The Words of the Tengan Family
Good morning, Lovin'-Life brothers and sisters! I would like to extend warm greetings from our Senior Pastor Rev. In Jin Moon, to all the local Lovin' Life Ministries locations from Florida to the state of Maine, from Alaska to Hawaii and San Diego, and every location in-between. Good morning again! Also, to brothers and sisters who are attending from different parts of the world, may God truly bless you!
In this precious moment and in this historical place, let's reaffirm that the Spirit and Love of God are here in our midst. Could you tell the person sitting next to you, "The Spirit and Love of God are here with us."
My name is Mark Tengan, I'm the pastor of District 12, the Southwest Pacific area. Many of you might be wondering about me, which nationality I am. Some of you may say, "Tengan; it sounds like tenga in Spanish, "to have," so he must be Spanish. Or maybe I might look Filipino a little bit. The fact is, I'm all of that. I was born on an island, Okinawa, and I am Japanese. So I might trip between L and R. If you have a question, please see me after service.
At this time, let us send our love and greetings to True Parents and our International President, Rev Hyung Jin Moon. They just returned to Las Vegas two days ago. Let's give a hand for our True Parents! We are so grateful for their love and investment here in America. We are here to bring joy back to them through our living testimonies. Are you a living testimony? You are alive and you have a story, so you are the living testimony. You bring so much joy to our True Parents. Do you know that? Amen. Let's bring God's children back to Him, A-men!
Right now in Las Vegas, families from across America are gathering to support our True Parents and teach all of God's children by declaring the breaking news of our True Parents. Let us continue to create a strong witnessing momentum here in America. Do you think our True Parents can feel it? Absolutely. I was supposed to be in Las Vegas yesterday; however, all of a sudden, a heavenly rapture took place, and I'm here now standing at this amazing podium in front of you. Amen. I'll go to Las Vegas next week.
Now let us all together send our love to our Senior Pastor of America, Reverend In Jin Moon. This podium is really warmed up; it is really heated up. Somebody paid the price to make this ministry work, to bring it this far. I personally thank God because last Sunday on Mother's Day we could listen to In Jin Nim's sermon. She surely has the heart of True Mother. I know that not only the Washington, D.C., area, but all of us nationwide were blessed by her message even as we continue to be blessed by the investment that she is making with each of our families around the nation. It is incredible.
Also, we have recently had the opportunity to receive a special True Parents' life course lecture given by Reverend Yong and Reverend Chung. Maybe some of you were there. These two teachers were instructed by our international president, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, to come to America and share this very important information with us. The Bay area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and the New Jersey communities were truly blessed. A recorded version of it is on the way. That was a great gift from our True Parents to us. Now we are equipped by the words of God. We know how we can prepare ourselves for Foundation Day 2013.
Now I would like to brag about my district, District 12. You may say, "Reverend Mark, what do you mean by District 12?" I'm glad you asked. First of all, let me say this none of the other districts in America has an ocean in between the states. District 12 has Hawaii! From California, there is a three-hour time difference to Hawaii. It's quite a distance. That island reminds me of my hometown.
Pastor and Mrs. Ernie Ho are in Honolulu. Someone said, "Who?" It's Ho, Reverend Ho. Yes, Reverend Ku is in Alaska. We have Reverend Ho: just for clarification. On the Big Island in Kona, we have Pastor and Mrs. Chuck Frumin and all the wonderful families there. Lovin' Life Ministries is growing stronger on each Island. If you need a vacation and you want to do ministry work at the same time, Hawaii is a good place to go. Just ask Reverend Lamson of Ohio. He can tell you everywhere you must go. Reverend Lamson, I love you. Aloha!
In District 12 we have San Diego led by Pastor and Mrs. Walter Frank. They have a powerful community program. They are tight; they maintain a very warm environment. I attended their Sunday Service, and it's very beautiful. All the parents are working together to raise beautiful children. That's another great place to go.
In Phoenix, Arizona, Pastors Staffan and Jane Berg together with Mark and Dianne Hickler are guiding the community, and they have particularly strong youth programs. Recently Jaga Gavin and Victoria Roomet visited them and had a great time with the local youth. It was really nice of them to visit like that. It's called the culture of "Just Because." One of the younger generation called them; they just showed up like that. It's beautiful right now, the culture of our movement.
For the 30th Anniversary of the 2,075 Couple Blessing, the Arizona family is planning to go to Sedona, which has such a beautiful and dynamic view of nature and a river. If you decide to go, please contact Reverend Staffan Berg.
Las Vegas is also part of our district, so our district is heating up. The "heat is on." That's how it goes. Yes, it's really heating up. They have almost a three-digit temperature right now. We are in a good place, right? Not only are we approaching a three-digit temperature, but also they had almost a three-digit number of guests for the Mother's Day Service. They had over 80 guests last Sunday Service. Let's give a hand to Las Vegas. It's great.
If any of us were waiting for a sign from Heaven, there is that sign in Las Vegas. It's very hot out there. (I'm talking about the spiritual element.) It's very hot out there. So many things are happening there in the home of our True Parents. Reverend Berg, Pastor Damian and Mrs. Dunkley, and many families have moved there for God's will. Also missionaries from Japan are continuing to come to Las Vegas.
As you may know, Lovin' Life Ministries in Las Vegas is now held in the beautiful Rave Movie Theater. They are ready for a breakthrough! In fact, they are already breaking through. That's the touch of True Parents' power. If you want to feel the heavenly fortune directly blowing on your face, come to Vegas!! That's a great place to go. Amen!
Last but not least, we have Los Angeles as the district HQ. Our senior pastor sent us a lethal weapon from the East Coast. Their names are George and Christina Kazakos. Together with their leadership we started Lovin'-Life-Ministries services at Edward Cinema, located in Alhambra, California. It was a big cultural shock to all of us, and the younger generation loved it! We experience the power and heavenly fortune that come from uniting with the direction and vision of our senior pastor.
I can't mention the names of all the people out there, but I'll mention some of them. Michael Holmes and the dream team do an incredible job. With the volunteer ministry and the educational ministry, they bring a fresh breeze of God's love to our community. Carol Tacker as Sunday School principal has outside-of-the-box thinking for Sunday School in the theater. They have a singing part, a dancing part, and a learning experience all in the mix.
Helen Brown bakes home-style Danish, and we serve hot drinks with it. People love to fellowship around the coffee bar. Now our families are so excited to come to church, they are coming to service from 8:30 in the morning. They're warming up already. It's so warmed up that it's hard for them to get away from the coffee bar. Sometimes I need to turn them away from the coffee bar to come to the service.
Brothers and sisters, this is a Divine Principle 101 question: The key for victory is what? Thank you. "Unity." When we have unity with the Heavenly direction from our True Parents to our senior pastor in this vertical order, miracles will happen. And they are already happening.
Matt Ishizuka and the Los Angeles Lovin' Life Band come to the service location before 7 a.m. for setting up and preparing for Blessed Families and guests to come. Last Sunday Da-Joe and our new guest Eliot performed a Rap song, "Appreciating Mother," for Mother's Day. We loved it. Our Lovin' Life Ministries is truly changing our culture, our values, and our internal attitude. We are not perfect, but we accomplish many things and as a community we are really growing. Thank you to our True Parents! and let's have a big round of applause for our Senior Pastor Reverend In Jin Moon.
I still remember when our senior pastor, Jin Sung Nim, Ariana, and the national team came to Los Angeles in October 2010. That was first time for us to welcome Lovin' Life in the West coast. We had a great time. We called it "Autumn Fest." We had a costume competition, ballroom dancing, and the Lovin' Life service.
I experienced the seriousness of our senior pastor to take care of a struggling member, a serious case. I had direct witness of how she dealt with this difficult case; she gave us clear advice and followed up with it. Yes, miracles happen because of investment. As a community we learn to face it and deal with it, and create an environment so that we do not make the same mistake again.
Do you remember how our senior pastor mentioned that in our organization no rumors, back-biting, or pointing of figures from behind are allowed? Those are the elements that destroy our movement. So we have no time for that. We face it as it is. We deal with it as a community. Good things will happen if we work together as a family and as a community. Amen.
I'd like to bring Father's words to the screen: True Families' Gateway to Heaven, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, page 73.
The crossroads of life do not appear over a long period of time but in a single moment.
People who ignore the moment cannot obtain anything precious. Nor can they become great people, or inherit God's throne and crown. To make each moment shine, you should exercise care with each word you utter, each action you take, and even each thought you have. Deal with life and solve problems, believing that the contents of your daily life will all remain as phenomena in relationship to the world. That is the only way the realm of victory is determined.
It is in the moment that the realm of victory is determined. It is the same with the historical realm of victory and the cosmic realm of victory. Those who live with unlimited values capable of making each moment shine brightly can become great people, even saints or God's sons and daughters. In this way, the junction of life and death is crossed in a single moment.
This morning, the topic I would like to share with you is "Live in the Present Time -- This Moment." This moment. In talking about time, please allow me to rewind time a little bit for me to share my personal experience with our Heavenly Father and True Parents, how God guided me to this country, how I joined this great movement, and how now God is continuously working with my life.
As I mentioned before, I was born in Okinawa, Japan, in 1969. I'm the oldest of three siblings. I grew up in the countryside, where I could see the Pacific Ocean because Okinawa is a small Island and everywhere you go, there is ocean.
When I entered University in Okinawa I had a part-time job as a waiter in a French restaurant. Have you ever tried French food before? When you go to a real gourmet French restaurant and order a full-course meal, you will be served many dishes. It starts with the hors d'oeuvre. It's hard for me to pronounce hors d'oeuvre -- it's the appetizer dish. Then comes soup, then salad, and they have bread on the side constantly. Here comes the seafood dish, then the entrÈe -- usually a meat dish -- is the main course. Then finally, dessert. Meanwhile a waiter is serving red or white wine. It is complex; it's not that simple. It's consisting of many dishes, and it's almost like art; it's beautiful.
In French restaurants, however, there is often a fight between the cook and the waiters. I'm sorry, but that's my main point in sharing this. It's the waiter's responsibility to call for the next dish. When guests are almost finishing one dish, a waiter calls for the next dish. For instance, when guests are almost finishing their appetizer dish, a waiter goes to the kitchen and tells the cook "Soup, please." A waiter doesn't need to wait until the guests finish completely.
If the waiter wants to make the full meal course flow, smoothly and enjoyablely, it's crucial to have a clear conversation between the cook and the waiter. Otherwise one mistake will bring us into a fight. "You made a mistake!" "That's your problem!" Usually the kitchen will beat up the waiters a lot, so there are arguments and fighting all the time. My point is this: I saw injustice; I saw unrighteousness; I saw power-tripping; and I saw contradiction in society, not only the restaurant. I started to have questions about life, slowly but surely.
My lifestyle in college was the worst of all. In general, it's hard for students to enroll in a university or college in Japan. But once they enter, it becomes a dangerous place, where students can do whatever they want. Let me confess here: I saw hell on earth. There was drinking, smoking, and partying every night.
Listen, young generation of our movement, God loves you! And True Parents love you so much! Your parents love you, so whatever your parents tell you, even though it might sound strange sometimes, please listen to them.
Those days I started wondering, "Will my life finish like this?" But I said, "No, I don't think so. I believe there must be something more for my life." I was desperate. Even unconsciously, I was searching. So God needed to work this out, somehow, to bring me out of the environment, to rescue me.
When MTV came out, in the 1980s I was really influenced by Western music, American music -- totally. I was checking every week: Police, Michael Jackson, Toto, Van Halen. Do you know Toto? Its songs are beautiful. Oh, it's culture shock. I was blown away by it. Also I was influenced by American soldiers who served in the military base in my hometown of Okinawa. The largest Air Force base in Asia is in Okinawa. It's called Kadena Air Base. They looked like they were having a good life to me, those American people in my hometown, when I saw them on the beach scuba diving, partying, and having a good time. As a matter of fact, I had several American friends. Heavenly Father was working on me, stimulating me to come to this country. So I did.
In spring of 1991, I came to America. I was standing at Powell and Market Street in San Francisco. Does anyone know this spot, Powell and Market? There you go. In that spot there is a turning table for cable cars, the cable cars that go to Fisherman's Wharf. As the cable car turned, my life also was turning around. God picked me up and turned me around, and put me to the solid ground. My spiritual father was right there to introduce True Parents. It's not only the cable car that turned. My life was turning right there, 180 degrees. I think that Phil and Heather Thalhemier joined in that spot, too.
I heard that so many people before me joined around that area. Incredible conditions were offered in that place! In different places in America as well, amazing conditions were set for God to reach out to youth who came from around the world to meet True Parents. That's why the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principle (CARP) had another name, TARP (Tourist Association for the Research of Principle) because many tourists joined. I was one of them.
I went to the workshop site. It's called Macama Hill. Or sometimes people call it Camp K. It's located in Northern California, and it was the spiritual birthplace for many people. The heavenly tradition of the Oakland church (which Rev. Tom Cutts talked about in his sermon) was still there in 1990s. We sang in a circle, and gave our life testimonies in the evening around the bonfire. There was so much love in the kitchen, serving great meals. In the beginning I had such a hard time to eat pancakes in the morning. In Japan we eat pancakes at 3 p.m., not in the morning. Also I put soy sauce on my oatmeal at that time. Oatmeal is like soft rice, right? An American brother told me, "You know, Mark, if you continue to do this, I'm going to kick you out of the camp, so please don't do that." Just kidding. They didn't kick me out. I learned to put on some sugar a few months later.
In that beautiful, rich spiritual environment I received God's words, the Divine Principle from our God and True Parents. Macama Hill was like a mother's womb ready to give spiritual birth to many children. It was protected. God was right there to inspire and heal broken hearts and reveal the truth that God's children needed to hear. I was touched by the Human Fall taught by one of our sisters. She had just had a baby, so many examples and stories in the lecture came from her relationships with her own children. It was real. God was expressing his heart toward his children, whom he had lost such a long time ago.
Those days, I went to the Holy Ground in Macama Hill every night to pray and to sing songs which helped me to stay connected with God's heart. I want to put one of my favorite songs on the screen now. I'd like to invite Reverend Cotter here. Let's give a hand for Reverend Cotter.
The song is called "Love Is Born Anew." It was written by Joshua Cotter and Sheri Rueter. If you know this song, please help me out.
Love is Born Anew
Father, You've been on this road so
Oh, won't You rest Your weary head upon my heart?
Just take my hand. And together we will find
A secret place where dreams are born
And love's alive, Your love's alive.
Father, You're the rock that stands so
Although the waves have come against You for so long; You still go on.
And Your hope is like a flame
That's ever burning through the darkness and the pain.
Turn the teardrops into smiles; You're the Father,
I am Your child. And together, we will heal this world. And love is born anew.
Thank you. That's a beautiful song, right? When I joined the movement, this song helped me to connect with God's heart. You know, brothers and sisters, the intimate time with Heavenly Father, with our Parents, is so crucial. All of us need to have that place. All of us need to have that place that we can go to sometimes, to remember where we belong.
I know why our senior pastor calls Lovin' Life a music ministry. The power of music to move your heart is incredible. When I was in Macama Hill, we sang that song a lot, and God touched my heart. He revealed that his heart is suffering because of myself, because of me, because of his lost children. That's why this song stays in my heart even now.
Every year at the beginning of the year in our movement, True Parents give us a motto. This year's motto is: "The Era of the Victory, Liberation and Completion of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth, and Humankind."
How can we liberate our Heavenly Father and True Parents? By living our life moment by moment. Step by step, let us make ourselves spiritually mature to liberate our Heavenly Parents and True Parents.
I'd like to read some Bible verses. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Seeing the invisible therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The love, life, and lineage that Father talks about, cannot be seen. Love, life, and lineage. God's love lineage flowing through your blood veins -- all of you, brothers and sisters -- is so crucial for us. Let's "look" at the unseen and keep the connection. Let's live that moment today, amen.
Heavenly Father, who guides my life and knows about you and me so well, every day is calling our name, calling my name -- and has been for a long time. He blessed me through True Parents with my wife Tine Trinh Tengan. She was very straight, unlike me. God knew what kind of better half I needed as a spouse. The picture is right there.
God blessed us with six beautiful children. My wife was telling me that we will have seven children. Well, I guess including myself she gave birth to seven children, right? In 2010, during our last child's pregnancy, she got cancer. When my wife and I found out about the cancer, it was already in its last stage. Women's hormones change drastically during the pregnancy period. Miraculously, however, with God's help, she gave birth to the last child, and that baby girl is still alive and healthy today. She is three years old now.
I thank God that my wife and I had a few months to spend time together before she departed to the spiritual realm. Basically it was a healing honeymoon for us. While we were seeking holistic healing as an alternative approach to cancer, we went to Chung Pyung and Cheongshim Hospital. Chung Pyung in Korea is a place blessed by God and True Parents for spiritual and physical healing.
Later, we went to the One Heart Hospital of Tokyo and to my hometown for thermo therapy. It's heating therapy. We went to all kinds of places. We visited downtown Seoul for sitting together with Auntie and Uncle outside to eat an interesting meal. I saw a dog hanging from the ceiling. It was an interesting day and a good meal. We were all having a good time, even as I pushed my wife in a wheelchair while she was in the last stage of cancer. She wanted to go everywhere, including downtown Seoul and downtown Tokyo. We did all kinds of stuff. She didn't eat sushi before, but somehow she acquired an appetite for sashimi, and we started eating sushi as well.
Today, those memories still come back to me in a flash. Then I realize my wife is near me. I feel her presence, for instance, with my girls for morning prayer and reading. Usually they have a hard time to get up at 5 a.m., but because of donuts as a prize for it, when they wake up, they join me. Then they say to me at the reading session time, "Oh, Papa, Mama is here!" "Wow! Do you see Mama?" And my wife was there above the bookshelf. They feel the strong presence of their mother.
I'd like to say Happy Birthday, Eunmi -- that's my fourth girl. Tomorrow is her birthday, when she will become eight years old. Happy birthday. I love you, Seiho, Seika Euna.
Only through the Divine Principle, the teaching of our True Parents, could I understand that husband and wife can continue their relationship between the spiritual and physical realms. I realized the Sung Hwa or Heavenly Ascension Ceremony and Legacy of Peace ceremony are the real thing. I'm still discovering the reality of the spiritual realm in my daily life, and I'm so grateful to God for my Blessing and my eternal relationship with my wife.
Saints, we are not living in the past. We are living in this present moment. Amen!
If you drive a vehicle watching the rearview mirror constantly, you will have an accident. You cannot go farther. You cannot get to the destination. You'll get lost.
When we drive, we look forward. We are living in this moment, brothers and sisters. We're living in this precious moment. It's called present. It's a gift from God.
I'd like to read Revelation 19:7-9.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, "Write, 'Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he saith unto me, "These are the true sayings of God."
I do exercise every day. When I swim and exercise, and when I eat kimchi and Korean food, I sweat -- or when I get excited. You don't see me exercising in the pulpit or eating Korean food here, but I'm excited right now. I'm starting to sweat. This place is really hot because of your presence, brothers and sisters, because of your value as sons and daughters of our eternal Heavenly Father.
We're almost finished.
In 2001, we had the 50-State Speaking Tour. Let me share some testimony about our True Parent and myself, in which True Father gave a speech every day for 50 days. That was an amazing time. We prepared the location for the program: the Bonaventure Hotel in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. We gave everything we had. We had prayer meetings going toward success of the program. We were desperate to bring a victory for True Parents and all humankind.
Then we welcomed True Parents before the program started. That was a precious time for us to introduce ourselves to True Parents. I can never forget how True Father explained about my name. He was introduced to my name, and he started to explain about it. He explained, "Oh, Masaru" -- Masaru is my real name, Mark is my English name "means 'the cup filled with water,' and he is still pouring the water, and water is overflowing." That's not the real meaning of my name, but True Father was trying to describe my spiritual status at that time. Reverend Ku, my leader at that time, explained to me that Father was very pleased by my hard work in preparation. When I looked at True Mother, she was smiling at me.
You know, Saints, I could have died right there. Father was complimenting me for what I was doing, and True Mother was smiling at me. That is the kind of moment we live for. That's the moment we live for.
I want, and you want, to bring joy to God and True Parents, don't you? When we do that, we can never forget that moment. We have an original desire to bring joy to our True Parents and to God.
One more testimony is from 2010, when our senior pastor was in Las Vegas at Christmastime. She invited all of us to come to Las Vegas. Then on the day before the Lovin'-Life service, we had ballroom dancing and a gala. At that time I was listening to the talk that Jin Sung Nim gives to the younger generation, and it's a wonderful, intimate time with True Family. I was dead serious the day before, preparing for the service to happen on the next morning.
I didn't care so much about what was going on with ballroom dance and other activities that night. Maybe the senior pastor felt I looked too serious, so she said one word to me. She said, "Mark, enjoy." That one word hit me. Lovin' Life Ministries: It's loving in the present moment. It's not about the past. It's not concerned just with the future. It's about living life in this moment, rightly. It is about enjoying our life, our gift, which comes from our Heavenly Father.
Here was part of the True Family, setting a great place for us just to enjoy, but I didn't receive it. I learned a great lesson about Lovin' Life Ministries in that moment. It is about now. Can you say now? Yes, Saints, it's about now. It's about this moment that we are living here right now. It's what counts to make impact for the future. We cannot bring back the past by thinking about it. We can live right now. Living in our moment is 100-percent investment. That's how we can bring joy to God and True Parents.
I need to share with you about the time our senior pastor asked me to take this responsibility. That was after my wife passed away. Does that make sense? I am a widower. My wife is in spiritual world, and I have six children. Do you appoint that person as district pastor? Reverend Cotter was calling me about this mission. I answered "God knows my situation, that my wife is in the spiritual world and I have six kids. However, still the senior pastor wants me to do it? I will do my best." I came to be interviewed by our senior pastor here in New York, around the same time as Reverend Takami (he was before me). It was August 2010. The senior pastor had Japanese twins, so to speak.
I will never forget her attitude toward my circumstance. She didn't sympathize from a humanistic view; rather, she was making sure that it was a calling from God. In that stillness and firmness of her attitude, I saw the daughter of True Parents right there.
Our senior pastor mentioned in her message about True Mother's words, "Suffering makes our heart grow deeper." There is an untold story behind any scene in True Parents' course and True Family's course. On behalf of us, they went through it and True Parents and True Family are still taking those steps. When we live this moment with total investment as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Parent and True Parents, we can unite and be the agent of change.
We should not be observers. We should be totally participating together with True Parents and True Family. Amen? We are not just sitting and waiting; we are becoming the owner of our life. Aju?
I like these lyrics. I don't know if everybody got it: what Sonic Cult sang today in the last song.
When something's broke, I want to put
a little fixing on it.
If something's bored, I want to put a little exciting on it
When something's low, I want to put a little high on it
If something's lost. I want to fight to get it back again
Our True Parents are fighting every moment of their lives to give the ideal back to Heavenly Father and bring all His children back again. We cannot find anyone like them in this world or in history who are totally intoxicated with God's love and live in that realm. They are investing every ounce of their energy to restore God's lost ideal and bring his children home again. Amen. Thank you, True Parents.
In closing, I had a Hoon Dok Hae reading session ceremony with our True Father. Some of you may have had a 24-hour session with him. I had a 12-hour session with him. Twelve hours was enough for me. He didn't touch his glass of water. He didn't doze off. He was checking each one of the leaders, who were dozing off that time. He was very sharp. Father and Mother are incredibly alive and embracing the world today, making the conditions and the foundations we need at this moment.
So, brothers and sisters, let's make the most of each moment that God has given us on this earth, knowing that we will spend eternity with him and with those whom we love.
God bless you, and have a wonderful Sunday. We love you all.