Unification News for September 2002

SFP Rally in Japan

by Hideo Kawashima with Michael Balcomb

The second international rally of the True Love in Action took place July 14th in Japan’s Saitama arena. For many of the participants, it was a return to the venue of the 2001 "New Paradigm of Ideal Youth" event, which set the standard for all nations. Once again a crowd of 20,000 were early at the stadium, packed it out, and shouted and cheered enthusiastically. What more could anyone want?

Well, as it happens, a great deal more. The whole emphasis on this year’s rallies is the creation of the owners of service for peace, those people who are willing to bet their very lives on the vision of creating the ideal of peace through living for the sake of others. Of course, there are many different ways to show ownership. For some, it means taking place in service projects, being out there in the field as a peacemaker and unifier. Others can offer their talents through singing, dancing, writing, photography, teaching, and the like. Still others -- and we hope there are many -- are showing their support and ownership through generous financial contributions.

For all these different ways, one thing is still sure. Just showing up is not enough. That was the firm message of President Hyun Jin Moon throughout his short visit to Japan. "We’re out to change the world, change the culture, change everything. You can’t do that unless first you change yourself," he said. "Never be satisfied with what you have done before."

In this spirit, the days after the rally were as important as the rally itself. That’s why on July 15th, SFP-Japan held service activities in Tokyo with all participants joining one of three projects.

The first was the ‘Saturday School Project,’ a simple but effect innovation developed by a local chapter. After decades of six days a week education, most schools in Japan have ceased to teach on Saturdays. The children might enjoy the extra free time, but the evidence shows that it is not being used well. In fact, many parents are struggling how to discipline their children. SFP is stepping into the gap by providing volunteers each Saturday to teach school children about service and living for others, rather than just more and more intellectual knowledge.

At this particular project 80 elementary school children, 20 "Ambassadors for Peace" members, 20 foreign countries university students, and 40 Japanese university students gathered. The children made packages of decorated letters, paper arts, voice tape , and pictures as a present for Afghan refugee children.

The second project was a fundraiser, the ‘Dream and Hope for Afghan children.’ 60 SFP members, students, professors, and religious leaders went out to gather donation from the public, visiting houses one by one, and setting up donation boxes in busy areas. Finally, the ‘Beautiful city from beautiful mind’ initiative in the Tokyo district of Shibuya, one of most flourishing cities in Japan. They started picking up garbage, and invited people to join. It was a brilliantly sunny summer day, but our determination outshone the strong rays. It was amazing and inspiring to see the gaudily dressed youth of Shibuya, with their hair and clothes of every color, joining in with the service activities!

The day ended with a dinner for the volunteers and 300 Ambassadors for Peace, including professors and religious leaders, etc. A number of participants gave their testimonies about the rally and the service that followed. Finally, the Founder Hyun Jin Moon delivered a short speech infused with a burning passion.

He explained how the SFP movement is important for humanity from many points of view. "No one ever grows without practice, even if he has most splendid theory," he said, "but through SFP, any one of you can recreate yourself." Every one is invited to be an owner of Service for Peace and to establish the fundamentals of eternal peace.

It was very similar to the message that had been given the day before, but now the audience could respond on a much deeper level just because they had actually participated in Service and seen the changes even a short effort had made in their hearts. Even though Service for Peace in Japan is just getting to first base, the seeds are certainly spreading!

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