The Words of the Haga Family

Mini-Global Peace Festival 2008 - Fukuoka

Jo-Ann Manzano Haga
October 12, 2008

FUKUOKA, JAPAN- Right on cue, on October 12, the mini-Global Peace Festival- Fukuoka 2008 without fireworks nor clowns, staged its debut at the Madokapia Small Hall in the heart of Onojoh City.

Representatives of 15 countries trooped to the venue with a good number of staff and participants elegantly donning colorful national costumes and attires. Opening entertainment numbers performed by Ms. Emma Kuwano, a professional singer and another Filipina dancer raised the excitement for the gathering. At home on stage were emcees Mr. Rafael Ablong and Ms. Ernie Kakehashi who came all the way from Sasebo, Nagasaki. The energetic duo masterfully presented to an estimated audience of more than a hundred, not including the many children, a simple but thunderous event that would later make participants to want for more.

Smartly clad in his native national costume, Mr. Boniface Nwabuisi, from Nigeria, offered an invocation prayer. This was followed by a short video introduction of what GPF is all about.

Filipino-Japanese Movement for Global Peace (FJMGP) Kyushu-A Coordinator Ms. Helen Hamada gave heartwarming welcome remarks which was followed by an awesome GPF Powerpoint Presentation in Japanese by Mr. Hirofumi Sato, Universal Peace Federation(UPF) representative from Fukuoka. Mrs. Akiko Han(Japanese-Korean couple ) delivered a very fine simultaneous translation into English. She also did translate into the Japanese language the guest speaker's English speech.

Filipinos and Friends in Fukuoka,(FFF), earlier agreed to grace the event with their professional dancers and what a well-rehearsed entertainment number that was. It really illuminated the small hall. The dancers' graceful performance of the popular Bulaklakan Flower dance and Philippine National dance Tinikling were met with loud applause.

One participant commented "Natsukashi... it has been a long time since she saw that kind-a-dance".

Ms. Patricia Hino (from Zimbabwe), head of the International Family Association (IFA) Fukuoka took the podium and gave a delightful introduction of the guest speaker. Throughout the course of preparation leading to the event, Ms. Hino was a force to reckon with, with her good vibes, positive oulook and unchanging missionary spirit. She really had put to good use her past mission experiences in Africa, United States and Japan.

Centering on the theme "Establishing a Culture of Peace in the Pacific Realm", the keynote speaker Reverend James Herdon, gave a moving, capturing lecture. To quote Mr. Ablong's description..."The speaker's unique ability to connect to all kinds of people in the audience was a great eye-catcher and inspiration for the day. His very solid voice had a pacifying effect. He made points in the principle easier to understand by the participants".

One FFF officer, Grace, also commented, "the speech content was very good, it should have been heard by more people".

Talking about the speaker, he is a professor of philosophy at the Okinawa campus of Maryland University and serves also as Chaplain for US Military and Naval Forces based in Okinawa. He has been with the True Mother's Tour in the US. He showed to some staff his pictures with TP's, Hyun Jin Nim, Rev. Chang Shik Yang and poses with other top leaders of our movement. He has done missions in the Philippines for six months, Korea 2 years, Thailand, India and other countries in Asia. He has traveled far and wide that in fact, the day after the event, he is to go to Korea by boat--alone.

His song renditions before and after his speech was a give away that the appreciative audience really lapped it up.

Another participant Ms. Malou Hata quipped, " he has a very good voice and sang very well".

Everything went smoothly during the event even there was very little time to rehearse and prepare the participants and entertainers for the sequences.

Technically speaking, the team of Mr. Kunihiko Yoshiura, Jose Mbau, Harris Mulbah, and others were surely dependable. Neither a hitch here nor there, from gadgets to props, wires and all was encountered. By the time the Finale came, participants were already waving their hand-made flaglets and singing-along with the GPF Theme Song " Where Peace Begins"..

Certificates of Partnership were awarded to the participating groups, associations, and individuals like FFF, IFA, APTF and UPF.

If the success of the event could be measured by Fahrenheit, might have been 39.4 degrees. A baby was that hot while her mother Cirila Ashina served as one of the receptionists. Remy Yoneyama, Emely Furukawa, Josephine Nishiyama and other 2 - 3 Japanese ladies teamed up with Ms. Edna Hirae in receiving, ushering and helping guests.

Other figureheads that made the day truly remarkable were the committee chairs and members who offered so much internal and external conditions, notwithstanding perseverance, patience and faith. Mr. John Santillan, who along with Mr. Santiago Baltazar who served as liaison and transportation officers said the oft-quoted lines " It was like being a full-time member once again ". Every bit of it maybe, as he did his route without the luxury of any lunch.

Josefina Nakamoto jumped ship at the last minute and ended up as 'mother figure' at the kid's room, along with Mrs. Baltazar, and some volunteer Japanese ladies, too.

To cap the festival, a very relaxed after-event dinner that overflowed with Costco's eternal favorites... rotisserie chicken, paella, salads, fruits and drinks followed at the Fukuoka Church. Haga family's delivery of the goods was timed right when everyone was already literally starved and fatigued. The cutting of the cake was done with an enjoyable chorus of 'Happy Victory Everyone'. Reverend Kihara, Fukuoka Church' leader expressed happiness that an International group has finally took charge of something very remarkable and promised to extend help as much as it is needed. Rev, Herdon again emphasized his love for TP, and urged everyone to love TP's as well.

The event went on like a whirlwind -- in contrast to the month long preparation beforehand that had trimmings of snafu's, loopholes, surprises, twists and turns. It may not be perfect, but the people made up for it, their unaccounted volumes of prayers especially -- absentees included. 

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