The Words of the Yasutake Family
Testimony from Lena Yasutake
September 9, 2003
Christoph & Lena Yasutake Firstborn daughter: Telani Gertrude Yasutake
Telani's name is Te from Korean for 'great'. Lani from Hawaiian for 'heaven'. Gertrud after her grandmother and great-grandmother from German for 'warrior woman' Her name means great heavenly warrior.
The moment my daughter was born was the most incredible experience of my life. When I looked at her perfect, fat, greasy body I was totally overwhelmed. "She's so beautiful, she's so perfect." I thought. I couldn't wrap my mind around the concept that she was my baby, and that she came from my body. I was amazed at how whole and full of life she was and how big she was, although at 7 pounds 14 ounces she really wasn't huge. You would think that 9 (it's really almost 10 if you do the math) months of pregnancy would give you time to realize that it results in a baby. But that's all just a concept until you are holding her in your arms.
I remember when having children was just a concept. It was a Saturday morning (I remember because my husband wanted to go upstairs and watch cartoons and play computer games with his brothers). We were cuddling in bed and talking about our future. "When do you want to have kids? You know, because whenever you're ready I am." I wanted to explain that each child is a blessing and brings its own fortune, that practical circumstances shouldn't decide when and how families should grow. If Mary had waited to finish her education or achieve financial stability to conceive, there would be no Jesus. God is not very practical (as can be seen in countless Bible stories) and I don't want to plan my family so carefully that I plan God right out of it. However, I explained it very feebly and he clearly expressed that he wanted to wait until after his doctorate to have kids.
You might be wondering how we have a baby right now, because my 21-year old husband does not have his doctorate. Our baby was not a "mistake". God was leaning on me to get going on our family, so I told him, "Look, you're talking to the wrong party, you need to convince my husband!"
Then one night when we were in bed he said, "Okay, let's have a baby". I was totally shocked! "What changed your mind?" I asked (carefully, I didn't want to talk him out of it). "Well, I've really been thinking about it, and all those things that seemed so important aren't really as important as I thought."
Conceiving our child was the happiest time of my life. I felt so totally exhilarated each time we tried to get pregnant. I felt like I was going to bust out of my skin I was so excited. I would lie next to him and say, "Maybe we just made our baby!" We tried about four times a day, just to make sure. Still I was totally surprised and totally elated when I found out we were pregnant.
Later in my pregnancy, I was concerned that Christoph's pending fatherhood and all its responsibilities were pressing down on him. To my surprise he explained, "It's as if a great weight I've been carrying so long I've forgotten it was there has suddenly vanished. All of a sudden the need to pass on my genes is no longer pressing on me. I've never felt so free."
Around Christmas I went to East Garden and did Hoon Dok Hae with True Parents. Father was explaining a point of the reading and all of a sudden he started talking about family...how when a child is conceived heaven has already prepared everything for that child. "That is why" he said, "there should be no more birth control in our movement".
He went on to talk about the value of blessed children, especially telling the sisters that having children should take priority over a masters or a doctorate degree. Father spoke about this for what seemed like an hour.
Because I was so young when I got pregnant, 19, I actually received persecution from other members. "Well your life is over now," one sister told me. When I heard Father speaking to me that morning, I felt Heavenly Father and all of heaven was reaching down to wrap me in a warm embrace. I felt so much love from God and True Parents. It was a confirmation that we were doing the right thing.
When I was about 5 months pregnant, I went to Korea for the Cheon Il Guk mobilization. I stayed for the second week. Even though it was challenging, it was an incredible experience. The members there were completely blown away that I was blessed and pregnant. I was surprised by their thinking, because the True Children are blessed so young. Some of them were having children before they were out of high school.
Our daughter, Telani Gertrud Yasutake, has been an incredible blessing. I can't imagine anything more valuable than her life. There is nothing I can accomplish in my lifetime that will outlast my descendants, my lineage. We are building the Cheon Il Guk one family at a time, one child at a time.
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