Unification News for September 2001
The Pure Love 2001 Tour
by Jennifer Hill
The Pure Love 2001 tour had a tremendous impact on both the community of Miami and the participants of the tour. Our theme this year was "Abstinence for the sake of others" which we sincerely tried to live up to through our activities. We participated in several community service projects; we laid sod with Habitats for Humanity, cleaned and painted a Mosque, and we helped fix up homes of a few elderly citizens. Through these experiences, we bonded with the other participants and came to know those we served.
The objective of the tour last year was to spread our message of abstinence to as many locals as possible as fast as we could. When I arrived in Florida at the beginning of this year’s tour I had the memories of marching with the other 360 teens around shocked city blocks, and am sure I wasn’t the only one who was surprised to learn that this year, PLA only had 60 participants. However, I learned that the few can do much, much more than you’d think.
The Habitats for Humanity project was the dirtiest thing I’ve ever done! After laying twenty thousand square feet of sod, we were up to our ears (well, some of us had soil in our hair too) in mulch, dirt, sweat, and sun screen but somehow the difficult conditions only lifted our spirits. Though we were tired by the end of it, we had created friends and memories that would last long after our showers had washed away the filth.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church was by far my favorite place to be on tour. When we went there for Sunday service, the atmosphere in the room was immensely joyful. Though our work in Florida is said to have inspired many others, there were many people along our tour who inspired us. Pastor Fudge for Antioch spoke to us on more than one occasion, giving us support and encouragement. We joined Antioch Church during not only their Sunday Service, but also during their Bible Study and youth service, and we were even invited to join them to watch Planet of the Apes in the theaters. Another community we spent time with is the Nation of Islam in Liberty City. After painting and cleaning around their Mosque, we received guidance and support by Minister Mohammad Rasul. "If you enter into a sexual relationship without getting commitment, you’re being used," he said. We were invited back later and to watch a movie with them. I made friends with Jasmine, a Muslim girl who joined us after we cleaned the Mosque. It’s really rewarding to be able to reach people on a deeper level than just telling them why I choose to stay abstinent. To be able to spend time with them and hear what their thoughts are on what you’re saying is definitely worth giving up the traveling way of 2000.
Mrs. Dorothy Perry, or "Ms. Dot" as she had us call her, is one of the most inspirational, saintly women I’ve ever had the honor to meet. She welcomed us warmly into her house and told us that in addition to the 2000 children she’s nurtured, she now has 60 more, making us all feel right at home. Her story and the stories of her adopted and foster children are miraculous to say the least. The first night we were there she gathered them around and told us of how each of them had been condemned by the doctor to a shortened or crippled future, yet here they stood, healthy, because God’s love does the impossible. Each day of our second week there, one of our teams would help her take care of her children. Many of them (even the brothers) came back with their hair done according to the children’s liking. "She’s truly a miracle worker. She’s so beautiful," I remember one of my sisters, Cresentia Hinkle remarking in awe after we left."
Although I had thought at the beginning of the tour that we were going down to Florida to serve and teach the citizens of Miami, it turns out they served and taught us more. Hopefully everyone from the tour will take these experiences of support, love, and service back home, where the real challenge awaits.
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