude toward God and True Parents. I can clearly know the standard of faith I am striving for by graduation: to obtain absolute faith.

This is my third semester and I am learning many things from UTS and its community members. This is a place to pass the tradition from 1st generation to 2nd generation, to inherit the vertical tradition which True Parents have established, and prepare for the future of our movement. Of course, I believe it is possible to inherit True Parents tradition everywhere if our motivation is correct, however UTS is the educational institution True Father invested his heart in the most. Therefore it is possible for us to inherit in a short time and in the most appropriate environment.

It is my goal to build a strong root of faith, absolute faith, and to carry the most difficult burden. I want to seek and meet God's and True Parents' heart and prepare for my future.

The things I learned at University of Bridgeport were very useful. I received my Bachelor's in Mass Communications. Now I am figuring out how to best use this knowledge in connection with God's Will. I would like to be a bridge between University of Bridgeport and UTS, and build a foundation for future University of Bridgeport graduates to study at UTS by being a good role model. Again I am very thankful for the wonderful education and guidance I received at University of Bridgeport and continue to receive at UTS.

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