The Words of Sun Myung Moon from 1997

Witnessing Sun Myung Moon's Blessing 97 photo matchings

November 1997

The most wonderful thing had happened to me, I was to assist Father in the matching of candidates for Blessing 97. At the same time, the most terrible thing had happened to me; I was in charge. If there were any problems (and there always are), they were ultimately my responsibility. Thank God I was too busy doing what needed to be done. If I ever stopped to think about what I was doing, I wanted to run and hide. In those moments when I did think about it, I could only put my faith in God.

I was concerned that I did not speak Korean. How can I be in charge of something like this? Father speaks Korean. The continental leaders speak Korean. The church elders present speak Korean. If there are problems, they will all be speaking Korean. How can I know what the problem is, so I can solve it? I remembered learning from one Korean that there is a sixth sense necessary to speak Korean. I prayed long and hard that somehow I would be able to use my spiritual senses to tap into this sixth sense and understand. Low and behold, it worked! On every occasion, somehow I knew what was being said. Always my intuition as to the content of the conversation was accurate.

The Matching

True Parents came and began. It was slow at first, then Father began to work so fast that whole armloads would be brought out of the room to check. Looking in the room, the sight was amazing.

A group of about a dozen people were gathered around Father. He would step sideways, and they would step sideways. Whatever the length of his step, so would be the length of theirs. It was like watching a ballet minutely choreographed.

Father would pick up a sister's photo and then look for the brother's photo to match them together. Sometimes this would go quickly. Sometimes the leaders would make a suggestion; sometimes Father would agree with the suggestion, sometimes not. Father seemed to be training them for some point in the future when they would be making matches. For now, though, all matches were made by Father. Every once in a while, Rev. Kwak would ask the staff at the computers, "How many couples?" On the average, Father matched over 2000 couples in a day.

One time I was assembling a box for the matched photos to be put into. I was bent over getting the parts of the box out. I began to stand up and turn with the box, which would have caused it to arc relatively high in the air. All of a sudden, I heard a clicking noise. I stopped to see where the noise was, and found Mother walking by. She had made the noise. Had she not done so, I would have hit her with the box. I was so grateful that she had known exactly the right thing to do that would avoid a totally embarrassing moment for me.

In general, though we were there to assist them, True Parents looked after us. They made sure we had food. Halloween had recently been celebrated, so there was plenty of treats for everyone -- in addition to the splendid Korean food prepared by the East Garden kitchen sisters. Some evenings the Korean leaders would retire to Father's apartment to watch the Asian Cup soccer games -- especially exciting when the Korean team beat the Japanese team.

Second Generation Matching

The second generation matching was even more special than the first generation. The staff members in the matching room were replaced by second generation staff, under the direction of Kim Young Jin, director of the International Second Generation Office. Only certain designated leaders were allowed into the matching room. Some parents hovered outside and in the Pink Room, wondering and waiting for news. In general, the procedure was identical. This time, the photos were not arranged by continent. All photos were mixed together, and displayed only by birth date. Of course, brothers and sisters were separated. Results were revealed a day later, after the continental lists were printed and distributed.

One point of interest to me was that there were quite a number of second generation candidates with physical problems ranging from Down Syndrome to much less serious problems. Later I had the opportunity to ask Rev. Kwak whether any of them were matched, and indeed many were -- though I don't know the exact number count. Having a chronically ill child myself and knowing others much worse, I have always wondered what would happen when they became old enough for the blessing. Now I have a much better idea.

Basic Process

Matching applicants submit applications, photos and HIV test results to their leaders -- along with a donation. The leader must sign the form, vouching for the member. This is then sent to the national leader who also signs the form. Some leaders then input the data from the form into a computer program designed for this, then forwarding the data on disk with the above-specified information to the International Blessing Office. Those leaders who cannot input the data (for whatever reason) send the specified information to the International Blessing Office.

At the International Blessing Office, the multitude of applications are processed in preparation for the matching. This means that those who are sent with a disk are imported into the database, those who do not come with a disk are typed into the database. Obviously, those who come with a disk are added to the database much quicker than the others -- a much preferable way to do things when dealing with thousands of applications.

Once in the database, the computer performs several checks, immediately reporting errors to the operator for decisions. These checks are: (1) compare the individual with those of previous blessings to make sure someone is not being reblessed without the proper authorization; (2) compare the individual with those of previous matchings (related to this particular blessing) to make sure they have the proper authorization; (3) check for duplicate individuals in the database; and (4) check that all pertinent data is present.

When all this is completed, labels with bar codes and pertinent date are printed to apply to each of the photos of that individual. The photos are then kept together by continent, until notification is received to prepare for the matching itself.

The Matching Room

The matching room is setup with large easels in long rows. Each easel had room for 3 rows. The rows we created at East Garden could hold 200 photos. We had about 8 rows in the room, and thus the potential for 1600 photos to be on display at one time.

In preparation for Father and Mother's arrival, the continental leaders organize the photos. Brothers and sisters would be separated. The brothers' photos would be organized by education -- college graduate, some college, high school graduate (no college), primary education, no education -- and then by age within the education. The sisters' photos would be organized in the same manner. Korea being the Adam nation, and Japan the Eve nation -- they would display their brothers' photos on the boards first. If there was space, the Asian continent would also put up the photos. The brothers' photos would be the only ones put on the boards in the order previously stated. As board space would clear, each continent would be given the go-ahead to put up their brothers' photos. When the brothers' photos were put on the boards, the sisters' photos would be piled on the floor (in the appropriate order).

Those of you who were matched in a room full of people may remember that the room was organized in a similar manner. Brothers and sisters on opposite sides of the room. Those with college degrees in one location in the room, with some other educational divisions. Badges on each person and special markings for health problems or special situations that need to be considered.

The photo organization is identical, except that it usually doesn't get as jumbled up as the people would. After all, everyone wants to sit with their best friend. Photos don't usually wander off.

Though my description seems clear and simple and is in theory, in practice it is not. The leaders struggle with what to do when there are more brothers than sisters or vice versa, how to get someone with health problems the "right" match.

The Moment Arrives

Finally, the moment arrives. Father and Mother come into the room. Together they walk through viewing the displayed photos. A group of staff -- consisting of continental leaders, church elders, and other International Blessing Office staff -- follow them around... waiting for the first matching to take place. One individual from the particular continent will hold the stack of sisters' photos. Father and Mother chat between themselves, making comments on the photos and talking with the leaders. The leaders sometimes offer comments on the individuals' photos at which True Parents are looking.

The matching begins. Father makes the first matching, as he lays the first sister's photo on top of a brothers' photo. The staff members pick up the group and staple the photos together. The couple is then handed to another staff member who checks to make sure that there are no problems with the matching -- i.e. both individuals are sickle cell carriers, or some other incompatibility. When a group of photos are gathered (the size depends upon how fast Father is working), the pile is brought outside the room to another group of staff.

This group again checks for incompatibility. Guidelines for incompatibility include: both being sickle cell carriers, both being reblessing situations, the wife's height being much greater than the husband, the wife's age being much greater than the husband, Rh incompatibility, thalassemia carriers. Individuals who have children are generally matched with individuals who have children. Those who were married before are usually matched with those who were married before. Any problems are sent back into the room and brought to the continental leaders' attention. Standards of what is incompatible varies according to the culture of the individual. The leaders may question Father about a particular case.

After this check, the couple is then passed to an individual who stamps a unique number on the photos. The stamps are designed such that they will stamp the same number four times before changing to the next number. This is necessary as there are four photos to be stamped (2 from the husband and 2 from the wife).

The couple is then handed to a computer operator who inputs the stamped number and scans the bar codes on the label. The computer again checks and compares the data, looking for the same types of incompatibility mentioned previously, along with checking to make sure that a person has not already been matched or is somehow otherwise not authorized to be matched. When it clears this check, they are now recorded as a couple and the photos are set aside.

Later, when Father has finished, the staff gathers and begins to separate the photos. They are divided so that the standing photo of the brother is stapled to the portrait photo of the sister, and vice versa. The photos are then sorted by continent, according to the portrait photo, and eventually by nation (though usually later). When the photos are sent to the candidates, the sister will receive the standing photo of her potential spouse, and he her standing photo.

At this point in time, they decide whether to accept Father's matching. If one chooses to refuse, the other's photo may go back into the room. The photo of the one who refuses is withheld from any further matchings -- except in certain special situations, such as one of the above incompatibilities having been missed in the checking process. Any matching cancellations are entered into the database so that all data will be ready for the next matching.

The Preparation

I had the most wonderful staff, recruited from various locations. Russell Lockmiller was my technical assistant and general jack of all trades. He and I had begun gathering the information on what was needed in August 1996 from the Korean Computer Center under the direction of Mr. Shin Young Ho. With his guidance, we were able to put together the computers needed for this task. He and members of his staff, Kazuyoshi Hayashi and Tomohisa Hirano, came from Korea to install the special software for the database.

We discovered during the course of their stay in New York, that the most universal language in the world is "computer." We had no need of translators as long as we talked in computer terminology. This was important, as they spoke no English and we spoke no Korean. Still...we got the job done and understood each other quite well.

I recruited Taru Graef Rasmus from Korea, a valuable resource as she had worked on the 1995 matching preparation and speaks fluent Korean and English, along with her native Finnish. I honestly believe she thinks in Korean. I also recruited Julian Gray from Rev. Kwak's international staff in Korea. This was quite a coup, as he also speaks fluent Korean and is well known by the national leaders.

I and my staff spent weeks preparing photos for the matching, verifying the data. Often the information was incomplete. We would have to check on medical information. Sometimes medical information was missing and a photo would show a deformity of arm or leg, thus necessitating further communication with the national leader to verify cause and the extent of the problem. Always having to hold out the completion of that individual's application until clear information was received.

Just a few days before the matching, nations began sending and bringing photos and applications that had made no attempt previously. One nation showing up with more than 800 to be processed in just a few days. Mr. Shin came with his staff members -- Mr. Hayashi and 2 others -- to man the computers for the matching. At every opportunity, we put anyone to work who dropped by the office -- even my 13 and 14 year old children were drafted at times.

All of a sudden, we received a phone call from East Garden. The leaders' conference was breaking up and setup for the matching would begin immediately. We scrambled to do the final steps necessary in the database, and do the last minute packing and loading the vehicles. My son, who was helping out that day, was put in the van with the equipment with instructions to the driver (who lived in New Jersey) to take him home when the opportunity came about. I am certain that they made the trip back and forth between NY and East Garden several times, along with helping load and unload boxes at both ends. Eventually, that night the driver was released and could go home -- taking my son to our home.

Thus the evening of the setup for the second matching began. Paul Fontaine had done a wonderful job of creating the easels for the photos, and was setting them up. The continental leaders were pouring over their photos, working at resolving any last minute problems, and dealing with last minute changes. The Korean Blessed Family Department had brought a beautiful banner, as we had requested, to hang in the room. As time went on we resolved all the problems and the room began to take shape. Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak asked for counts as to how many brothers' and sisters' photos were ready for the matching.

Meetings were held to make sure everyone understood the process. Many of the continental leaders had been so for the matchings in 1995, but everyone needed a refresher course. As the evening and preparations wore on, those who completed their organization began to relax on the sofas in the Pink Room -- causing it to be nicknamed "The Open Mouth Room."

Finally, everything was set up and ready to go. It was very late in the evening (or early in the morning, depending upon your point of view). We were all able to go home, knowing that upon our return the next morning Father would begin the matching.


All total Father matched more than 6200 couples for the blessing at RFK Stadium, including 59 couples done at the last minute in his suite in Washington, DC. Some truly beautiful matches were made. Among the 59 couples, Father matched a Japanese sister with an American black brother. This was the only black/Japanese matching -- an impossible thing to do by photo. It could only have been done in person.

Each night when Father was finished, it was clear that he was totally exhausted. He gave his all to create the best matches possible for these candidates. He looked after each and every one of us on the staff -- seeing that we had whatever was needed.

One night I had not had dinner and was working to setup. Someone had left East Garden to get something for me to eat, but had not returned yet. In the meantime, I was getting crankier and crankier. I began to argue with my central figure -- getting more and more "Cained-out." Just as I finished rolling my eyes at something said, I turned and realized that Father was standing there. I instantly knew that Father had seen everything.

What did Father do? He turned to the kitchen sister there and instructed her to get food for everyone. I then also knew that not only had he seen, but he also knew that my attitude was due to a lack of food -- something I am not always cognizant of -- and had taken care of the problem.

We had two matching sessions at East Garden, and then went to Washington DC for any last minute matchings there. I had been blessed with the return of Mr. Hayashi and two other members of the Korean Computer Center staff, Mr. Joo In Ho and Miss Sin Min Jung. They were an indispensable addition to our staff and great fun to work with.

While in Washington, leaders would drop by our office and ask, "Will there be another matching?" I could only respond, "Ask me that on November 29th at 11 am." We had to be ready for Father's call at any time. We were and he did. The result being the 59 couples matched in person on the night before the blessing. They received holy wine in a tent just prior to entering the stadium.

When we assembled on the field of RFK Stadium, it was such a moving experience. Taru and I would spot a person whose photo we had worked with, commenting, "Look there's the 3-D [insert name]." It was an amazing experience to have had a hand in the matching of so many couples.

It was not an easy task, but we rose to it and fulfilled it. All problems were overcome. God worked constantly to guide us in so many ways. I am grateful to Rev. Kwak for having the confidence that I could handle the task. His support, internally and externally, is so much appreciated. The daily support from Shunichiro Yoshida was even more important to the success of my responsibilities. More importantly, I thank those who worked with me on this task. I wish them all the best on their life of faith. 

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