The Words of the Berndt Family

An Intergenerational Bond: The 2009 STF Families Workshop

Beverly Berndt
April 6, 2009

This year’s STF (Special Task Force) Families workshop was unprecedented in scope (400 participants) and in quality. Much joy and excitement glowed on the faces of the families on their way up the snowy highway to Estes Park, Colorado, on the weekend of April 3-5. At the peak of the weekend, 220 parents, siblings, spouses, and graduates gathered from all over America, with some even coming from overseas. That was in addition to the 180 STF participants and staff who were up there for a week long quarterly workshop.

Those who arrived early were blessed to be able to hear the last several lectures that Rev. Phillip Schanker had been giving, which offered very deep and relatable points about the current providence, life of faith, and the value of the Blessing.

The family workshop officially started when the youths introduced their parents and siblings. Through the testimonies of participants that followed the entertainment, it is apparent that our Second Generation youth have gained a profound understanding and appreciation for what Heavenly Father, True Parents, and the True Family have done for them. Tears of gratitude were not unusual as their testimonies expressed realizations of the difficulties and investment of their parents.

STF Director Roland Platt shared briefly about how the STF has always received much love and support from the True Family, developing through seven- year cycles: initiated by Jin Hun Nim in 1994, reformed and empowered by Hyun Jin Nim in summer of 2001, and receiving In Jin Nim’s care and guidance since the summer of 2008. The program itself is a manifestation of the True Family’s love and hope for the Second Generation.

He added that a great joy for the staff is seeing year after year the Second Generations’ potential emerging as they take up leadership roles within the program and after STF; this mission is a privilege and honor. Now the STF program benefits from a great synergy of First and Second Generation input within the core staff. Tomeo Wise, another speaker, returned to be a core staff on STF after finishing a degree in Business from the University of Colorado because he “wanted to give back to the program that meant so much in his life.”

Surely the videos sent by In Jin Nim were a highlight of the weekend. The memorial service of Hyo Jin Nim moved us deeply, as did the video of the 90th birthday celebration of Father, blessing, and celebrations. The translation of the songs that Hyo Jin Nim had been singing with such passion and In Jin Nim’s heartistic elucidation clearly showed his loyalty and love for his parents. Many participants expressed deep appreciation for In Jin Nim's wholehearted and genuine sharing, which opened their eyes and hearts.

A recurring theme of the workshop was addressed by Naokimi Ushiroda, Youth Education Department Director, who spoke about “Life After STF: The challenges and the Opportunities.” He started with In Jin Nim’s hope for each of us and the potential that each of us has, and went on to speak about the crucial issue of a smooth transition into school, career, family, and future.

In the parents' meeting that afternoon, parents' input and involvement was encouraged, and several committees were developed; we felt a strong desire from parents to get involved in STF’s development, particularly in areas where they could be more proactive in supporting the transition from an immersion program back to the community and with college/university preparation..

Mr. Ken Owens, long-time photographer of the True Family, gave a wonderful pictorial chronicle and personal testimony of True Parents in America. The workshop concluded with testimonies from STF graduates and parents. Rev. Larry Krishnek, who was visiting his fourth child in STF, said, “STF has changed a lot through the years. There is more love and less structure!” Indeed the spirit of family and community was so pervasive that I found myself thinking, “Oh, this is what Heaven is.” In summary, a theme of Rev. Carl Swearson’s sharing, “Bring the human touch of God’s love,” encapsulates our experience of this year’s STF Family Workshop.

Written by Beverly Berndt, STF Parents Association Board 

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