Unification News for February 2002

STF: Witnessing in Chicago

by N. Haft

N. Haft is a second generation first year STF member from Maryland. His parents are Mel and Holly Haft. After completing the first four months of STF/MFT basic training, he was assigned to witness in a regional CARP center. This is an account of his first witnessing experience.

Ever since the beginning of STF, I have learned to always first offer up complete gratitude and glory to God, True Parents and Hyun Jin Nim for everything they have given to me and shown me. So that is where I begin as I share about the past two weeks on this witnessing campaign in Chicago. I am so grateful and humbled to have been given the opportunity to experience the raw reality of witnessing and to work together with an incredible mix of first-year STF members, STF team captains, STF members coming back from Russia, Chicago CARP, and our amazing leaders from the major regions of America.

When I arrived at the front door of the Chicago CARP center, I had no idea what to expect. I had never been witnessing before nor anything similar and I felt so unqualified. But I was there for a reason so I knew I had to make a desperate effort to fulfill my responsibility. Even though I really had no idea what I was doing, we were sent out witnessing even after the first day. In a way, I struggled with not being completely clear on the inside as to what I was doing, yet at the same time having a responsibility to "break through" as a group in witnessing. I really wanted to personally take responsibility to bring victory, so as a group we could stand proud in front of Hyun Jin Nim and pave the way for the rest of the STF class to come. But, I did not know how to do that.

We were given so much lecture content and guidance throughout the workshop to help us along the way. Step by step the pieces of the puzzle could fit in my mind. I could understand the heart of a parent I needed to gain in order to save Godís children on the front-line. I knew I had to feel as though I was Godís only hope to share the truth with these people. However unqualified I may have felt, God chose me to be in the position to express all the spiritual content and blessing I had been given, to the people. But eventually what I realized was that no matter what I was taught on the blackboard, the only way to experience the true heart of witnessing was to actually go out there and do it -- over and over again.

I feel as though I was exposed to a completely new world, scary and glorious at the same time. Witnessing is not just a theory, it is real and I was dealing with peopleís spiritual lives. When I sat next to someone for the first time hearing The Fall of Man, I was so nervous and scared because this personís spirit was being confronted head on, with the direct truth. For people to hear what we were telling them was completely shocking and I am the one who was right there with them. It does not get more real than that. The world needs to hear the Principle, but I found out it is not that easy. So much investment was required, so much of my heart was given to the students only to be betrayed again and again. Yet it was my responsibility to keep loving them, not for my own sake or glory, but for Godís. Even though I couldnít see the direct fruit of my work, I still had to keep giving and giving, expecting nothing in return. That was not an easy thing for me to do but I knew that is what has to be done in witnessing.

One experience stands out particularly in my mind. About a week before I came to Chicago, a man about 30 years old came to the front door of our center asking if the building still belonged to CARP. It turned out that this guy, Andy, had been in CARP about 6 years ago when he was in college and was coming back to see what was going on. After six years, Andy still remembered the lecture content he was given and was compelled to come back. When he came to a one-day workshop and service project we had on the first Saturday, I met him and got to know him a lot better. I immediately connected a lot with him and his Mexican background (I have studied a lot about the Hispanic culture). I felt as though I wanted to give so much love and warmth to him. He was so humble and I was so much younger than him, I felt almost unworthy to be with him. He couldnít be taken care of by his spiritual parent because she was gone, so it seemed as if he was kind of alone during the workshop. But his response to Principle was so sincere and genuine, it was amazing.

During the next week I really made an effort to write personal emails and make phone calls inviting him to our events, because I felt he was such an incredible person. Then the next Saturday, our Chicago CARP leader, Yeqing, allowed me to do hoon dok hae with him and Andy. As I was sitting there, in a small room with just us three, reading straight from the Divine Principle, something just hit me. Here I was, participating in the actual process of one of Godís children coming back to him.

Everything I tried to lay a foundation for during fundraising was made so real in front of me. Andy was desperately asking questions to understand the Principle and he didnít doubt it at all. God was letting me watch this person, his child, become a follower of True Parents. I was so humbled to be there discussing Divine Principle with someone who in his heart knew it was true and was trying to understand. I was so scared because I never was that close to the reality of witnessing and how it changes peopleís lives. Even though I was not his spiritual parent and I was not at all responsible for him being there, something was touching me deep in my heart because I knew then that this is what God wants me to do. This actually puts all the theory and foundation into practice. This is a lost son of God being found. This is my brother being given life. It was like God was telling me, "I need you to find my children. Be desperate to do it and you will see this again." I was so touched by that experience.

The next day, Andy came to church service and saw the Holy Wine Ceremony. He was so happy to feel such a powerful and uplifting atmosphere. Now his spiritual mother is trying to get him to go to the upcoming Blessing and Andy has determined to do hoon dok hae every morning and come to workshops on weekends. Absolutely amazing.

I never cease to be amazed by what God has in store to show me. I feel so small yet so responsible, now that I see how real witnessing is. I gained so much these past two weeks and I only pray I can share it and use it for Godís Will in the next four months of witnessing.

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