The Words of the Fournier Family

Blessed Children's Summer Camp in France

Benedicte Fournier
November 1988

A missionary priest from Madagascar visited the blessed children one day and shared the experiences of his life with them

Dear Brothers and Sisters, our children's summer camp was held in Brittany (in the northern part of France), not far away from the city of St. Brieuc. It was held on the farm of Chosen One Andre Penhard, who just had his 40th birthday on the 23rd of August this year. Our brother raises pigs on his farm and once had 600 of them.

Four members of the Penhard family are in our church: Second Self Jean (in France); Second Self Madeleine (in Austria); Chosen One Andre (taking care of the farm), and their cousin Second Self Marie-Helene (in Alabama, USA).

It was truly Heaven that inspired Chosen One Andre and Second Self Jean to propose that our camp be held on their farm. Actually we had no choice. The reason was that our usual camp place, Chateau de Mauny in Normandy, was being used all summer by workshop trainees. Heavenly Father had His plans already to bring us there to "Uncle Dede's farm" (as the children named it).

The children bow after singing in front of an enthusiastic audience

Chosen One Andre has been, for more than 10 years, a town councilor in his village of Brehant, and almost everybody there knows him. His parents and one of his brothers, Michel, also live nearby. Through Andre, our camp became an extraordinary way to make a public mission in a hometown spirit, as True Father had emphasized on God's Day this year. The children could enter directly into public life, as they were invited several times to sing in front of people. As you can imagine, news spread out very quickly to the small villages, especially when they knew that all those children were sleeping at "Dede's farm."

We had many different activities: going to the beach, riding ponies, visiting interesting places, going to a pancake restaurant, playing group games, water games, and yute, making wood houses, singing, making sketches, and having campfires.

Chosen One Andre invited guests to each of our campfires, and they were delighted by the children's songs and by the beauty and happiness of their character. We did not even need to speak so much. Most of the people knew that Chosen One Andre was a Unification Church member and that all those children were too. The children were serving the guests with a warm and loving spirit that people had never seen before. They were so moved!

A ride through the village on a donkey cart

We also invited the Catholic nuns of the old people's home in Moncontour (a big village nearby), whose Mother Superior had lent us tables and chairs and where the children had already sung once. Four of them came: Mother Pierre, two nuns, and the priest of the hospital. Andre's brother Michel and his wife (both active charismatic Christians) were invited too, along with their four children, as well as Andre's mother and another very good Christian couple. So we had an ICC campfire -- with charismatic, Catholic, and Unificationist songs!

Together we ate cheese and bread and sausages cooked on the fire, beautifully served by the blessed children. The nuns were so moved, because they had never been served by children before. One of them was so moved that she cried. It was a great success, with a beautiful heartfelt harmony. We ended with a nice prayer offered by Michel and his wife, and after singing "Tong II" while holding hands, the priest gave us his blessing.

After this event, Michel came to see me and asked, "Do you want to receive a missionary priest from Madagascar? He could give a testimony to the children." I said, "Yes, why not?" I heard afterwards that the nuns had phoned him to ask if we would be interested in receiving him. With the children we all prepared for his coming. Second Self Catherine wrote a nice welcoming message on the white- board: "Welcome, our Brother Missionary." Chosen One Francoise, who is from Madagascar, rejoiced to be meeting someone from her own country.

Meals were taken outside near the cornfield on "Uncle Dede's farm"

We prepared a nice table with flowers and drinks and brought in chairs for the children and staff to sit on. Chosen One Andre had his video camera ready to film the whole scene. At 3 p.m. the missionary came with an elder nun, accompanied by Michel, his wife, and their four children. We listened to the extraordinary experiences of his life. The priest and the elder nun didn't want to leave us. They stayed more than two hours with us. We took group pictures and exchanged addresses. It was a great success.

We moved many people as well by bringing the children to Sunday services every week, wherever they were held. People could not imagine that Unification Church members would allow their children to enter a Catholic church and listen to the whole service. They were so amazed by the discipline of the children. As you know, in this world parents are very worried about the education of their children. They cannot control them and just give up, making it worse. They also do not know how to bring joy to their children because the children never seem to be satisfied. But our children radiated joy in their smiles and faces. They had hope. They brought these feelings wherever they went.

One couple, good Christians and friends of Chosen One Andre, really liked the children and invited us all, staff plus children (we were 35), to their home for dinner. They served us a wonderful meal with such a parental attitude that they seemed like members of our church! It was so intimate! The children sang. The husband sang an old romantic French song. They had also invited the husband's brother, his wife, and their children. The grandmother was there, as well as one grandfather. I could feel the Holy Spirit descending on us. The night was falling. We were still singing, using an old lamp outside, beside the fire where we had cooked sausages and fish. It was the Kingdom of Heaven without speaking!

The barn was a wonderful place to sleep

We finally officially ended our camp with a nice theater play, which we were invited to produce in the banquet room of the old people's home in Moncontour. That morning we went with the bigger children to all the shops of the village to invite people. We were offered ice cream, sweets, and chewing gum. It was like the children were witnessing. Our play was a great success. A nun who was responsible for a school in Rome asked me to photocopy the text of our play, because she liked it so much she wanted to teach it to her children in Rome.

The next day we had our closing meal on the farm, and we invited Michel and his family and their parents. The children were given nice books and sang nice songs before the sharing of a cake.

I can definitely say that this camp was the best one we have ever had. We took many pictures and slides, and Chosen One Andre filmed around nine hours of videotape.

When the time of departure came, the children were crying their hearts out. In this place, they truly had a heart-to-heart experience with Heavenly Father and developed deep ties of true friendship among each other. All of our staff were also deeply moved by the attitude of the children and gave out everything they could to make it successful.

Benedicte Fournier

We must give deep thanks to Second Self Jean Penhard, who was an inspiring teacher and father for the children; to Second Self Sakae Yochikawa, who was our wonderful cook and mother; to Second Self Catherine Weber, who took care of the little ones with such a motherly heart and who was our precious driver; to Second Self Asae Andre, who was our laundry sister taking loving care of our clothes; to Chosen One Frances Murray, who took care of the little ones with such an unconditional heart and who made us laugh so many times with her Irish accent; to Chosen One Francoise le Quang for taking care of the bigger ones, always ready to help with everything; and to Chosen One Andrê Penhard, who made everything possible, helping us whenever he had time with humility and simplicity.

But most of all, we truly must thank Heavenly Father and all the heavenly people in the spiritual world who protected us always. Without their help we would not have been able to succeed in this camp. But we know that our Heavenly Father could not have worked without the prayers and the sacrifice of all the parents while their children were at camp. This was the key point of our success. So we have to send all our gratitude to the beauty of parental sacrifice.

We all hope to come back next year to "Uncle Dede's farm" and meet again the people we know there in the village. We want to keep in touch with them and hopefully eventually bring them to True Parents.

In Their Precious Names,


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