Cross-Country Walker Makes the News after Halfway Point
Many have joined Matsuo Machida on his second cross-country trek for peace, walking alongside him for a few miles or meeting him as he passed through their towns. Halfway along his journey, Mr. Machida was met for the first time by news reporters and city leaders eager to wish him well and learn more about his peace walk.
On the morning of Tuesday, August 18, Mr. Machida was joined by Kansas Family Church Pastor Rev. Peeter Saarna as he crossed the Pony Express Bridge over the Missouri River, leaving Kansas and arriving in the historic town of St. Joseph, Missouri. There Mr. Machida would meet local news reporters, as well as the city mayor and deputy mayor, to talk about the purpose and vision behind his three-month journey.
As usual, Mr. Machida had an early start to his day, and at 9:00 am Sean, a reporter from KQ2 News, greeted Mr. Machida and Rev. Saarna, taking photos and videos as they crossed the bridge. Once across the bridge in Missouri, they were met by Cecilia Reeves, a Fox News reporter, who interviewed them.
After his interview, Mr. Machida stopped by the Pony Express Museum and took a few photos in front of the building. The Pony Express, a now defunct cross-country mail service using horses, was started in St. Joseph.
Mr. Machida then hurried to the St. Joseph City Hall, where he was welcomed by Deputy Mayor Pat Jones, who showed him the mayor’s beautiful office. Then Mrs. Jones took Mr. Machida outside and presented him with a medallion of St. Joseph, a kind of “Key to the City.” She said, “Not everyone gets one of these.” Mr. Machida bowed in gratitude, and Mrs. Jones said a prayer for him. She gave her blessing over Mr. Machida and prayed for his protection and safety. She mentioned that Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s name was being cleared and exuded a loving, total acceptance of True Father through her words.
St. Joseph deputy mayor Pat Jones talking with Mr. Machida in the mayor’s office
She invited Mr. Machida to a special tea shop called the Gothic House Tea & Eatery. Mr. Machida was amazed by the beautiful tea cups, plates and delicious food there, and accepted another interview with a local news lady just before the meal began.
Emily Wearing, the news reporter, asked Mr. Machida, “Why are you crossing the United States?” Mr. Machida answered clearly, “I just want to say one thing: Rev. Moon is innocent.” Mr. Machida added, “I walked across the country 11 years ago. Why am I doing it again? I realized that Rev. Moon went to jail for one year and one month. That’s why I came again at this time.”
Mr. Machida answers questions over tea
Soon after that, St. Joseph Mayor Bill Falkner stopped by the tea shop to see Mr. Machida. The mayor chatted with Mr. Machida for a few minutes and took photos with him. Heavy rain started to fall, but, always on the move, Mr. Machida started to walk again to his next destination: Cameron, Missouri.
Mr. Machida with St. Joseph mayor Bill Falkner
To follow Mr. Machida’s journey, take a look at the Peace Walk blog.
Mr. Machida with St. Joseph deputy mayor Pat Jones (left) and Yoshimi Yamagata, who is the support driver for Mr. Machida until August 23
Contributed by Mieko Saarna