The Words of the Newman Family

Reflection on STF Witnessing

Jacob Newman, Yoshie Manaka, Michelle Mahler, Heather Fraser-Harris, Kosina Hanson, Wanhua Regalado, Ayame Fraser-Harris, Victoria Nordhagen, Stephanie Streit, and Mark Jubb
May 10, 2010

Jacob Newman

"Well, this has definitely been an interesting part of my life, the most challenging but I guess it's where I grew the most… Through this condition I really feel I could experience God, just by doing as he does. I could really discover that God doesn't have to be something crazy, or you don't need an amazing experience to know his existence, but God is really Love. I found so much joy though serving and giving to others, without needing anything back. I know my heart of giving has expanded so much, and I want to give even more now."

Yoshie Manaka

"Being on this team was good for me. I love this team a lot actually. I think I came to a point on this team where everyone was actually my family, brothers and sisters. No matter the ups or downs we experienced, I still see that so much love is there. I'm able to give it, and I see it being given. I also learned that my relationship with God is my own and doesn't depend on anyone else and isn't like anyone else's. It made me feel so free, like God was telling me. 'Hey, you're doing things right, what you're learning is what you should be learning.'"

Michelle Mahler

"I am happy and grateful to gain this very different experience of witnessing to people in Bosnia. Not only getting to know people and the culture, but also to collect so many precious moments understanding God and myself on so many different levels. I feel that if I can't go anywhere or have anyone God is always there to love and guide me. He really is the one I can fully trust and rely on because he will never put me down and gives me exactly the people and situation I need in order to grow and develop my heart and character. Now I just want to learn how to stand on my own two feet and be able to accomplish things out of my own strength and offer it to God. I am looking forward to the coming time and grateful for all of the things God has taught me and still teaches me."

Heather Fraser-Harris

"My three months of witnessing were a very new experience for me… I appreciate these past months, because they gave me a vision for the future. Because they made me strive to see my value, my potential which I am still finding, but at least knowing that I'm on that path makes me feel better."

Kosina Hanson

"During this condition I found I learned a lot about myself and my faith. I confronted a lot of things I hadn't noticed or wished to notice inside of myself. I thought I would be gaining a lot of amazing attributes, but instead I found numbers of things I needed to work on. I then found the desire to be challenged. I know now, I need this in order to trust God, True Parents, and the Divine Principle as well as others. I need God in my life, and this will be my path to happiness."

Wanhua Regalado

"This condition I could push myself a bit more than before. I felt at one point I was challenged with the same things again; the same fears, the lack of confidence, etc. But, what changed is my attitude towards the challenges this time. I'm really grateful for the experiences I had, and the chance to prove myself to my team and God."

Ayame Fraser-Harris

"If I'm honest, this period in my life was where I struggled the most. Giving, giving, and continuing to give is hard, especially when you shouldn't expect anything in return. Before coming to STF, my life of faith was very weak and I wanted to change that. I didn't want to live life just by following others or letting fate decide for me, but really to be able to make decisions on my own and sticking to them until the end. Throughout this condition I made enough decisions that should last me a lifetime. I found a way to let God in during those challenging times. Many times I set goals and determined myself to do something for God. FOR GOD is so powerful. It emphasizes your part but also, by doing something for God, you're honoring Him by doing something for Him."

Victoria Nordhagen

"My breakthrough was probably the day when I challenged myself to say I'm a Unificationist and explain my faith in God -- why he exists in the Divine Principle's explanations. Believe me, to challenge myself in that way wasn't easy. Before STF I would never declare my faith, mostly I would just explain to my friends that I am a Christian. In that way I didn't need to go any further. So to actually do it in witnessing was scary at first but after doing it, I felt so victorious. It's amazing!"

Stephanie Streit

"All in all I felt like both the witnessing and fundraising were very good. I could learn so much. But I guess what stayed in my heart the most is: in order to build a deeper relationship to God I need to understand my true self much more. The first few weeks of fundraising I was really struggling with understanding how to achieve my goal of deepening my relationship to God. I just didn't know how to get there. I guess what saved me is hearing that I am not made up of mistakes, but that everything inside of me that resembles God is who I really am. Through truly understanding who I actually am and bringing out the heavenly aspects inside of me, through digging even deeper and discovering new beauty inside of me every day, and really uniting with that: that's how I discover God deeper and deeper and understand this much deeper. And through that, through understanding who I am truly am, it naturally makes me want to give more and more to others because I want to bring God -- who is alive inside of me -- out of myself and share it with others, I want to give and love and I want to unite with the God that is inside of others, inside of everything."

Mark Jubb

"This condition I gained one main point, which to me is more valuable than one hundred points. It's taken me 19 years of my life and 7 months of STF to realize the fact God has been working in my life this whole time, I've gained so much trust in God; when you trust in God you have nothing to fear. I feel free to live my life without worrying about anything because I know God is always there, looking out for me." 

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