The Words of the Brazil Family
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. It is a beautiful autumn day. As leaves change to yellow and red, I hope that our hearts are also warmed and transformed by the power of True Parents' and God's love and blessing. Brothers and sisters, we are always honored to have you here in this sanctuary, and for those who are joining us through the Internet; we are also welcoming you as well. Welcome brothers, and welcome sisters.
Welcome brothers and sisters. You know we do eight services per week here, at Bunbu church. I tell you there is no, particularly in the English service, and maybe the 3:00 service on Sunday, what a phenomenal introduction. Let's give it up for True Rivers Choir, once again, come on, let's give it up. It is just so soothing and healing to hear the songs. We have of course many different styles of services that we do here. Many of them are more quiet, meditative; some of them are songs that are more like operatic style songs, and things like that. But it is always so refreshing to come back and listen to some contemporary style worship songs, really nice. So, I want to begin just with that acknowledgment before I read from Cheon Song Gyeong.
Today I want to share from page 1174. And here Father is talking about restoration through indemnity. Father says: "Those who enter prison have feelings of desperation and discouragement from the moment they enter. But I had considerable interest in what kind of results would come after my life in prison. You have all learned about restoration through indemnity, so I think you understand. What was going to happen after I surmounted each obstacle? The pain I was going through then was not the problem, but I would always think about what new historical gift might come after that struggle. And this is still fresh in my memory."
I want to bring this to your attention, brothers and sisters, particularly when we are facing an obstacle or a challenge; it doesn't always have to be a negative obstacle; it can also just be a challenge that challenges us to grow. In those times of challenge it is very difficult many times. We can get bogged down in the struggle and in the challenge, but Father is asking us here to press forward with our eyes of vision, and, when we feel in despair, when we feel that it's insurmountable, that we are unable to overcome this challenge, to ask ourselves, "What kind of new historical gift is on the other side of this mountain?"
Personally I feel this a lot, particularly in these five months, when the whole world wide movement is focusing, is gathering all of our resources, is gathering all of our energies, into building the Temple, the Unification Peace Temple. We had some amazing things, I can't tell you about it now, but just some amazing things happened last week. We visited the head monk of the Chogae order of Korean Buddhism, and just some phenomenal things happened. I'm not going to talk about it right now; I'm tickling right here, I want to talk about it, but I want to tell you about that a little later, okay? Maybe a couple of weeks later. But just phenomenal things happened.
We see the spirit world is moving. We see Earth and Heaven, all of it. It is just moving, and we see that it is really happening. The Temple will be built. It will bring the Unification Movement to the world stage. Brothers and sisters, give it up for UC (clapping).
No more will we remain just in the dark as a small sect, or a small tiny, unrecognized, unacknowledged, tiny religious tradition. We will now be able to truly bring True Parents words, their heart, and their substantialization onto the world stage.
Brothers and sisters, it is a tremendous time. Let's remember what Father says for us here, when we are in these times of challenge -- many times they seem insurmountable --but he is asking us to use our eyes of faith, to see forward with our eyes of vision, to look forward to that new historical gift that is right around the corner, or on the other side of that mountain. And we'll keep moving and reach those gifts, and we'll be able to bring those gifts before Heaven.
Brothers and sisters, let us always remember that when we begin service, let us not only observe, but we want to participate in service. We really want to be participants here. Please, sing the worship songs together. They are beautiful; they are wonderful. Two River's Choir, they practice four days a week, five hours at a time. Let's give it up once again for them. Did you guys know that? Did you know they practice four times a week, five hours at a time? They practice every week like that, so that through them the spirit and the power of God can come into our hearts. That's how much sincerity and commitment they have every week. They are practicing like that.
So brothers and sisters, let's sing with them today. Let's also pray during the prayer time. I'd like you to pray with us. Share your prayers; you don't have to keep them to yourself. Maybe you can pray for another person next to you today, and give them encouragement and hope and power into their lives. So that they can face their futures and their destiny with confidence, strength, and knowing that they'll overcome all those seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Brothers and sisters, once again, welcome to service, and let's really have a great service and return glory to God and True Parents. Once again, welcome.
Brothers and sisters, today is a day in November, and November is kind of a sad month for us. November is a sad month, because for the last couple of months, when we began ministry here, starting from the spring time, we had just so much help and assistance from somebody that I need to acknowledge today. You know, November is the month where our assistant pastor Kyle and (his wife) Genn Toffey will actually be returning back to America. So, brothers and sisters, we want to acknowledge them today. Let's give them a HUGH round of applause. (much clapping)
Genn is a professional artist, and outside on the mural, with the help of our second generation friends here, did a beautiful mural out there. At the same time, Kyle has always been working on updating and working with the Internet team in America, and those brothers and sisters are doing that out of their own service. Kyle, of course, has been instrumental in discussing with you and organizing with our congregation here, and in Korea, different types of educational programs, after service programs, etc. He has been truly inspirational and instrumental in helping us really walk with our English speaking congregation.
So I really want to give a tremendous gratitude to Kyle and Genn, as God is opening a new door in their life. They are returning back to the States. They have been here for seven or eight years now, and they have been doing their activities here in Korea. They will be returning back to the States, and be able to help develop the American ministry, working with the respective leaders there, etc. So once again, brothers and sisters, let's give it up! An international applause for our pastor Kyle and Genn Toffey, once more, come on, give it up, give it up (lots of clapping).
So for us it is really kind of a sad month in that realm, because our beloved brother and sister will be returning back; and God is calling them back for a mission there in America, so we are truly wishing them blessings and wish that they may extend those blessings continuously to the brothers and sisters in the States.
And also November is a time of change, as we've entered the autumn season, and it's also a time where the seasons are preparing. It is a time of harvest as well. So as Kyle and Genn are moving back to the States and helping the American movement and mission over there. At the same time, in our Korean church, we have a wonderful assistant pastor as well, who has been with us the whole time. He is extremely qualified, very educated. He's also a professor, but you may have not seen him so frequently, because he is always in the back trying to take care of all the other activities. You may not actually have seen him on the stage so many times. Of course, all of our members here in the congregation have seen him in the halls, etc.
I want to introduce to you our new assistant pastor here in HQ Church for our English speaking congregation. That is our wonderful brother who was with us from where we started in HQ Church, over a year ago. I want to introduce Michael Brazil. Please stand, Michael! Let's give it up for Michael (lots of clapping).
Let me give just a brief bio. Michael is sharing his story with us today. Michael joined the Unification Church in New York in 1980, while returning from abroad in Europe. He was a member of the New York Church IOWC for several years, and he also worked in upstate New York as a church leader. He graduated from UTS in '89 and was a church state leader in Utah and in Colorado for several years. He was blessed in 1982 to his wonderful Japanese wife, Nauko San. Is she here today? No, but we are sending our blessings to her.
Michael and Nauko San have one son who is currently in Europe STF. And for the past several years, he has been teaching English here in Korea, at Kwangmun University in Seoul. It's a very prestigious university, a very good university. And during that time he assisted Kyle in English church ministry, before coming to assist at the English service at headquarters' church. So brothers and sisters, Michael is going to be sharing some words with you today. And when he comes up, let's give him a harvest season round of applause. Okay? Let's invite him up. Come on brothers and sisters, let's give it up for Michael Brazil. (lots of clapping).
Thank you very much. Well, hello everyone. I am Michael Brazil, and fortunately I have a name that's not easy to forget. No, I am not from Brazil. Often times when I meet a Korean person they ask me what is your name? And I say, Michael Brazil. "No, no, no, no, no…your name." Michael Brazil. "Not your country, your name!" And I have to explain very clearly.
Anyway, everyone, thank you so much for being here today. And today I'd like to talk about dreams, now and forever. Everyone has dreams, right? Or do they? Or perhaps we could ask, how clear are your dreams? Well, what exactly is a dream. I think we all know, but let's take a look at the dictionary definition: "A condition or achievement that is longed for, an aspiration."
So what do you long for? What do you desire? What do you truly long for? That would be your dream. So I'd like to ask a very important question. What are your three top personal dreams? Three top personal dreams. Now for those who are over 40 -- and I know that's a large age span -- for those of you here and watching on the Internet, I want to ask you, can you remember your three top dreams when you were young? In your teenage years, or perhaps in your 20s, can you remember? Okay, I want you to think about that for a minute. I'm going to ask those in their 20s and 30s, what are your dreams? Are they clear? Can you write them down now? If I were to ask you to do so? Okay, think about that for a moment.
How about our young students here? Middle school, high school. How about you? Do you have dreams? Perhaps they are just developing. Perhaps you've heard in the back of your mind, or a small voice whispering to you, psst… you can be great. You can be a great artist, psst… you can be a great writer, and inspire many people. Psst… you could be a great leader and lead many people in the political world, in the business world, psst… you could be a great film maker and inspire many people. Perhaps you are hearing things like that. Take knowledge of those. If you need to, write them down. You might be surprised and inspired by what God is telling you.
So in my talk today, I'd like to take a brief look at "what is the value of having dreams?" And what is the necessity of reviewing our old dreams, or creating new dreams? And finally, how can we connect our personal dream to God's dream. So let's take a look at some of the value of dreams. Motivation, inspiration, wouldn't it be nice to have a dream that fills you with passion? And you want to get up in the morning, instead of drag yourself out of bed. Did you ever feel like "I don't want to get up?" Wouldn't it be nice if you had a dream that, in the morning when that alarm clock went off, you wanted to get out of bed, because the dream empowered you? It inspired you, it motivated you? Don't you envy people like that? Don't you want to be like that? I know I do.
Also, having a dream gives a focus. It gives a purpose. It's like a guide post. You know what a guide post is? If you're driving your car it guides you down the road where to go. It's very helpful to follow those signs. But a dream can do that for us, courage and strength. We know if we have a big dream we're going to face obstacles. You've heard that many times, right? Last week Hyung Jin Nim spoke about that. Having a dream can give you the strength and the courage to go beyond. When people tell you, "You can't do it, forget it, it's over, you are history," having a dream you won't believe them. You won't listen to them. You'll gravitate to those whose words have empowerment for you, and you'll have the strength and the courage to go beyond.
Also, it's very interesting that when people have a dream, often times they have no idea how they are going to accomplish it. But amazingly with their heart and their mind focused on it, many times tremendous ingenuity takes place. Inventiveness, new ideas, new inspirations can come. You notice, number five is blank. That's for you to fill in. Can you think of some other benefits, values of dreams? Anyone. Don't be boastful. Ah, there's comfort. What else? Any others? Hope? Is hope on the list? Okay, great, hope. Absolutely. Thank you. Absolutely, and you could add many more.
So we know the power of dreams. And we have probably heard of many people, or we have read about many people, perhaps seen videos or documentaries of people who have done amazing things under tremendous obstacles. I'd like to share a very short story about one person. Perhaps you heard of her, Natalie Detroit, from South Africa. She recently made Olympic history. Did you hear about her?
When she was 16 years old, she nearly made the Olympic team for the Olympics in Sydney. She just barely missed. So she had great hope. She was a great favorite in the next Olympics to be held in Athens. But in 2001 a tragic and strange and freak accident took place. She was riding her scooter, and a car crashed into her, and basically destroyed one of her legs. And her leg was amputated from the knee down. Career over. Right?
You can't swim with one and a half legs, can you? Has anybody tried? I have trouble swimming with two legs! But dream over, right? I'm sure the doctors told her, "Well, you had a great promising career, but it's over, finished, done." But what did she think? This is what she said: "I had a dream of being a part of the Olympic Games, and of seeing how well I could do. I didn't ever think that I wouldn't make the Olympic Games. I didn't ever think that I wouldn't make the Olympic Games." Amazing!
In the Athens Para-Olympics, where you have athletes who are not physically able, or they have some physical ailment, she won five gold medals, and one silver medal. However, in the Beijing Olympics, she took part in the able-body Olympics, or the Olympics that we generally think about and see in here. She took part in a new event, the 10 kilometers open water event. Now, how many of you can run 10 kilometers? How many can swim 10 kilometers? It takes about two hours. (There's one back there…someone raised their hand).
It takes about two hours to complete the event. And she qualified. She qualified by finishing fourth in a world competition. Did she win a medal in the Olympic Games at Beijing? No, but she didn't finish last. She finished ahead of many competitors, and she was the big news. Can you imagine? Incredible, incredible! That's what the power of a dream did for her. That's what the power of a dream can do for us.
Well, what if you don't have a dream? Here's how one person described people without a dream, and I put it up here for the benefit of everyone. We've all worked with people who just show up to fill space, uninspired and stuck, going through the motions. They pick up a paycheck on Monday, and wait for Friday. Some of them are just killing time, until retirement. Maybe even you find yourself in this mindset. Not a very satisfying way to spend your days, is it? Sounds like an easy life, except that in life retirement can be permanent and unexpected.
We've all heard the analogy of a rudderless ship. We all know the story -- or if you have ever sailed, or been on a ship -- where the rudder, the guiding part in the back, is broken. What happens to that ship? It has no guidance. It will just go with the tide. So as we see in this picture here, what's going to happen to this large ship? It's heading for very dangerous territory; a dangerous situation. It's going to crash right into the iceberg.
Now, if we do not have a dream, that does not necessarily mean that we are going to crash and burn, but what it means is that we won't fulfill the potential given to us. We'll miss out on so many "could have, should have, would have done." So, are we a rudderless ship, or is our direction clear?
Now, I don't want to depress you with the next quote, so please don't get depressed; however, "One person working towards a dream is worth 99 people just working." Do you agree with that? One person working towards a dream is worth 99 people just working. Here's a quote from Father Moon: "Life passes by very quickly. After attaining maturity, and coming to know the affairs of the world, and doing things here and there, you will find yourself crossing the 40 year mark. And soon after that, the 50 year mark. A decade will fly by in the twinkling of an eye, and in what will seem like only seconds, you will be 60 years old." Please don't get depressed. "Then very soon you will be 70, but only for a minute, before you age again. When you think about it, the saying, "Life is but a fleeting dream," has never sounded so true."
For us who are in that 40 and above age span, we know this to be so true, don't we? Just yesterday we were married, blessed. Today our kids are off to college, getting married, or soon will have children; we'll be grandparents soon. Life goes so quickly, doesn't it? So, what I want to ask, my second point… reviewing old dreams. In my introduction I asked you in the 40 and above, can you remember your three top personal dreams when you were young?
Perhaps you fulfilled some of them. Perhaps you were unable to accomplish them, because something came up, or perhaps you put them in storage, or forgot about them. But perhaps it's time to get them out, and dust them off, and look at them again. Why? Because if you remember what your dreams were in your youth, probably somebody still wants you to fulfill them. Maybe now is the time. Maybe now is the opportunity to do what you couldn't do before. For some of us that could be really exciting.
Okay, so what happens if you can't remember your goals from 20 or 30 years ago? Or you fulfilled them all? Congratulations. But what are we going to do for the next 10, 20, 30 years? Perhaps it's time that we need a new goal. If you already have one, congratulations. I definitely applaud you. But perhaps we need to worry about creating new goals.
Okay, Michael, sounds good, but how do I do it? Well, good question. Well, you connect your love to your dream. Here's a very nice quote from a book that has been very, very successful in the States and elsewhere, THE SECRET, and the author says, "Do what you love. If you don't know what brings you joy, ask 'What is my joy?' As you commit to your joy, you will attract an avalanche of joyful things, because you are radiating joy."
Now, I've spoken to some people who say, "I have no idea what my goal ought to be." And I ask, "Well, if you could do anything, if God said, you can do anything, here's all the things… do it. What would you do?" "I don't know." Perhaps you feel that way. I understand. Of course you may need some time to reflect, to mediate, to pray, because I think most of us believe that if we ask, if we are really serious, and we ask, then God is going to tell us something… right? Unfortunately, I think that sometimes we are afraid of what we will hear, afraid of what God might ask us to do.
Have you ever had that feeling or thought? I can relate to that. But if your dreams are not clear, that's perhaps something we really need to focus on. Now, as you are working on your dreams, keep something in mind, that I think is very helpful. Again, this is from the book THE SECRET, where the author writes, "You cannot help the world by focusing on negative things. As you focus on the world's negative events, you not only add to them, but you also bring more negative things into your own life. Instead of focusing on the world's problems, give your attention and energy to trust, love, abundance, education, and peace. Let those things guide you as you are meditating and praying and thinking about your dream or dreams.
Thirdly, I'd like to talk about how to connect our personal dreams to God's dream. What is God's dream? Anybody knows? Well, we know in the Unification Principle it teaches that God is a being of tremendous love, and at the essence of God is heart. And heart is that desire to have an object of love and be united in love with that object, and experience what? Joy! What kind of joy? Ah, just a little bit of joy… only a little bit, or a lot!? Of course, a lot!
What is really interesting is, if you look and open up your bulletins, and you look on page two of the Family Pledge, it really said it well there, didn't it, in the last paragraph:” The coming future world is based on a new culture of heart, a culture of love, based on true families." That's one of God's goals! "Where God and human beings and all things live in harmony. It is a world of interdependence and mutual prosperity and universally shared values, in which people live for the sake of others, and live together in harmony and co-operation."
I don't know about you, but I would really like to live in that kind of world. So we know that's God's goal, that's God's dream, from the beginning until now, and it will never change forever, God's goal to have true sons and daughters. God wants to be able to look at you, and you and you, and say, "You are my son, you are my daughter, I am well pleased. You are my children, you are my love. You are the love of my life. I believe in you, when nobody else does. I'm there. I'm your biggest fan. Nobody cheers more, or louder than I do."
So, think about your dreams for example. Let's say your personal dream was, or is, to write a book. But if you could connect that to God's dream and write a book that would inspire people, energize people, uplift people, make them feel better about themselves, make them believe in who they are, believe in their potential and possibility, then you are connecting your dream to God's dream. And what will happen?
It will be empowered, enhanced, strengthened, that dream will take on even greater importance and power. If that dream is "I want to travel, I want to see many countries." Great. You travel, you learn about different cultures, different people. When you return back home, you work in your community, and you bring people together, and you teach that all people truly are God's children, regardless of the color of their skin, their creed or religion. We are all one.
Imagine the dream you could have. You align your dream with God's dream; you can and will accomplish great things. What if your dreams are really simple. "Michael, I just want to take an old classic car and rebuild it." Great. What you can do, is to find young people in your community who have nothing to do, who are just wasting their time and getting into trouble. Gather those people together and say, "Hey, you want to learn how to build a car? Want to learn how to rebuild an engine? Fix the body with paint? I'll teach you how to do that." Would you be helping God's dream? Yes. You're not doing it for yourself, you're doing it for something greater. You're aligning your personal dream with God's dream, and it has power. You might be amazed at what might happen.
One young man or woman might get inspired, and do a similar thing in his or her life. I really believe that our personal dreams are there, because they are a part of God's dream. Imagine 6.5 billion people connecting their own personal dreams to God's dreams, what would happen? "Nothing." I don't think so! So it's okay to have personal dreams, but connect them to God's dream. You can feel good about yourself, live for the sake of others.
Fourthly, I'd like to offer a challenge to you and to me. Did you know that from November 22nd to December 31st is how many days? 40 days. And two weeks from today is November 22nd. So we like the number 40 in the Unification Movement. I'd like to challenge you, why? Because I know, if you're like me, you hear a great sermon, "Wow, that was great; I learned something, and I should really practice that." Then you go home, "How was the sermon?" "Good." "What was it about?" "This and this." Monday you go back to work. Tuesday, "What was I supposed to do? I forgot. It's probably not that important. It's okay." Don't we do that? Well, I hope you are not like me.
So my challenge to you, and -- don't worry -- to me, is take time this week; start today, tomorrow, make time. Take time, to think about your goals, because we know it's not going to happen if you don't.
And it's really interesting. Why are people successful? Usually they have goals. And the people who are successful usually write them down. They write them very clearly. Most people don't do that. "Yeah, I've got a goal." "What is it?" "Let me think about it. Oh, yeah, I remember…" They don't have a goal. So my challenge to us is to make the time, take the time, schedule it in. I know it is really easy not to do that, but challenge yourself to clarify your goals. What are they?
And I'd like to ask you to make it your goal by year's end to have your dreams clarified; crystal clear. Maybe not everything is perfectly understood, but make your goal real and powerful, where you are thinking about it, dreaming about it. Then it will become real.
If you have trouble making goals for yourself, there are so many self-help books out there now. Just go to the bookstore, there are so many books. It will cost you a fortune to buy them all, and probably take a life time to read them, but pick out a few and read them. Gain the knowledge and the wisdom that are contained in those books, if necessary; but take the time, make the time to find the new motivation, inspiration, excitement that can be yours in the new year.
Again, we know that someone who has a powerful goal or dream, it is inspiring. You want to get up in the morning. How many of you really look forward to getting up in the morning? I know you're just being cautious not telling me.
In conclusion: Let us remind ourselves of the value of dreams, the power that dreams have, the motivation, the purpose, the strength, the comfort that dreams can give us. Let's clarify our dreams, if need be, or let's create new dreams, because we need that energy to move forward, do we not? And let's connect those dreams to God, to God's dream, and in that way we can have a tremendous future. So our goal and our dreams, make them by year's end clarified, that means clear. I believe in this way -- to borrow a phrase from Hyung Jin Nim -- that we will have more victory, more illumination, and more peace. Thank you, and please join me in prayer:
Our Heavenly Father, I really believe that if You would come here to speak to us directly, first You would tell us how much You love us, how proud You are of us, to look on the bright side. Yes, there are difficulties, and struggles and bad things, but don't dwell on those. Focus on the good. Focus on truth and beauty and goodness. I am sure, Heavenly Father, that You would tell us that You love us so deeply, and that You're so sorrowful when we don't know that.
And unfortunately, too often, it is true for all of us. But let us really feel Your power and Your love, Heavenly Father. Let us know, as we heard earlier from Hyung Jin Nim, that we are not alone, and that we can lean on You. And that you want more than anything to pick us up and embrace us, and love us with all of Your heart, to tell us that it's OK if you struggle, it's OK if you fall down. Just get back up. Don't give up. Because I believe in you and I love you. Please, never forget that.
Father, we are so sorry if we do forget that. Please help us to revitalize the dreams that we may already have, to clarify them, to make them real. If necessary, please help us to establish new dreams, that can empower us to move forward, to become sons and daughters, so that you can say, when I see you, I see my true son and my true daughter, and I am so proud of you.
I think so many of us, when our parents told us that they were proud of us, that really meant a lot. If we could hear You, Heavenly Father, say to us that You are proud of us, how much that would mean to us. How empowering that would be. Help us to believe it. And not only for ourselves, but then to take on that tremendous love and blessing that you shower upon us, and goodness, and reach out and give it to others. Because we know that when we give we follow a universal principle that by giving we will receive even more abundantly.
So people who are smart are givers, because they know they will receive. But they do not give to receive, they give because giving is joyful. Please, Heavenly Father, give us the power, the strength and the courage to do that. Help us to overcome the barriers that often block us and make it difficult for us. Give us the heart that reflects Your heart and Your love. So that we can truly work to fulfill Your dream which, as we know, is our dream, too. We thank You so much and ask for Your love and guidance for the week ahead. I humbly offer all this in our names. Aju.