The Words of the Clevenger Family
True Parents raise their bouquets at the October 30, 1989 Blessing.
Many of us have probably projected asking ourselves in our dying moment what we really accomplished with our lives on earth. Is the world better as a result of how we lived? Did we make a difference?
When we recount the events of 1988 -- and especially of the past 43 years -- it's clear that True Parents and our movement definitely are making a difference. Since were still in the seed- sowing stages, however, most of the real fruits of our work are yet to be seen, and sometimes we may feel discouraged because the world continues to seem more like hell than heaven. When we lose sight of the potential value of our daily lives, it's heartening to remember that not only the large obvious accomplishments but also the equally significant less visible benefits to others all result from consistent acts of caring and service.
George Bailey, in Frank Capra's movie classic "It's a Wonderful Life," was given an opportunity to see very clearly the difference his life was making for those around him. George Bailey is an unpretentious man who somehow always was willing to sacrifice his own dreams in order to meet the needs of others. Then through no fault of his own, he finds himself faced with financial ruin and feels the best thing he can do is jump into an icy river and allow his wife to receive his life insurance benefits.
Fortunately, the prayers of those who love him reach heave n, and Clarence, a guardian angel, steps in. Clarence gives George the chance to see what life would have been like for his entire town if he hadn't lived. The difference is shocking. Without George's simple acts of courage, generosity, and compassion throughout his life, his town would, in effect, have fallen into the hands of Satan -- and everyone would have suffered. Filled with a new gratitude for his life -- troubles and all -- and with an appreciation of his own value, George returns home and experiences concretely the rewards of a life lived for others as a multitude of friends parade in front of him giving money and thanks: "If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have had... a home, a job, etc."
Think about how much wouldn't be happening if True Parents -- and each of us who has chosen to work with them -- hadn't been born and made the choices that we have. Just last year an astounding array of events [see box] occurred -- all oriented toward helping this world's citizens develop the consciousness and make the relationships necessary to bequeath a standard of heaven-building to our descendants. Many films will no doubt be made in the future depicting the vast drama of events and conditions that are now being directed on the global stage toward God's desired finale: a world of unified heart.
In addition to the various conferences in 1988, Korean scholars and religious leaders continued their training sessions on the unification of the fatherland as they attended tours of our movement's activities in America and, reciprocally, we completed our initial goal to have 7,000 American ministers learn about our movement in Korea. In America, a new campus ministry program was launched, and the national leadership was expanded to further the work of revitalizing this country. Also Father gave six experienced leaders the responsibility to represent him as world BAs -- his ambassadors to the major continents. Perhaps the most momentous events of 1988 took place in Korea: the declaration of Foundation Day for the Nation of the Unified World on October 3, following the successful Olympic activities, and the October 30 Blessing. In an incredible feat of True Parentship, Father and Mother directly served many of the 160 countries attending the Olympiad by generously providing gifts and receptions for their delegations. How precious for those concerned with human excellence was True Parents' announcement at that time that a New World Festival (World Festival of Culture) will be held in 1991 [recently changed from 1990]. The Blessing of Korean-Japanese couples also reflected our Parents' desire to resolve all conflict and bring out the best in the human family, as it created more foundation for uniting cultures with a long and painful history of hostility toward each other. Since the lunar year 1988 actually extends to February 5, also included in 1988 were the Blessing of Kook Jin Nim and Soon Ju Nim, the second generation 72 Couple Blessing, and the Blessing of 1275 Couples.
In Korea the Segye Times opened successfully and hometown providential work progressed.
Three True Grandchildren were born in 1988: Shin Gil Nim to Hyo Jin Nim and Nan Sook Nim, Shin Won Nim to Hyun Jin Nim and Jun Sook Nim, and Shin Hwa Nim to Ye Jin Nim and Jin Whi Nim. We also saw the elder True Children taking more responsibility in America, speaking many times for Sunday Service at Belvedere.
Though we can rejoice in the innumerable accomplishments that seem to belong in "Ripley's Believe It or Not," we also realize, with deep regret and repentance, that the past 43-year-period actually was a wilderness course not intended to happen. If Father had been accepted in 1945, consider how much more substantial the Kingdom of Heaven could have been by now -- but also now that there is a foundation of acceptance, how much more quickly desired results can come from our efforts of giving.
As the era of tribal messiahship officially begins, I am thinking more seriously about how to be a memorable, and even life-changing person for those I encounter -- the check-out clerks, the mail man, the neighbors, the bank tellers -- as well as my family and friends. Of course ultimately the best we can offer others is the Principle -- but what else makes a lasting impression in people's lives? I remember the rather straggly looking street person in a McDonald's who after seeing one of my four small children spill her orange juice, promptly went to buy a new one, leaving it for her with a nod and smile. And the well-dressed man with an umbrella in heavy rain who approached an unkempt youth with no umbrella in order to give him shelter as they crossed the street. I'm "working for God, True Parents, and world restoration," but too often I express irritation with slow service, or there's no welcoming smile in my voice when I answer the phone, or I fail to say hello to people in lines with me. I provide no taste of heaven for those around me.
Though few acknowledged saints of the past had to create ideal relationships with a spouse and children -- as well as live for God -- we must pioneer this path too. Not only does the world need examples of the kind of family life our hearts long for, but also the survival of the beauty of our movement and own blessed lineage demands that we successfully create heaven at home.
As we reflect back on the events of 1988, then, we can gain power by recognizing how much has been done, step by step. Surveying our global village, we see incredible things happening in the USSR with glasnost and perestroika; Christians and other ethical, God-loving people seem to be gaining more power to influence education and politics; communism appears to be in check... somehow it seems that the base for God and goodness to work on this troubled earth is getting larger and more powerful. As individuals we must recognize and fulfill our own potential to make a difference. True Parents ultimately affected the lives of others by consistently making choices which expressed morality, generosity, and service. On whatever scale we live, we can do the same. Through our daily, seemingly small efforts, we can spark the original heart of others. What better gift for heaven than for True Parents to see in their remaining years here on earth an increasing stream of people coming home to God. True Parents have done so much. Their great joy will be to see us accomplishing even more.
January-December Korean Leaders World Tour and Seminar
February 13 Birth of Shin Gil Nim
March 27 Birth of Shin Won Nim
April 4-5 Father launches Campus Ministry
April 16-22 The Sixth God Conference
April 26 Birth of Shin Hwa Nim
May 8-14 Third Annual CWR Intra-Christian Conference
May 15 Father receives the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Washington Saturday College
July 1988 World Student Service Corps Project in Guatemala
July Completion of 7,000 ministers to Korea
July 9-August 14 3rd Religious Youth Service Project in Spain
July 17-21 CWR Hindu-Sikh Dialogue
July 25-August 2 Professors Speaking Tour of Asia
August 25-28 Second Annual International Conference on the Arts
August 27-31 Fifth CARP Convention of World Students in Thailand
September 27 Father proclaims the Opening of the Gates of the Kingdom of Heaven
October 30 Blessing of 6,516 Couples in Korea
November 10-20 World Media Association's Fifth Fact-Finding Tour to USSR
November 24-2717th ICUS Conference
December 1-5 PWPA Pan-African Conference
December 20 Leadership Conference -- International IW's chosen