The Words of the VonDinklage Family
Sharing the UPF Vision in Samoa
John Von Dinklage
July 31, 2007
The 7th World Peace Tour entitled "God's Ideal Family and Peace Kingdom" took place in the island nation of Samoa from July 28 -- 31, 2007 with the assistance of seven Japanese and three Korean volunteers, the national director Mr. John Anae, Seti Suafa and John Von Dinklage.
The Ambassadors for Peace network and excellent relationships with Samoan leaders built by Yves and Jacinta Moreau over their past years of dedication prepared a solid foundation for this tour. The first stop of the tour was the village of Malaela in eastern Upolu Island for a traditional island welcome and exchange of gifts. The ACLC video that focuses on a commitment to marriage and family as the cornerstone of world peace was shown as an introduction to the World Peace Blessing. The Japanese-Samoan sisterhood ceremony was followed by a traditional lunch and joyful dancing in the big open house called a "fale."
Sunday was spent with the local Anglican Church, where after the service there was an opportunity for fellowship with the congregation. The Japanese volunteers sang, and over light refreshments there was time for sharing a brief explanation about the peace tour and giving invitations for the main event.
Monday the UPF delegation met with Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa at the Government House for a very cordial meeting where he could hear about the nature of the current world peace tour. Gifts of ginseng and Japanese handicrafts were given to the Prime Minister
There was time to visit old friends in Samoa, discover new ones, and give many invitations to the main event on Tuesday.
The Treasure Garden restaurant served as the venue for the main event, with a good turnout which filled the VIP room and overflowed outside. Several Ambassadors for Peace were among the receptive audience.
The Prime Minister sent as his personal representative the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Tapasu Leung Wai. Also in attendance were the Minister of Police, Fire and Prisons Hon. Papali'i Petaia Samuelu; former Minister of Health Mulitalo Siafausa Vui; and Dr. Viopapa Annandale of the Pan Pacific South East Asia Women's Association. The Reverend and Mrs. Fepai Kolia and others brought the total to 72 guests, an overflow crowd.
The program started at 7 p.m. and was emceed by Dr. Unasa Va'a, lecturer of Samoan language and culture at the National University. The World Peace Blessing was well received, after a brief video on the importance of building strong marriages and families. Japanese women's leader Eriko Mitsuishi read Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon's speech entitled "A Providential View of the Pacific Rim Era in Light of God's Will."
Several Ambassador for Peace certificates were awarded, followed by a brotherhood and sisterhood ceremony involving Korean and Japanese international staff with Samoan men and women, accompanied by heart-felt hugs and exchanges of gifts. The banquet followed a thanksgiving prayer, and songs from the Japanese volunteers brought the evening to a close.
The Foreign Affairs Minister and his wife surprised the UPF staff with an invitation for lunch the next day at the famous Aggie Grey's Hotel restaurant. The minister spoke with graciousness and goodwill, offering cooperation in ventures such as sports activities or other areas. He and his wife gave each of the UPF staff special South Pacific Games pins. Samoa is proud to host to these games for the first time; much new construction and preparations are underway.
The last day together was time for relaxing and savoring the beautiful experience achieved in such a few intense days. Early morning devotions were highlighted by Rev. Han's spiritual encouragement, and Rev. Kang provided excellent translation from Korean language to Japanese and English with great humor and gusto, not to mention his dance and acrobatic skills, too!
Will Samoa bring us all together some time in the future? Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon had once said: "Samoa" is the sound of children longing for their mother, or parents; it sounds like "some more."