Appreciating Our Pastors
We’d like to take a moment to thank our wonderful pastors around the nation who invest so much of their time and love into the community, and often give much more than many of us are aware. October was Pastor Appreciation Month, and Unificationists from all over the US sent in letters to thank their pastor for everything they do. If you haven’t already, be sure to thank your pastor for everything they do.
The National Ministry Team will be sending all FFWPU USA pastors a holiday gift on behalf of our USA families, and will send flowers to four of our long-time pastors–Rev. Chuck Frumin, Rev. Ki Yeal Lee, Marian North, and Mark Beaudoin, who have truly gone above and beyond the call to serve their communities and received especially heartfelt messages from our members during Pastor Appreciation month.
Abe and Mika Deshotel, Family Church of Connecticut
Pastor Abe and Mika are a younger couple who have been serving the Bridgeport, CT, community since January 1, 2016. One of the things I appreciate the most about them is their attitude. Things don’t always go smoothly, but they have a really positive outlook on almost every situation. Whereas, an older member (like me) might have a tendency to judge, they have a rosy outlook and say, “Well, maybe we can do it this way.” I find this so uplifting and encouraging and it gives me energy to go forward. We had a tragic incident in our community this year and they have persevered and kept us looking forward. They have shown maturity and respect, and have been an example for our community for which I am truly grateful.
Pastor Mika Deshotel and her husband Abe are amazing co-pastors of our Bridgeport Family Church. First, they are parents of three very young children with another one on the way. Mika not only works as a teacher full-time, she then pastors our church and mentors so many of our second generation youth. Abe takes care of his children, works and does all the music coordination for Sunday Service with his great band. The reason I write this is because, as soon as they became pastors we had the True Family come and speak, a huge event; and just after that, a second generation and then a first generation member passed away. These two young pastors were so incredible in the way they handled everything. They attended each situation with such loving care, kindness, prayer and sensitivity. I was deeply moved by the level of wisdom and maturity they exhibited through it all. When my husband had triple bypass surgery, Abe brought his three children to the hospital prayer room to pray with me. What a heart! I will never forget such a beautiful thing. What a blessing to have a second generation couple leading our many college students and adults. They deserve a big thank you from all in Bridgeport and our continued support and prayers.
This pastor couple is doing an exemplary job. When a member of our community suddenly ascended to the spirit world, they encouraged the community to care for this family not once but for months and months, with the provision of meals three times per week for the next few months. I have been so moved by the organization and commitment of this community ably lead by these young pastors over such an extended period. A big thank you to the pastors for real community care and pasturing.
Andrew Love, New Hope Family Church
The most important thing to our pastor is community and being real. He is fearless and unashamed to do what is right for God, even if it is the unpopular thing, and he is patient to teach why he is passionate about his causes.
I brought a spiritual daughter to church last year, near the beginning of our pastor’s ministry. He immediately began to spend all his spare time with us, helping me to educate her, creating evening programs for her, offering a DP study night, Saturday workshops and an internal guidance course on traditions and becoming a member of our church. My spiritual daughter and anyone who joined in our activities received a rich diet of God’s truth and love, and she was bowled over. Now she and her husband are Blessed.
Our pastor uses his talent—comedy—for God. He is hilarious and is able to get away with saying almost anything by using comedy. Ironically, many times this allows him to be more honest than sincerity would allow. Many lessons can be received by us this way that might otherwise not be shared.
Being 34 years old but a first generation, our pastor is a great bridge between the elders and the youth of our church. We can all relate to him, and he can understand us all. He has the dedication, tears and intensity for God the first generation members have, and he also has the tireless passion, vision and love of arts, music and fun of the second generation. And he is so very cool! He even plays the drums!
Our pastor has a calling from God to expose and heal the problem of pornography among young and old alike. I fear we may lose him as he begins to focus more on the cause, but I am so proud of him for taking on Satan for the sake of others. He sees our youth losing hope and even their lives because they suffer, and he knows that the solution to overcoming this monster is openness, honesty, intimate relationships and no shame. He has started support groups, and his outrage over this epidemic is driving him to want to take the message nationwide and to the world.
I think God created this pastor especially for us, and we are the lucky ones. I wish we could give his family more money and a house. But the best gift from our pastor’s point of view would be our victory as a real, loving community who is embracing every one of us and fulfilling our tribal messiahship responsibilities. He is a Top Gun man of God!
Bjorn Ottosson, St. Louis Family Church
Pastor Ottosson is a very humble example for all of us here in St. Louis. He is always looking for ways to push himself to live in the way True Parents have taught us, to live for the sake of others. He expresses his support and appreciation for our beloved True Mother many times, and works hard to better himself to fulfill his responsibilities as our Pastor. His relationship with his children is very respectful and caring. He and his wife have taught me so much and our community depends on him for thoughtful guidance.
Bruce Biggin, Arkansas Family Church
Thank you Mr. Bruce for your service and dedication!
You have been in Arkansas for 30 years and you have shown us great faith in Heavenly Parents and True Parents. You have organized many ACLC seminars, Parents’ Day ceremonies and Interfaith conferences for UPF too. You quickly took up the responsibility as the Sate Leader when the time came. You are also a counselor for Blessed families as well as an adviser for our youth. We want you to know that your sincere effort is appreciated and recognized and we will unite and work together! May God Bless you and your family!
Carl Swearson, Iowa Family Church
I’d like to thank our pastor in Iowa who was a former district pastor. He continues to remain God-centered on his mission in this time of trial our church is going through. He always shows up and does his responsibility even when many of us fall behind in ours. I would say we rely on him, maybe even too much!
Rev. Chuck Frumin, Kona Family Church
Pastor Chuck Frumin deserves the warmest heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all the love, earnest faith and effort he and his wife, Mayumi, have invested here in Kona since the early 1990s. A UTS graduate sent to Ocean Challenge and eventually Ocean Church, Chuck was transferred to Kona to captain a fishing charter boat and naturally emerged as a leader, organizing Sunday services and witnessing efforts. Chuck is what many would call a “One-man band,” because he trained himself to become a polished public speaker and is a professional-level guitarist and pianist as well. Pastor Chuck is the ultra-reliable kind of person everyone can trust and work with, accepting all responsibilities without hesitation and making it look easy, organizing Japanese missionary groups in addition to leading the congregation. He has been at the helm for all of these many years while raising three children and working full time. He takes an interest in everyone, and after Sunday Service he can often be seen playing with the children and making them laugh. Every little kid needs an Uncle Chuck!
One of Pastor Chuck’s most notable accomplishments is the unique annual Thanksgiving Eve musical event here in Kona. This is a beautiful interfaith tradition that has been going on for over 15 years. Every Thanksgiving Eve (the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving), multiple faith groups gather in a church or temple and each group offers a musical presentation. This includes faiths such as Buddhist, BaHa’i, the Jewish Synagogue, Unity, evangelical Christian churches and Episcopal, Lutherans, Methodists and Catholics too. This also crosses national and racial boundaries, including Spanish, Tongan, Hawaiian, Japanese and Micronesian congregations. Pastor Chuck took up the leadership torch for this project several years ago when the original leader, the Episcopal minster, became ill and no other minister felt up to it. He now organizes and leads the event every year.
This is a most-uplifting tradition and gives hope to many people that different faiths can actually come together in love, respect and warm-hearted appreciation for each other. This is surely a tradition that makes our Heavenly Parent happy!
Thank you, Pastor Chuck, from the bottom of our hearts, for so much love!
-Mary Ellen Legay
Rev. Esteban Galvan
Por más de 20 años el Rev. Esteban Galvan a sido un excelente pastor y líder. (For more than 20 years Rev. Esteban Galvan has been an excellent pastor and leader.)
John Jackson, Dallas Family Church
About a year ago, I sent Rev. Jackson information about a minister contact I was witnessing to before he moved to Texas. I sent a little donation and asked if he would contact the minister. He did! He invited the minister for dinners, taught him a few lectures and got him and his wife Blessed, which was nothing short of a miracle. I will always appreciate the effort the Jacksons made in following up on my contact; it was not easy as my contact was Christian Orthodox/Egyptian. Thank you Rev. Jackson!
I’d like to thank Reverend Jackson for such a warm welcoming to the Dallas Family Church. I moved to Texas a few months ago, and while I knew some members of the community, Rev. Jackson’s big heart is one of the reasons I make the four-hour drive to Dallas to attend church at least once a month. His patience is also amazing; I remember the Independence Day barbeque he held at his house for all the middle- and high-school students—there must have been 30 kids running around in there, yet Rev. Jackson manned the grill for hours to provide enough food for them. I’m the kind of person who likes to help out behind the scenes and Rev. Jackson was always willing to give me some task to do whenever I visited the church. Thank you again, Rev. Jackson, for all the work you do for our community!
-Mickey La Hogue
Juanita Pierre-Louis, Harlem Family Church
I consider Rev. Juanita and her husband Edner Pierre-Louis the True Parents of New York. They reflect True Parents heart of love in every aspect. If ever in the area, everyone is welcome to visit the Harlem Family Church and see our amazing pastor in action!
Rev. Ken Doo, Las Vegas Family Church
Thank you for being such a wonderful father and pastor! I have witnessed and experienced many ups and downs within the Las Vegas Family Church, but you worked hard to overcome this every time. You work many more hours than people think, and you do this in hopes of creating a better church environment and achieving True Parents’ 2020 vision. We all love you so much! Please don’t overwork yourself! Once again thank you and I miss you a lot!
When we first arrived in Las Vegas several years ago, we found only the desert. Indeed, it seemed a journey into hell. Shortly after, True Father ascended. There was confusion, uprising against authority and conflict among members. Imagine cactus plants jostling for a better place in the sun. Then True Mother sent Rev. Doo to Las Vegas. Things began to change gradually under his leadership. He served patiently in tangible ways, with both kindness and clarity of direction, while using his considerable talent and creativity in conveying True Mother’s wishes. Thanks to his effort, new life has come to Las Vegas. We are grateful for Rev. Doo. He is doing a wonderful job!
Rev. Ki Yeal Lee, New York KEA
Ministry is an art and only those who have the spirit and the heart to sacrifice and live for the sake of the congregation can understand the meaning and importance of this divine calling.
Our pastor is Rev. Ki Yeal Lee, anointed by God with an uplifted spirit of fairness and justice for all, appointed by True Parents to teach heaven’s culture and tradition to our community and commissioned by heavens with clear vision, a lot of faith and little money.
As a missionary in Argentina and in Bolivia, Rev. Lee rebuilt the church, uplifted the spirit of our tired first generation and invested all of his heart to educate our second generation to cultivate character, personality and all the attributes and characteristics that bring them closer to God.
As simple as it is to understand that we were all created in the image and likeness of our creator, our pastor’s teachings are not complex, but engaging, up-to-date and practical. His lessons encourage us to develop our individual attributes and characteristics and apply them to our daily life with our spouse, children and others so that we can become a visible manifestation of goodness in the fourth year after the coming of heaven.
In addition to all Rev. Lee’s fine work, his wife Seiko Lee is similarly accomplished as a beautiful, professional opera singer. She is recognized and praised nationally and internationally by millions and with her jovial singing, she touches the hearts of all and uplifts their spirits creating an environment of reconciliation and peace.
Rev. Lee as a pastor of a multicultural congregation, is open to innovation such as developing and cultivating the abilities and talents of our 2nd and 3rd generation such as in choir, Korean youth group (Sunghwa), sports, orchestra, Korean language and many other activities. He visits blessed families’ homes, prays for those in need and announces in the church all the small or big achievements that our youth or elders have accomplished.
Twelve years ago, KEA headquarters was purchased by a small group of faithful Korean elders and blessed by True Parents to become the heart of America. Now, we are extending our facilities with three big classrooms, an office for the pastor and rooms for other youth activities and workshops. Our pastor works tirelessly every day make crucial decisions and solve problems to ensure that this extension will become a new, shiny, and holy dwelling place for God.
Among our 120 blessed families, we have Koreans, Japanese, Filipinos, African Americans, Latinos, Europeans and countless second and third generation youth for our pastor care for. We are all proud of Rev. Lee’s humility, piety and integrity. Our pastor is a champion of faith and a unifier. He always reminds us that knowledge of the Divine Principle makes us divine human beings and heaven’s grace will remain among us.
As the daughter of a pastor, I’ve had a front-row view of the duties and demands of being a pastor my whole life. Firstly, pastors are constantly sought. There is a never-ending stream of congregation members calling day and night, trying to set up meetings to receive guidance on what turns to take in life, or desiring prayers to alleviate any personal or spiritual struggles one has. On top of all these commitments, the best pastor practices above and beyond what he or she preaches every Sunday. A pastor sets multiple conditions and works unceasingly behind the scenes, always putting others before themselves and their families.
Pastor Lee of the NY KEA church in New Jersey is such a person as I have described. With love and patience, Pastor Lee cares for every member of his congregation, even those who complain, or are unable to make it to church each Sunday. Pastor Lee’s devotion and love for God, the Heavenly Parent, and his congregation permeates into the hearts of all of us at KEA so much so that it motivates us to better ourselves and reach a higher emotional and spiritual standard in life.
When I first came to KEA, I was a new face and pretty shy when it came to getting involved in church activities. Yet, Pastor Lee recommended me to become a teacher at the younger-grade-level Sunday school. In the beginning of my teaching experience, I thought perhaps Pastor Lee was getting revenge for the times I had been sleepy during his sermons. The children were loud, demanding, cheeky and seemed to increase in number every Sunday. No matter how hard I prepared for a lesson, how passionately I taught it or how much energy I devoted to a particularly difficult student, I felt nothing I did made an impact.
Around my third year as a Sunday school teacher, I was tired and wanted to quit. Expecting comfort and exclamations of all the hard work I’d accomplished over the years from my mother, she simply stated, “Imagine how many times Pastor Lee has wanted to say that.” While it had taken me three years to figure it out, Pastor Lee taught me one of the core values of our church and the principle our True Father spoke of and lived his entire life according to: “Live for the sake of others.”
Starting my twelfth year as a Sunday school teacher, I can’t say things are perfect. However, as many of our dedicated 1st generation members age, and the influences of the Last Days strengthens, as a 2nd generation, I want to spread my roots deeper, gripping all the precious lessons I gained from True Parents and Pastor Lee. As a Sunday school teacher, and now a certified English teacher in the public school system, I hope to continue to teach our younger generations and be a 2nd generation member with the same patience, indomitable spirit and love for our congregation as Pastor Lee has shown me.
-Ye Ji Elise Ferrabolli
Marian North, Milwaukee Family Church
Dearest Pastor Marian,
Wisconsin youth would like to thank you as you exemplify true love on a local level. We truly appreciate your efforts to comfort, encourage and support all of the second generation in our struggles and different phases in life. You have visited us at our homes, given us sound advice and most importantly, you’re always just a phone call away. We know you care as you show interest and enthusiasm in our youth activities, and invest time and finances to cultivate our development. For instance, you were our biggest donor for our yearly youth bake sale.
Your approach as a mother, teacher and pastor make us stand out as a unique community. Your “young couple’s dinner” was heartfelt as you cared for us wholeheartedly by making a handmade Indian cuisine and inviting us into a warm intimate setting at your home. You amaze us in your wizardry to have endless warmth, never show your fatigue and have a “can do” attitude. We would also like to point out that you do a lot to keep our community together. You don’t only focus on the youth, but also on the parents too.
We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts (Joe, Young Ae, Helen, Abi, Sarah, Oki, Steven) we love you very much, and could not imagine our community without you. Thank you.
Mark Beaudoin, Providence Family Church
A great, humble and awesome brother, Mark is always serving the community.
I am just always amazed how Mark and his wife Marie Elise are always giving even though they have so little themselves, and aren’t getting younger. And, moreover, they never complain about it.
This summer, two groups of Japanese second generation came to Rhode Island church (about 30 to 35 of them) to experience the American church and True Parents foundation here in America.
Mark and his wife dropped everything they were doing to support them: pick up and drop off at the airport, day or night, planning itineraries, cooking, praying, guiding, shopping…everything basically on their own with little help from us community members. This is only one example of their dedication with zero financial gain.
Witnessing to our second generation and having exchanges between the young people growing up in different nations has so much value.
He is always ready to help and support members from the community and others. He prepares Sunday service, cooks for the community before service, does two hours of hoon dok hae daily and takes care of the church property which is a lot of mowing. I can feel the beautiful spirit world at the church center when entering the building. And he and his wife probably do a lot more that I am not even aware of.
In my opinion, he should get a beautiful flower bouquet and more for doing so much with very little recognition.
I am not a good writer but I want to convey the heart of a wonderfully-dedicated couple that has so much love for Heavenly Parent, True Parents and all people.
Mitsu Fukusaki, Tempe Family Church
Mitsu returned from GPA and has invested himself out of his own interest in our youth. He creates programs and keeps parents informed about what happens at these meetings. The best thing about him is that he believes in True Parents and the Divine Principle. Even though he has not officially been appointed as a youth pastor, he is the best!
Tanya Edwards, Family Church of New York City
I feel the prayer and love through Pastor Tanya’s words every time.
Once, at a council meeting, Pastor Tanya explained her plan of one particular event, and one council member totally disagreed. At that time Pastor Tanya’s attitude was still calm and thoughtful. She gently asked that council member, “What is the best way? What do you want?” After the council member expressed his concern, he ended up in agreement to Pastor Tanya’s plan. I was amazed by our Pastor’s big embracing heart.
We had a blessing ceremony in our church and many young couples and their families came to stay in our church facility. The assigned cook suddenly became sick. Bishop Edwards, Pastor Tanya and her sister cooked for those newly blessed couples, their families and the staff—over 100 people—for more than a few days. When we, as the local congregation saw this, we appreciated it deeply and felt the Pastor’s parental heart.
Pastor Tanya and Bishop Edwards have special meetings with members one Sunday every month called family meetings. Those members who attended the meeting, surely feel God’s love and became connected to the church more than before.
I cannot share my appreciation enough.
Thank you so much to our Pastor Tanya and Bishop Edwards.
Pastor Tanya is very dedicated and inspiring. She is a loving mother for our community and promotes healing throughout.
Rev. Thomas Baldwin, Pittsburgh Family Church
Rev. Tom Baldwin has been pastor of the Pittsburgh Family Church for 20 years. His dedication and commitment to attending True Parents has consistently been shown through the sincerity of his Sunday sermons and keeping us all abreast and connected to Unification Church activities and conditions.
He has always had genuine concern for each person and each family’s circumstances. An example of this occurred this past year when he attended all three graduations for my daughters. Two of the graduations required drives of 3 hours and 4.5 hours each way. He cited his coming as “celebrating family,” that our church community is a family and we celebrate each other’s victories and successes.
Thank you, Rev. Baldwin, for your devotion to True Parents and our Pittsburgh Family Church.
Rev. Young Tack Yang, LA Family Church
I want to express my gratitude to True Mother for designating Rev. Yang as our senior pastor. Since Rev. Yang came to our family church, the spiritual course of our church changed.
One remarkable aspect I want to point out is the dedication and commitment he has for this position. With the support and leadership of Rev. Yang, we now have our own church building to call home. So on behalf of everyone in this church and myself, I want to thank True Mother and Rev. Yang; when I see him and his family, I see the representation of True Parents.
Hi, my name is Shoha Tsuchida, and I’m 17 and just beginning my first year in college. Reverend Yang became our regional pastor recently, but even in this short time, I feel like he has really become involved in the community and I most definitely look up to him. He really stands out to me as a man of integrity. I remember, when he first came to the LA family community, he began his ministry by asking to come to every community member’s home to visit the family and introduce himself over dinner. I was shocked. No one has ever done this, and automatically I already felt a connection towards him. He really cares about the community and the youth and takes extra time to give testimonies at workshops and the monthly weekend retreats for the younger kids. He is always proper, wearing a suit and tie and always is the most respectful guy in the room, thus commanding respect from everyone else in the room. When I saw this recognition event, I felt called to write about Rev. Yang. If anyone deserves recognition as a great pastor and community caregiver, Rev. Yang definitely embodies the role and has earned my respect.