The Words of the Rendel Family
A tremendous spirit of hope and confidence prevailed during the 6th Parents' Matching Convocation last weekend (July 25-27) at the Wyndham O'Hare Hotel near Chicago. A total of 120 parents from twelve states and Japan gathered to gain education on the second-generation matching and Blessing process as well as meet other parents with current and future matching-aged children.
The Convocation was sponsored by the USA Blessed Family Department (BFD) and Blessed Family Association. Jim Stephens, BFD Co-Director, served as the Emcee and presented many of the insightful lectures. His wife, Hiromi, also a BFD Co-Director, oversaw the accommodations for parents to attain information on potential matching candidates. Their second-generation staff, Joshua and Amadea de Groot, demonstrated a high standard of love and service in their support of the convocation activities.
The educational content of the convocation was outstanding. The program began with an insightful presentation by Jim Stephens about understanding the differences between men and women and methods for understanding character needs and "love languages" among spouses and children. Rev. Inguk Seo, Director of the National Second-Generation Blessing Department, provided clear education on understanding our Blessed Children's identity. Every presentation provided new and provocative perspectives. Several lectures were given by Rev. Philip Schanker, Director of the National Education Department, including an enlightening session on how to help our Blessed Children live within the Fallen world.
A highlight in the program was two wonderful presentations by Mrs. Yasuko Takahashi, National Coordinator of the Blessed Children Matching Support Ministry. The first was comprehensive internal guidance given in the Japanese language to Japanese spouses. This was the first session of this type in the Parents' Matching Convocation series and everyone was deeply moved. The second was a refreshingly honest testimony to the entire group on her experiences and difficulties with her own children's Blessings. Rather than reciting theory, her truthful account encouraged us all with assurance and optimism.
Beyond the educational presentations, sessions were held where we assembled in large groups to share our experiences, insights and difficulties in regards to matching and Blessing our children. The discussions were stimulating. Time each day was also assigned for one-on-one discussions between couples to introduce our children as current or future matching candidates. Meals were shared in a number of local restaurants within walking distance of the hotel which further fostered relationship building. A dedicated room was set up with materials to assist us with marriage and parenting concerns as well as large photo displays of matching candidates for easy access and review. The good organization of all the materials and the gracious support of the staff was gratifying.
We concluded the convocation with a clear sense of gratitude -- for the quality of the experience and the opportunity to be educated and inspired about the matching and Blessing process bequeathed to us by our beloved True Parents.
Special thanks go to Rev. David and Mrs. Agnes Rendel for their focused effort in promoting the convocation throughout the Chicago District (Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin) and their full participation in the program activities. Also, thanks go to Mr. Hidemi and Mrs. Fumie Ikeda, Chicago District BFD Representatives, and their daughter, Mia, for their excellent preparation for the convocation and dedicated service throughout the program. Final thanks go to Mr. Scott and Mrs. Chisato Howard, BFD Representatives in Michigan and to Mr. Mitsuo and Mrs. Tomoko Okabe, BFD Representatives in Wisconsin, for their assistance in the convocation and ongoing support for the Blessed Central Families in their states. Plans are being made now for a couples' retreat later this year and the return of the Parents' Matching Convocation to Chicago at the same time next year. Thank you Heavenly Father and True Parents for this wonderful program!