The Words of the Kuzig Family

Alaska Adventure Workshop

Thea Künzig
October, 2003

When I came home from STF Europe, this August, my parents told me that I was going to go to Alaska. That was all I knew and they said it in a real "by the way" - voice. I didn't know at all what was going to expect me and I was completely scared. Slowly I found out more and more details. It would be a Workshop with Hyun Jin Nim, I'd be one of the few STF representatives and it would be just challenge. I got even more scared. Arthur Schenk and Matthew Jubb would be there as well, but none of us had any information, it was incredible. Everybody else though was really happy for me and I was scared I would be failing in front of Hyun Jin Nim. I had to think about this, reflect about my self. I came to the conclusion that my problem of not being able to completely invest myself in something derives from this fear of failure. Therefore I Never give 100% in order to leave the option: "I could have done better, that was not all there is about me!" But I couldn't do that with Hyun Jin Nim.

When we got there I was really exited, I didn't know anybody and there were quite some big leaders around. But on the plane, just in the front row, we found Limi's sister Camie and in my team I found my self with an American STF sister, who I knew from before and Orlande along with many other wonderful people. Right from the start wee had an amazing team spirit. We had 2 Koreans, 2 Taiwanese and 2 Japanese, all of them had kids already and responsibilities in the Church. So we were pretty mixed and enjoyed ourselves fishing and learning how to shoot and on a one day hike.

Everyday we set internal goals, had HDH with Hyun Jin Nim and loads of internal guidance, that's at least what I felt. Every team got to share a meal with Hyun Jin Nim. In the whole workshop there were only 8 sisters and they were equally spread in two teams, so our team was one of the special ones (everybody was worried about the sisters). Over Breakfast with Hyun Jin Nim he talked a lot to the eldest 2nd Gen. from Japan and to us, the sisters. He asked me how many children I'd like to have and protested when I answered 4: "Jun Sook Nim wants 9, we have 7 already." He shared that he got blessed before his 18th Birthday, because True Father had to Bless 6 of the True Children before 1988 in order to restore Noah's family.

He said, that we were quite old not to be Blessed yet and that women of the Unification Church were too strong. "Women don't understand their position, they have unique value because they are created differently - there is no equality."

Then the real exiting part came up: the 3-Day Hike!! Everybody had been sent shopping before because hardly anybody had brought equipment being worth 1000$, which equals 'enough' equipment. The evening before we had planned the hike and the daily routes, we didn't know anything about the river we would have to cross yet, but read about hypothermia and bears. With big back bags and -17 °C sleeping bags we started off for a beautiful day in nature and actually reached our camp in time. 'Camp' means just a spot in the woods where you can build a shelter, from a tarp and a string. It had been an exiting day already, going really high up into the mountains, where the wind blows so hard, that sometimes just had to sit down on the ground to be heavy enough, not to be blows away - going down these peaks, made from only loose rocks was even worse. Right before our camp we also had to cross some kind of a river already. For a long time we discussed where the best spot to cross would be and how to do it at all.

Eventually we just walked through and that was exiting! It was so cold, but of course you cannot die from such a short moment in the cold water. Having arrived at the other side, you take off your shoes, dry them with your fleece jacket and put on new socks and put the wet shoes back on. Then you complain a little bit to yourself until you realize that everybody has just as wet feet and that they actually get worm while walking and then you repent a bit for all the attention that you drew to yourself screaming, while everybody else just did it.

During the next morning it started to rain and when we reach the real river the water level had risen so much that we couldn't cross the river anymore (or were we just exaggerating? - we didn't know anymore and I was just thinking: "maybe, it's not that deep at all").

Anyways we had to do it, the option of turning back didn't exist for us, so we decided on groups of four and just stepped into the water. The others were going to follow in a few seconds. The first second your shoes are not wet yet and you are happy about the quality you got on your feet -but then you feel it. The first meter is no problem and you are happy about the teamwork -arm in arm -but then your friend slips and can't get her feet on the ground anymore. Then you don't notice anything anymore, just try to keep each other vertical, this time it's purely physical. It's not easy and the water is fast and the water is cold. Orlande was under water up to the neck for about a minute until the others managed to pull her out from the water. The only thing we could do was to just walk back, because there was no way of warming up, right there. So we kept on walking back to the camp, where we had stayed the night before and hoped that we would make it in time, before it gets dark.

I was just thinking: "This is still not really challenging, it's quite annoying, we're all soaked, whether from the rain or the river, we have no more drinking water and we will not make the goal, to reach our destination in time and do some of the prepared challenges on the way." When we finally got to camp we all just had a desperate "cup noodles" and found out that others were also pretty cold and had been like that the whole day. Orlande said, that whenever we had taken a break she was almost falling asleep and it was the hardest to just keep going.

Completely wet we still had to build the shelters still but then just went to sleep. As we were praying for the condition, that Hyun Jin Nim had given us in the workshop it felt really good to even in this craziest moment ever possible to still pray for True Parents, something that might seem really far away, but then we realized that not "even now" but "especially now" was the right way of looking at it, now that we had been going through at least some of the course that they are taking every day.

Then Orlande asked whether we could chare sleeping bags because her's had gotten wet as well and was no good to sleep in anymore. There the craziness continued. But the next morning I hit my limitations. My night was alright apart from cramps from sleeping in the same position, to keep the body warmth together, the other two had either not warmed up the whole night after the river or sleepen on a log basically. I was warm and dry and then I had to put on my soaking wet clothes and then I felt it again: How you exaggerate when complaining and pitying yourself: "The others for sure have dryer cloth than me, they wouldn't just put on wet cloths!!!" I couldn't believe what I was about to do, but then I saw myself adding more and more wet layers, pouring out the water from the boots, which had not been underneath the shelter and fish other cloth from the puddle in our "tent". But everybody was doing it and we all just continued walking, without Breakfast in order to get out of this place.

Walking was so much more difficult and we didn't even get very far - the water that we had crossed before had risen as well and became kind of uncrossable, definitely for Orlande. While the brothers were discussing options and the other sister started building up a little wall I saw Orlande sitting down, to "take a rest". Being cold and weak that was the most dangerous thing to do. I got her up and forced her to keep moving, she became very apathetic so I made her name all her brothers and sisters and their spouses and children, even just the alphabet. We covered her in a tarp to insulate her, maybe just the placebo effect. But it became really dark around her like that, she even had her eyes closed already. In her head completely different things were going on. She had always been the weakest in our team, but had made it until the river without problems, hearing a little voice inside her head: "That was nothing you can do more." Having to turn back after the river, which meant disappointing Hyun Jin Nim's hopes had been frustrating since we all had heared how he scolded one team, that because of an injured person had to go an alternative way: "You reached the alternative goal? There is no alternative goal!" But other than that turning back also meant to cross the first mountain again, which would be not possible.

She looked like she wanted to give up. Since that was not an option I told her: "Orlande, you don't want the last words you remember to be: "right knee up and down, left knee up and down!" - as our exercised had been going on - "But if you want to, sure, just go to sleep and don't wake up again." I told her that she was the reason we were not crossing the water and that by now the brothers were trying to reach SOS by radio. But that didn't reach her anymore.

Now that God had made her even weaker than she was before, she decided: "Okay God if you want me to go through that water and cross that mountain again, I'll do it, even if I collapse on top of it all." As soon as she had that like a miracle one brother managed to get the stove going and we still don't know how, since the matches were wet too, but then like in a Hollywood movie a helicopter appeared in the sky. We were jumping for joy and to make sure they see us.

We felt really bad to be flown out, to have to give up like that. Later back at the workshop site Ken Bates explained, that in the very last moment Hyun Jin Nim had changed the structure of it all, keeping the leaders at the center for emergency and giving radios to the teams. They were all surprised about that, thinking that in the mountains the radios wouldn't work anyways, but saw it as a condition to unite with. Jin Man Kwak when praying in the mountains, where we were had a vision about a white sister falling into the water and prayed that this kind of condition would not be necessary, since October 3rd with the big rally was coming up.

We had not realized at all how important this workshop had been and how much spiritual protection we had received.

In the workshop they said, that transformation of the heart doesn't mean, that suddenly everything will be different but from now on everything will change. That was exactly what we felt.

Thank you very much Heavenly Father for this experience!

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