The Words of the Mueller Family
Those of us working in Ecuador were surprised when our regional director, Christopher Olson, decided to hold a 40-day training session in our country. In terms of economic and political stability our country is better off than any other country in our region. However, among the church centers in our region, our church is the smallest.
Most brothers and sisters arrived at the Quito center at the end of June, coming from Bolivia, Columbia, Peru, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Coming a few days early allowed everyone to adjust to the altitude and a new climate. It is not always an easy transition if one is coming from sea level to a height of 2,800 meters in the Andes Mountains.
The workshop comprised 61 participants, including six staff members, and was held in Sangolqui, a little town about thirty minutes southeast of Quito. We stayed on a farm surrounded by beautiful and partly snow-covered mountains, an ideal setting to experience God's presence in the purity of nature. Our landlord felt extremely blessed to host us and he constantly offered his help. Most of the medicines that we needed were donated by him, as well as large amounts of bananas and oatmeal.
Although Nicaragua does not belong to our region, we all felt especially blessed to have two sisters from this country participating while their nation is undergoing such changes and difficulties. Their testimony of their work and dedication to True Parents under such trying circumstances moved many of us deeply. At the same time it showed us how blessed we are to be working in countries without major restrictions and obstacles.
The participants ranged in spiritual age from 2 months to 10 years. While most were physically in their twenties, our oldest participant was 54 years old. Many had never experienced such a big event or seen so many brothers and sisters together at one time. There was a strong sense of excitement and anticipation which helped create a high spiritual atmosphere.
We began our daily schedule with exercise at 6:00 a.m., followed by morning service given usually by Mr. Olson or the other missionaries or group leaders. The daily lecture period was divided into four hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. Every day before the evening lecture our Japanese missionary in Ecuador, Masao Mine, gave us Korean lessons, which everyone eagerly attended. Even the younger members got at least some feeling for the Korean language, and at the end of the training session we all recited the Pledge in Korean.
Pedro Rodriguez, the missionary to Colombia, and Steven Boyd, the missionary to Uruguay, each taught a cycle of Principle lectures. It especially struck me how the younger members were so thirsty and anxious to deeply understand the Principle. Consequently it was not surprising that many very young members received unusually high scores in their exams. Truly the spirit of God was moving. Many cried when they heard the mission of Jesus and the real suffering he endured.
In the afternoon we played football, volleyball, and table tennis while, simultaneously, a study group was held for those who preferred to study. The evening programs included cultural presentations of each country, movie nights, testimonies of missionaries, and meditation and prayer.
We heard lectures on CAUSA given by Haruhiko Iwasawa, the missionary to Bolivia, Unification Thought lectures, and internal guidance given by Mr. Olson. Many members expressed that through the internal guidance they came to more deeply understand the application of the Principle in their daily lives. Three days of lecture practice and two days of fundraising complemented our training session. Many members had wonderful experiences during fundraising, as Ecuadorians are generally open and generous towards religious activities.
This training session not only lifted the spirit of the younger participants and helped them gain a wider vision, but it helped the missionaries as well. As our True Father has so much hope for South America, we determined to work so his hopes and dreams can soon come true.