The Words of the Seuk Family
Rev. Joon Ho Seuk, Mr. Ittetsu Aoki, and Tony Devine visit the Soviet Union
This testimony was given to CARP members after the completion of the ILC Summer Seminars.
We are now in the final stage of God's providence. Father has made such a foundation that miracles can happen once we fulfill our responsibility and have absolute faith in and obedience to Father's direction. We never imagined these kinds of things happening, even just a few months ago. I am shocked to see these conferences taking place. Not long ago, inviting students and professors from the Soviet Union to study the Divine Principle in the United States was unimaginable, yet Heavenly Father had already prepared a foundation; True Parents had already made all the necessary conditions for this to happen. We can reap physical, substantial victory on the foundation of Father's spiritual victory. After the World Media Conference in Moscow, Father asked CARP to bring Soviet students to the United States for educational purposes. The Rectors (presidents) of universities in the Soviet Union got involved from the beginning. Mr. Aoki, Tony Devine, and I visited fifteen different universities to interview students who were potential candidates for the American seminars. Wherever we visited, we were met by the Rector of the university. If the Rector was away, the Vice-Rector visited with us.
Leningrad and Moscow State Universities are the two top universities in the Soviet Union. At Leningrad State University, the Rector, the Vice-Rector, the Dean of International Relations, and three professors -- six people in all -- greeted us and gave us for our meeting place the room where Lenin had received his diploma. The Rectors selected all the candidates who would be considered for participation in the conference.
A Divine Principle lecturer addresses the Soviet students at the Unification Theological Seminary, where the workshops were held
While the students were selected on the basis of academic excellence and their ability in English, the professors who came with them to America came mostly to take care of their students. Although they did not come to study the Divine Principle, all the professors were very inspired by the Divine Principle. There were five Leningrad city parliament members involved and also one staff member of the Novosti Press Agency. One professor came from Leningrad Theological Academy. He is of the Russian Orthodox faith.
The professors all want to study the Divine Principle more deeply. Three professors stayed on in America to attend a 21-day workshop. Four others were invited to attend the CARP Convention of World Students in Paris, and stayed afterward to participate in an advanced Divine Principle workshop. That is the kind of response we are getting.
The professors and students were like a family. The professors watched all the interviews we conducted in the Soviet Union. We had to twice postpone our arrival to Tver University, formerly called Kalinin University before the city of Kalinin recently returned to its prerevolutionary name, Tver. We had said we would arrive there on Friday and had to postpone it until Saturday, then until Sunday. It was a several hour drive from Moscow to Tver and since we were busy day and night interviewing students and reading their essays, we could not tell them what time we would arrive. (During our two week stay there we had no time for sight-seeing at all.) We arrived at three o'clock on Sunday afternoon. They waited for us from early morning on.
Russian professors are very different from American professors. Even though we were so late, five professors, including the Vice-Rector and the Dean of International Relations, were waiting for us. Even though we finished the interviews at eleven o'clock that night, the Vice-Rector insisted on entertaining us at the finest restaurant in Tver. Such was the hospitality of our Russian hosts.
Many different institutes were re- presented in the American seminars -- medical, scientific, architectural, mining, and aviation, to name a few. The professors came from many different backgrounds as well, from politicians to representatives of the press. One professor's husband is also a professor at Leningrad University. This professor and her son came. She was the eldest lady in the group. She had a very beautiful heart. Her son was the top student in his department, majoring in Chinese literature. He had gotten a full scholarship from the Chinese government and is going to Beijing University in September.
Gary Page leads a lively discussion group after one of the Divine Principle lectures
How was he selected? During our interviews, we noticed one lady, one of the parents, humbly waiting. We did not know why she was there. She waited more than three hours. After we finished all the interviews, we asked her why she was waiting. She was waiting in order to meet us, she explained. "My son really wants to be part of this conference, but he is in Moscow on a school activity. Please give my son an interview at another time." I was so moved by her heart of concern for her son. Then we found out that she is a professor herself -- and yet she had waited humbly for three hours. So I selected both her and her son to be part of this conference and she was so happy. She had said, "If you must choose between myself and my son, please select my son." She has a very beautiful heart. She stayed to help as a chaperone for the students for two full conferences.
One of the people we met and explained our conference to was a city parliament member. He was elected the Chairman of the Committee of Higher Education in the first free election in the history of Leningrad. He was so inspired and happy, he wanted to give this great opportunity to every university. I had suggested he contact several universities, but he contacted all 39 universities and institutes in the city of Leningrad and advertised it widely. When I found out, I scolded him: "You didn't follow my direction!" But he did a wonderful job. I was worried that with so many different universities, it would not be very well- organized, but it turned out splendidly. Thousands of people competed from these 39 universities and the university Rectors selected them. Some selected only two or three people out of thousands of applicants.
This city parliament member has such a beautifully spiritual wife. One day they invited us to a wonderful dinner at their apartment. She does not speak English very well, but she has a very beautiful heart. Awhile before we met she read an article about Father entitled, "The Man Whom the Parliament Stood Up For." Father is that kind of man. She was so inspired by Father's life story in the newspapers, she told her husband, "You should meditate (pray) whenever you have a very important matter to decide. You should follow Reverend Moon's example." They knew about Father before they met us, so they were very happy to be able to help him. That is why they made so many contacts for us. This man later attended our seminar and was a team leader.
The best students were selected from all the best universities in the two major cities of Moscow and Leningrad. The students came from all over the country. During one interview, I asked a student, "Where do you live? How far away is your home?" I thought he might live in a nearby suburb of Moscow or Leningrad. He said, very casually, "Oh, I live very close. It takes me about one and half days to get here." The Soviet Union is a vast country, spanning eleven time zones. People usually travel by train or bus. Sometimes it takes ten days or more to get where they want to go. Therefore, those who were selected represented all of the country.
There is an opportunity for music and dance at the end of each opening banquet
It is a miracle. This has never happened in Japan, nor in America, nor in Korea. We are reaching the top students of the Soviet Union now. I am shocked -- it is like a dream. The Rectors of some universities offered CARP an office on their campuses, so we will start CARP at 46 different universities starting in September. I am not exaggerating. This is a reality.
We interviewed 800 applicants, one-by-one. Then we gave them a one hour impromptu essay test. We asked them, "What is your goal in life?" We wanted to see their personal potential. We did not ask them about the political situation or about international relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. We wanted to see their internal perspective, so we asked for the testimonies of their lives, their views of life, and we selected them on the basis of that internal status. They are very Abel-type people.
The first group was comprised of 75 people from Moscow University. The second group was comprised of 100 people from five different universities in Moscow, and the last two tours had 100 participants each, from Leningrad, Tver, and Moscow.
We had one small problem. One university petitioned us because of their high academic standard to include some of the applicants we had rejected. We honored their request, but these students were not motivated to listen to the Divine Principle, so they complained when they had only one day of sight-seeing in New York and then went to workshop at the Unification Theological Seminary. We were very patient with them, however, and gave them love, and finally when they left for the Soviet Union, the ones who wept the most in the airport were the ones who had been initially the most uncooperative. One night at the Holiday Inn in Maryland, several of these difficult people got together and had a meeting until 3 or 4 o 'clock in the morning. They came to the conclusion that they had been wrong. They decided they had been arrogant and had misunderstood our hearts. They had felt we were not being genuine with them, but then they realized that we were. They apologized and, at the end, they shed the most tears.
During their stay in Washington DC, the students get a chance to visit the White House
This project was beyond the wildest dreams of the Soviet students. Up until now, only a few people have ever been selected to come to America from the Soviet Union on an exchange program. The maximum number of students the Soviet Union ever sent to America on an exchange program was 25 people over a period of one year. But 380 students and professors came during a two month period. It is unthinkable; a shocking phenomenon. One professor, the leader of the second group, said it was unimaginable.
The common sense point of view would be that this kind of a project would take at least one year of preparation. This professor was shocked that Rev. Moon met President Gorbachev in the Soviet Union in April and all of a sudden 380 people came to America in July. This is a first in the history of relations between America and Soviet Russia.
These students came to study the Divine Principle. We explained to the Rectors of the universities that they would listen to Reverend Moon's vision for world peace during five days of intensive study -- with exams. We gave exams! Even the professors took them! Then they were very serious about studying!
On the final day, Nate Windman, one of our lecturers, was very worried because three people didn't appear at breakfast. Later on, he found out that they had stayed up until three a.m. doing their take-home exam. They were so serious about it. They were too tired to eat breakfast!
On the final day of one Seminar, a group of Soviet students confided to Nate that they had come to a conclusion: the Divine Principle was the only new hope for mankind. They were worried about one thing, though: they feared that when they went back to the Soviet Union they would lose their vision and hope. They asked him to please help them maintain their new-found hope.
We developed a brand new, computer generated Divine Principle slide presentation. The computer has 16 million different colors. It would have taken thousands and thousands of dollars and so much time for other people to do it, but our members, our lecturers, developed it themselves. It was amazing we will make slides for everyone to have. To a certain degree, there was still a language barrier for the students, so this was an invaluable aid.
They were very sincere when they listened to the Divine Principle. We provided many lecturers so that they could hear the Principle from a very broad perspective. There were seven or eight different lecturers, most of them CARP members. The students listened with so much sincerity and purity -- it was like a blessed children's workshop. Their parents are very high echelon leaders in the Soviet Union, but they are very humble. Their response was beautiful. One student said he wished Divine Principle could be an official course at Leningrad State University and that if he had the power to make it so, he would do it.
The first Soviet students arrive amidst an enthusiastic, flag-waving reception
Mr. Gorbachev mentioned that the Soviet Union may not have abundant material wealth like America, but he is very proud of the high standard of character of Soviet young people. American society lacks that.
One Soviet student asked in his discussion group, "Does Reverend Moon work miracles?" The group leader had no time to answer because one of the other Soviet students immediately said, "We came to America to study Reverend Moon's teaching. That we are here in America is a miracle! Yes, Reverend Moon works miracles!"
We went on a local trip to an historic site during the seminary workshop time. Sometimes it took a lot of time waiting for everyone to come to the bus.
Some students said, "Oh, we should be listening to a lecture. We're wasting time just sitting on a bus." They were very serious about hearing the Divine Principle.
From the first group, 23 people signed up for membership in CARP. In the second group, 42 people signed. In the third group, 61 signed and in the fourth, 53: a total of 179 new CARP members in the Soviet Union. They indicated on their response forms that they wanted to develop CARP at their schools, and 72.5% signed their names saying that they wanted to be involved. The ones who did not sign were afraid. Perhaps they got some word before they left that if they signed anything in America, it might lead to some legal difficulty. Legally, a signature is a serious matter. Secondly, they were afraid to sign, in case the KGB were watching them, but many said that they wanted to join, and would sign later.
We took the Soviet students to the movies after the lectures and they saw "Ghost." Through that movie, people can see the workings of the spiritual world. Heavenly Father really helped us by bringing out this movie this summer. It clearly teaches the principle of spiritual growth, stages of the spiritual world, the fall of man, and the law of indemnity. Many of the Soviet students said it was the best movie they had ever seen.
The Soviet Union is the bridge between the East and the West. They have good training in their collectivism, living for the sake of the whole. The problem is that their leaders have misused them. Once they are able to trust leaders again they will be most effective.
The students display their creative talents at evening entertainment at the Seminary
Many high-ranking people are being influenced by this International Leadership Conference. One student's father is an assistant to Mr. Gorbachev. This student wanted to consult with his father before he signed up for CARP. The city Parliament team leader has the Mayor of Leningrad as his central figure. Recently there was an opinion poll conducted by a sociological research department. People were asked who they respect the most in the Soviet Union. This Mayor was selected as number one. Lenin was second; he used to be first. The third person was Boris Yeltsin, the new President of the Russian Republic, a strong anti-communist. The fourth in popularity is the Mayor of Moscow -- he, too, is an anti-communist. Mr. Gorbachev is fifth. This city parliament member will report everything to the Mayor of Leningrad. He wants to have more conferences, sending all the parliament members and all the professors to receive this education in the Divine Principle.
Many of the professors were very humble, too. One of them testified that they felt they had received so much that they wanted to apply the principle of give and take and return something to us! The professors took such good care of their students. When a professor saw students dozing, he or she would go and wake them up!
One of the participating professors from the Academy of Sciences said, "I his is the most well-organized conference I ever participated in." He was so inspired. We made a videotape of all the lectures and slides, so that through them, many people can be educated.
Another professor, was experiencing some back pain. We took her to an acupuncturist. She was very frightened by the needle. The moment the doctor inserted the needle, she cried out, "Reverend Moon!" At that moment, all her pain disappeared.
There were so many wonderful professors among these groups. We also had one woman professor whose husband is the most prominent philosophy scholar in Russia. Her daughter-in-law's mother is a very intimate friend of Raisa Gorbachev. They were roommates together in school and they still converse with each other almost every day. She herself is a professor at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute and the editor of Moscow News. She will write about Reverend Moon and our conference in the newspaper.
All participants received a colorful "True Unification" tee-shirt
At the end of the workshop, we asked the students to write their reflections about the Divine Principle and their overall impressions. They all wrote one or two pages of their experiences. If you read them, you will be deeply moved.
Each group presented True Parents with a different gift. One group brought a very beautiful desk clock, another brought an exquisite, traditional Russian teapot, called a "samovar." Also, each group designed a special "Thank you" card, signed by every participant. I think the artists must have gotten revelations from the spiritual world. One card depicted the Tree of Life and the sun, symbolizing Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and then there was the ocean, Moscow, and New York City. Its message was that through the Tree of Life, which is Father, East and West will unite. It was a beautiful drawing with that kind of spiritual insight behind it.
One of the students had a dream that a bright light appeared and a voice came to her, "You are on the right path." We asked her to give some testimony about that, but she said, "If I say anything, people may laugh." Gradually, they will come to understand and accept spiritual phenomena.
Another student testified that he had had a revelation two months before the conference, in which he heard a voice say, "The purpose of history is to find a new Adam." At the time he had no idea what this meant. It was only while listening to the Divine Principle that he finally understood.
We were concerned because if even one person became negative, they might say some strange things and jeopardize the future of these conferences. We were highly concerned about that, so our goal was that everyone would have a positive experience. That mission has been accomplished. Everyone was totally joyous at the moment they left.
We had one incident in the Soviet Union where some students whose applications were rejected got together with some American students studying in Leningrad, who are opposed to us. They went to a newspaper and said bad things about us and our project and a negative article appeared. When the participants came here, they had heard some negative rumors: "If you go to America, CARP will brainwash you. You will become dependent upon CARP spiritually."
When we had first met the students in Russia, they were very nice but when they arrived here, their faces had no expression. They were afraid because they had heard the rumors. However, in spite of hearing all those negative things, every one of them came.
They decided to find out the truth for themselves.
Three professors asked me if they can translate the Divine Principle into Russian. They want to spread this message to all of their country. They want to unite all young people -- as we must do in America.
Through the Soviet Union, the Eastern European countries, mainland China, and North and South Korea will all be influenced.
A feature article in a campus newspaper in Korea covered this event and all the Korean young people were shocked. 380 professors and students are listening to the Divine Principle! One Korean student group came to the United States recently and saw with their own eyes how Soviet students are coming to learn the Divine Principle. Someday perhaps the students of the Soviet Union will teach the Divine Principle to the Korean students.
Nate Windman and several of the students tour the Statue of Liberty
I really love those Russian people. They are so sincere and humble -- we should educate young people here to be more sincere and humble. The last day of our workshop lectures, we had four lectures scheduled but ended up with six. Nate Windman gives long lectures! One lecture became two. It was so long, some lectures lasting more than two hours, that we expected some people might complain. On the contrary, one charming sister went up to Nate to comfort him. She said, "You have been lecturing so long, you must be very tired. I want to give you a gift." She gave him a special spoon so he could get more energy by using it! Instead of complaining, their heart was to comfort the lecturer.
That is their heart -- they want to listen to more lectures. The Soviet Union will grow very rapidly once they know the Divine Principle. This is the best time to teach them. The system of communism has collapsed. Restoration starts from the zero point. It is like a house which is completely demolished. It is easier to rebuild a house like that than to rebuild one that is half- demolished. The Soviet Union is completely demolished spiritually. Restoration can take place very quickly once we have a strong foundation on the campus.
The Soviet Union used to be on Satan's side. Once they accept the Divine Principle, they will receive a lot of blessing from Heavenly Father, just like Japan has. Japan used to be on Satan's side, occupying the Adam country for 40 years, but once they accepted the Divine Principle, they developed rapidly and now abundant material and financial blessings are theirs and they are strong again. It will be the same with the Soviet Union.
When the students came, they signed an agreement: no smoking, no drinking, and no sexual promiscuity. The Presidents of the universities all supported that idea. They wanted to protect their young people from being corrupted by the West. They are concerned about that. They do not want to repeat the same mistakes Western societies have made. They want to avoid that kind of moral degradation. They were very happy that we asked the students to sign such a pledge. Even the Vice- Rector of the Economic Institute in Moscow, who was very supportive, jokingly said to us, "I want to participate in your conference, but I can't because I cannot stop smoking!"
The young people of the Soviet Union are like American young people were in the 1960s. They are very idealistic and seeking a new way of life. It is a very hopeful time for them to accept the Divine Principle, but it is also a very dangerous time in that they may repeat America's mistakes and embrace the wrong things. We must move quickly before that happens. Father wants 3,000 Soviet students to complete this tour and seminar within the next year.
Once we ignite this fire, it will spread rapidly. I am very deeply involved in this project and I sense the seriousness of it, but one day Father told me that even I did not understand the importance of this project. I am involved in it, but I do not understand its full significance. I just know it is very, very serious.
I want to thank everyone for their physical and spiritual support of this project.
Hyo Jin Nim greets each of the participants at one of the opening banquets
I would like to thank Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon for their interest in the Soviet students. We begin clearly to understand the reasons and the goals of human life. Only by spiritual growth can we achieve a new world -- a world of True Love. Every person must help himself to come closer to perfection and during this process help all the people around him also. Now we have a great opportunity to help this country, the Soviet Union and the world to unite and build a new life: a life with God and True Love. I tried to understand the Unification ideas not only by my mind but by my heart also. I want to study these ideas more deeply and to help other people understand them.
I've sincerely, shared the Unification Principle. Before I was almost hopeless, I thought that mankind had no opportunity to survive because of the great barrier between Western democratic societies and our Communist world. I didn't see any idea which could unite two opposite worlds fighting for superiority. Now I'm happy that I've got hope, for I know that such an idea can be the Unification movement. I realized with the help of presentations that not only mankind wants unification, but God wants it, too. We can and we must build an ideal world... only true love can help us!
I met many CARP members who are really harmonious beings, loving, beautiful, like apostles of God. I realized that Reverend Moon is God's prophet.
Maybe he is that very person who was sent to our world as a new Adam, new messiah to teach people, to help them to reach the lost Eden through the ideas of true love.
I absolutely agree with your principle of great love -- the love for everything which is around me. I have seen myself that it is not propaganda but reality, and I'm very happy to be among the Soviet people who understood the necessity for brotherhood relations between peoples and countries. It doesn't matter that we live on the opposite sides of the world; due to your great teacher and leader, Rev. Moon, it becomes possible for us to get here.
Years ago, the American writer John Reid wrote the book Ten Days that Shook the World about our revolution and now I can say this phrase in another way:
"Ten Days that Shook Us" about the revolution in our mind and view of the USA and her people.
Certainly, I and all my friends are very thankful to Rev. Moon. Because of him, each of us can experience this new revelation, rebirth. Unfortunately, I should acknowledge the fact than none of the Soviet students heard of your huge movement before. It is shameful to stay passive, when other people struggle to improve life, to change the world. I am sure, we shall compensate for this drawback. Your organization has really magnificent power, forces, and colossal plans. After the course of the lectures, I realized that your aims are so noble, humanistic. The whole teaching is a key to all the problems.
When we were going to visit your country we were warned by Soviet people and Americans that CARP was a bad organization, that your Unification movement was a cult, that your people were like fanatics in their worshiping of Rev. Moon. But here I saw the happy faces of the members of the Unification Movement and could even feel some inner light in them. Our group leader Kevin was so kind to us: introducing us to his wife and son. I felt how much love he experienced for them -- how happy he was playing with his son. And at that moment I realized that such people who experience so much love for everyone, can't be just blind believers, can't be cheated and can't cheat us. And I felt that your religion must be very good if it inspires you to behave like this.
Gareth Davies gives a lecture/slide presentation of the Principle
Now I know that thanks to your organization many people can join the only right road which does lead to God, our creation and finally to our own repentance, because without any repentance there cannot be our restoration and finally our right life. Also, I love you because you are the fighters for World Peace.
People who don't recognize the principle of Unification teaching will never make the world better, will never bring happiness to anyone who needs it. But I believe that in the future when people understand the basic values of relationships with each other, they will join this doctrine, understand everything, and build a better world, which is based on moral high behavior, on love and warm hearts.
To my mind, this teaching has a true view of the current situation of the world. We have been separated for a long time. Blood was shed, massacres took place. Now it's high time to unite people of different races and nations sharing different outlooks, having different goals. I believe that your effort to unite them on the basis of the new universal system of values will be a success, because such values as love, respect and kindness have remained the highest ideal of human relationships.
The ideas itself (creating world peace) are not new but long living. What was really important for me personally was to see who is trying to implement these ideas. I found that they are personalities, believing in their future. There is still much to learn and so much to experience, but the first step is made. It was not easy to overcome all the gossip I'd heard about Rev. Moon and his activities. But after I came, I've seen the people and then I realized that this can't be phony, fake. All this comes from a loving heart -- it is real!
I understood that your movement is based on knowledge, spirit and love and it makes your faith so popular between us. I have a great wish to think and to see all things in the world from another, non-materialistic point of view. It is quite difficult, but I need it so much. I want to be happy and you've shown me the way.
Before this trip, there was an article in the university newspaper telling us that we will become dependent on you emotionally, spiritually, financially. But it is interesting that it was the truth, because I feel myself dependent: dependent on your smiles, hospitality and LOVE. I cannot live without it. Thank you.
I think if a person tried to ignore the ideas of authorities all of his life, it will be too difficult for him to understand and believe in something new. It is necessary to have some time to trust the new thought. Of course, five days is a very short period but it was enough to understand that the theory of Unificationism is the theory of honest people who try to make the world better. I will be happy if I can help them.
Maybe I'll not surprise you, if I would say that Russian people have such a pain inside, that one can see it through their eyes. The history of Russia also is a history of suffering and pain.
Someone said: "If you had pain already you would understand, you would see if somebody had it or not." So, we see it, we feel it. You are with us, you feel our pain, you try to help us. Once cannot establish the value of love, life or pain -- it is invaluable.